Southern Philippines

This item appears on page 21 of the April 2009 issue.

The State Department warns travelers to the Philippines to exercise extreme caution in the islands of the Sulu Archipelago as well as in the central and western portions of the island of Mindanao (specifically, the provinces of North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte).

Regional terrorist groups have carried out bombings, resulting in injuries and death. And since August 2008 there have been sporadic clashes between lawless groups and the Philippine Armed Forces in Mindanao. Kidnap-for-ransom gangs are active and have targeted foreigners. Some foreigners who reside in or visit Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago hire their own security.