US, Britain warn citizens to stay off south Philippine area
MANILA, Philippines — The United States and Britain have warned their citizens to stay off a southern Philippine region where suspected Muslim extremists are behind a wave of kidnappings, including those of 18 Indonesian and Malaysian tugboat crewmen.
The U.S. State Department warned Americans in an advisory Thursday to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago “due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers, increased threat of maritime kidnappings against small boats … and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there.”
The British government on Wednesday issued a similar travel warning.
Abu Sayyaf militants have been suspected of seizing 18 Indonesian and Malaysian crewmen in separate attacks on three slow-moving tugboats, sparking a security alarm in the volatile region.
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