At least two people were killed and 34 more injured in a bombing at the entrance to the South Seas Mall in Cotabato City (Maguindanao province; Mindanao island) on the afternoon (local time) of Monday, December 31. A second, unexploded device was reportedly discovered on the second floor of the mall and was safely detonated by authorities. The city was briefly put on lockdown after the initial explosion, which has since been lifted; nevertheless, an increased security presence has been deployed across Cotabato City. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Martial law on Mindanao island, in place since May 2017, was recently extended through at least December 2019 due to the ongoing risk of militant activity.
Individuals present in Cotabato City are advised to remain vigilant and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago due to ongoing terrorist activity and regular clashes between the military and insurgent groups. Authorities advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.
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