US issues new travel warning in 3 Mindanao areas. Find out which

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The United States has issued a travel warning on three areas in Mindanao, including Marawi City where fighting between government troops and the Maute group had been ongoing since May 23.

In its travel warning dated July 17, the State Department advised US citizens to “avoid” non-essential travel to Marawi City, Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago including the southern Sulu Sea.

Also, it urged them to “exercise extreme caution when traveling to other regions of Mindanao, due to terrorist threats, insurgent activities, and kidnappings.”

“There is a threat of kidnappings-for-ransom of foreigners, including U.S. citizens, from terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago and in the southern Sulu Sea area. This area stretches from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of eastern Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao,” it said.

It added the U.S. Embassy requires U.S. government personnel to get special authorization before traveling to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

Martial law had been declared over Mindanao since the fighting with the Maute group broke out last May.

“There have been no reports of U.S. citizens in Mindanao targeted specifically for their nationality; however, general threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners throughout Mindanao remain a concern,” it said.