LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning Tuesday, warning Americans to avoid traveling to the southern islands of the Philippines.
According to the state department, terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago continue to kidnap foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and the southern Sulu Sea area, which stretches from the southern tip of Palawan , along the coast of Sabah, Malaysia, the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City in Mindanao.
In September, a terrorist bombing in Davao City killed 15 people and wounded 69 others. And since January, there have been reports of at least 13 separate kidnappings of foreigners across Mindanao. In the western region of the island, kidnappings are regularly conducted for ransom, while the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters remain active in the Cotabato City, Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat provinces in the central areas of the island.
There have been no reports of U.S. citizens being targeted, but general threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners throughout the island remain a concern. U.S. government personnel must get special authorization from Embassy security officials before they can travel to the area.