Australian government warns of kidnap threat in southern Philippines

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Australian government

The Australian government has cautioned its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” when traveling to parts of Mindanao.

Its latest travel advisory, which was updated yesterday (Wednesday, June 5), warns of the ongoing risk of kidnapping, terrorist attack, crime and violent clashes in Central and Western Mindanao, as well as Zamboanga and Sulu.

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The Australian government said: “Reconsider your need to travel to eastern Mindanao due to the very high levels of violent crime and the high threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping.

“Do not travel to central and western Mindanao due to the very high threat of kidnapping, terrorist attack, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups.”

The Australian government’s updated advisory comes less than a week after a Dutch hostage was killed on Sulu Island by his Abu Sayyaf captors.

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As we reported, Ewold Horn was shot dead as he attempted to escape during a gun battle between the Islamic State-affiliated terrorists and Army troops.

“We remind Australians of the very high threat of kidnapping in the southern Philippines, especially along the Zamboanga peninsula, in the Sulu Archipelago and in coastal waters between Philippines and Sabah, Malaysia,” the advisory continued.

“Tourists in southern Palawan, southern Negros or Siquijor could also be targeted,” it added.

The Australian government has advised its citizens to “be alert to possible threats around locations that have a low level of protective security and places that could be terrorist targets” due a “high threat’ of terrorist attack in the Philippines, including Manila.

“Possible targets include commercial and public places frequented by foreigners,” it added. 

The advisory also reminded Australians that Mindanao has been placed under martial law, noting that military rule will heighten authorities’ power to detain suspects and impose curfews and checkpoints.

Australia also asked its residents, who are presently in other areas of the Philippines, to exercise a high level of caution due to the high threat of terrorist attack in the country, including Manila.

“Be alert to possible threats around locations that have a low level of protective security and places that could be terrorist targets. Possible targets include commercial and public places frequented by foreigners,” it said.

Australia also reminded that it is illegal for foreigners to join political rallies. Therefore, demonstrations must be avoided.

It also advised against typhoons which may come until December. 

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