Britain has warned its citizens against travelling to the insurgency-wracked southern Philippine island of Mindanao after a bomb went off at a mainly Muslim city there on Monday (Dec 31), killing two and wounding dozens.
Philippine security officials are linking the blast outside a shopping mall in Cotabato city in central Mindanao to two small militant groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“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, including in places visited by foreigners, like airports, shopping malls, public transport, including the metro system, and places of worship,” Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in an update to its travel advisory on its website.
It advised British citizens to avoid travelling to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago, and limit “all but essential travel” to the rest of Mindanao, an island the size of South Korea.
The travel advisory also referred to the warning last month by the United States that security at Manila’s main airport was not “consistent” with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.
“That’s fair warning,” Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin responded in a tweet on today Wednesday (Jan 2).