Wednesday, June 20, 2007

U.K. Warns Against Travel To Southern Philippines

The United Kingdom advised its citizens against all travels around Mindanao, the southern Philippine island, following the abduction of an Italian Catholic priest and a fatal bus explosion in the region. Travel to areas of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo, where anti-government groups are active, is strongly discouraged due to ongoing military and police operations against the rebels, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in the travel advisory. "Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out these attacks at any time and anywhere in the country," the British warning said.It added that attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets in public places including those frequented by foreigners. British travelers were also advised to be aware of the risk of terrorist attacks to road, rail, sea and air transport in the Philippines. Terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines, it added. The 57-year-old Italian missionary, Giancarlo Bossi, was seized by armed men on June 10 in Zamboanga, southern Mindanao. His kidnappers are reportedly demanding ransom in exchange for his release. The bomb explosion on a bus at Bansalan, Davao del Sur province in the same region, killed eight people and injured 18 others on last Friday.