UK, Canada, Australia warn citizens vs. travel to parts of PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 11) — The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia on Tuesday warned its citizens against travel to certain areas of Mindanao and Palawan amid terrorist and kidnapping threats.

This comes a day after a US travel advisory citing "unsubstantiated yet credible information" of threats of kidnapping of its nationals in central Visayas.

The UK government noted a "high threat from terrorism throughout the country." It advised its citizens against travel to western Mindanao and the island of Sulu due to terror activities and clashes between the Philippine government and insurgent groups.

"Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks at any time and anywhere in the country," it added.

The UK government also noted that there has been an increase in foreign nationals being kidnapped.

"This threat extends throughout the Philippines, both on land and at sea, but is particularly acute in the southern Philippines (Mindanao, southern Palawan, and central Visayas, including Siquijor and Dumaguete)," it said.

Canada and Australia urged its citizens in the Philippines to be vigilant and exercise a high degree of caution.

Global Affairs Canada, the government department in charge of Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, advised against all travel to Mindanao, excluding Davao City, due to the "serious threat of terror attacks and kidnapping."

It also advised against all travel to Sulu and southern Palawan due to the threat of piracy and kidnappings.

Australia is instructing its citizens to avoid travel to central and western Mindanao, and reconsider travel plans to eastern Mindanao.

On Tuesday, a firefight erupted between government forces and alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Inabanga, Bohol, which lies 93 kms north of the popular island resort of Panglao.

Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said if they can confirm the armed men are members of the Abu Sayyaf, the bandits' goal is to execute kidnappings in central Visayas, specifically Bohol and Cebu.