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Newsline: US embassy warns of kidnapping threat on Philippine tourist island

Terrorists are planning to kidnap foreigners on a Philippine island popular with tourists, the US embassy has warned, a month after a foiled abduction attempt by Islamic militants at another tourism hotspot. An advisory from the US embassy in Manila on Tuesday warned Americans to “carefully consider” going to Palawan, naming a World Heritage-listed underground river as one area of specific concern. “The US Embassy has received credible information that terrorist groups may be planning to conduct kidnapping operations targeting foreign nationals in the areas of Palawan,” the advisory said. The Philippine military on Wednesday said in a statement it “shared the same concerns” as the US government, and that it had increased security at Palawan’s tourism sites. The embassy identified two locations — the capital city of Puerto Princesa and the nearby underground river that attracts thousands of visitors daily — as areas the kidnappers were targeting. Puerto Princesa is about 400 kilometres (240 miles) northwest of southern islands that are strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf, militants who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and frequently kidnap foreigners. The Abu Sayyaf has since its founding in the 1990s kidnapped dozens of foreigners and many more locals to extract ransoms. The militants beheaded two Canadians last year and an elderly German sailor in February after demands for millions of dollars were unmet. The Abu Sayyaf has also kidnapped people from Malaysian coastal resorts, which are a short speedboat ride from its southern Philippine bases.

US embassy warns of kidnapping threat on Philippine tourist island  

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