Briones: Not alone | SunStar

Briones: Not alone

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Briones: Not alone

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

CEBU and Bohol can rest assured that they’re not being singled out.

Earlier last month, the US Embassy issued a travel advisory reminding its citizens to reconsider visiting these provinces in light of now substantiated terrorist threats.

But get this. The US State Department has issued a new travel alert. This time, it’s advising Americans to shy away from all of Europe just as that part of the world is getting ready for the summer tourist season.

The State Department cited the threat of terrorist attacks without mentioning any specific intelligence to believe that one is imminent, but it is worried about the potential for more attacks.

“US citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorists sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning,” the alert states.

But if Americans insist on heading to the continent, the alert said they should avoid potential targets that are pretty much anywhere people gather, such as “tourist locales, transportation hubs, markets and shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions and airports.”

Well that about covers everything so they might as well stay at home.

In some way, we here in Cebu and Bohol are luckier compared to citizens in European countries that have recently felt the wrath of terrorists groups like the Islamic State or al-Qaeda.

This year alone, terrorist attacks have killed four persons in France.

The last reported incident took place in its overseas region of Reunion, where a man suspected of planning an Islamist terror attack shot and hurt two police officers last April 27.

A week before on April 20, an officer was killed when an Islamic extremist sprayed a police car with bullets along the busy Champs-Elysees in Paris.

The three other incidents also took place in Paris, the French capital, which attracts millions of tourists from all over the world.

In Stockholm, Sweden, a “radicalized” Muslim stole a truck and mowed down five pedestrians, including an 11-year-old girl, and injured 11 others last April 7.

Although last month’s encounter between government troops and the Jihad terror group Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga and Clarin, both in Bohol, claimed the lives of three soldiers and one police officer, there were only two civilian casualties.

As for the Abu Sayyaf, they lost 10 members, including high-ranking leader Abu Rami.

Meanwhile, government troops continue to comb Bohol’s countryside for the three remaining terrorists, one of whom is reportedly a member of the Basilan royal family.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 04, 2017.

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