Police officers killed four soldiers in an exchange of fire in Jolo (Sulu province) on Monday, June 29. The incident occurred on Marina Street when officers requested that the soldiers stop their vehicle at a checkpoint and verify their identities. Police claim that the soldiers attempted to flee the checkpoint and that they aimed their weapons at the officers when they stopped after being pursued. A local military commander stated that the soldiers were fired upon by police. The Defense Secretary has requested that the National Bureau of Investigation conduct an independent investigation into the incident.
A heightened security presence in the area whilst investigations are ongoing, with potential disruptions to overland travel, should be anticipated in the near term.
Individuals in the southern Philippines are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant and criminal activity, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Several Western governments advise against travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago due to the risk of kidnapping and terrorism.
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