Foreign Briefing: State Department warns about travel to Philippines

Foreign Briefing: State Department warns about travel to Philippines
Philippine soldiers in Mindanao display improvised explosive devices seized last month. (AFP / Getty Images)

The U.S. State Department has issued a new warning on travel to the Philippines, focusing on parts of Mindanao, on the Sulu Archipelago and areas in the southern Sulu Sea.

The Sulu Sea is to the west of Mindanao, the second largest of the more than 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines.


In its warning, the State Department says U.S. citizens should defer nonessential travel to that area because of the "high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there."

"U.S. citizens should also continue to exercise extreme caution if traveling to certain regions and cities of the island of Mindanao," the warning, issued May 20, says. "Separatist and terrorist groups continue to conduct bombings, kidnappings and attacks against civilians, political leaders, and Philippine security forces."

Mindanao is home to a large population of Muslims in the Philippines, which is about 82% Roman Catholic, according to the World Factbook from the CIA.

More trouble spots

Other State Department warnings:

Lebanon. Because of ongoing safety concerns, the State Department urges avoiding all travel to this country, where two Americans have died in bombings and two have been kidnapped. Issued May 29.

Kenya. The State Department stops short of saying travelers should not visit but says that U.S. citizens should be aware of the problems with violent crime and terrorism. Issued May 13.

To read more:

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