In its travel warning dated Jan. 10, the US State Department particularly warned against travel to
Mindanao and the Sulu
citizens should continue to defer
non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat
of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and
terrorism there," it said. US
It also said
should continue to "exercise extreme caution" if traveling to Mindanao.
The State Department noted that in 2013, "separatist and terrorist" groups intensified activities and confrontations with Philippine security forces.
Such groups engaged in bombings, attacks on civilians and political leaders, and battles with security forces, it added.
Last September, followers of Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari tried to occupy parts of
and were repelled after nearly a month. Zamboanga City
On the other hand, the State Department said the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Front (BIFF) was active in the
City area, and in the provinces of
Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan
The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is engaged in peace efforts with the government.
The State Department said the US Embassy in
has imposed a strict restriction on "all but the most essential travel to Mindanao."
As such, it said Embassy employees must receive special authorization from Embassy security officials to travel to any part of
and Sulu, including urban centers.
Meanwhile, the US State Department said it remains concerned about what it called the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against US citizens and interests throughout the world.
"We encourage all
citizens in the Philippines
to enroll with the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or
at the US Embassy in ,"
it said. Manila