UK issues travel warning after kidnaps

Kidnapping could happen anywhere, British government says

MANILA, Philippines – The United Kingdom (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised British nationals against travelling to southern Philippines, following the abduction of 2 Europeans on Wednesday, February 1.

“Kidnapping could occur anywhere, including on coastal and island resorts and dive boats and sites in the Sulu Sea,” said the UK travel advisory that was updated right after the Tawi-Tawi kidnapping incident.

Initial reports said armed men abducted Ewold Horn, 52, from the Netherlands, and Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 47, while birdwatching in Tawi-Tawi. 

Dick Camerling, deputy head of the consular section of the Netherlands embassy, refused to give any information on Horn’s abduction. He also declined to confirm if Horn is indeed Dutch.

“This is going to be a big blow to our efforts to rebuild the image of Tawi-Tawi,” said Tawi-Tawi Gov Sadikul Sahali in an earlier interview.

Other factors vs PH travel

The travel advisory also cited another kidnapping incident on Dec 5, 2011, involving an Australian citizen in Zamboanga Sibugay. 

Other factors that the travel advisory cited in discouraging UK citizens from traveling to parts of the Philippines include the following: 

  • Flash floods in Mindanao that displaced over 1,000 people in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro
  • Ongoing terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups in southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago
  • High incidence of violent crime that have recently victimized British nationals

 

The UK travel warning came barely a month after the Philippine government launched its new tourism campaign that runs on the slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” – Rappler.com

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