Stay Out Zamboanga City, US Embassy Warns Citizens

April 2, 2008 at 10:35 am | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines – The US Embassy warned its citizens Tuesday about plans by “extremist elements” to kidnap Americans and other foreigners in a southern Philippine city where US counterterrorism troops have been deployed.

“Extremist elements may be planning to kidnap Americans or other foreigners at hotels or other public places in the Zamboanga City area,” it said in an e-mail.US Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Thompson said she was unaware of specific details of the threat.

A Philippine security official said authorities received intelligence last month that the Abu Sayyaf — a small but violent al-Qaeda-linked group — planned to kidnap wealthy Filipino Chinese traders, not Americans, in the south to raise money for operations.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.Zamboanga Mayor Celso Lobregat said police told him there was no kidnapping plot specifically directed at Americans in Zamboanga, about 860 kilometers (530 miles) south of Manila.”This is really very disappointing,” Lobregat told The Associated Press by telephone.

“Zamboanga is a very peaceful city.”US counterterrorism troops have been based in recent years in Zamboanga and on nearby Jolo island, where they provide training to Filipino troops battling the Abu Sayyaf and Indonesian militants.

Abu Sayyaf guerrillas have been blamed for bombings, kidnappings and beheadings, but their attacks have considerably eased in recent years.US-backed offensives against the militants, arrests and surrenders have reduced the Abu Sayyaf’s strength to about 300 armed fighters from more than 1,000 in 2000, according to the military.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: