Thousands evacuated from top Philippines university Ateneo over bomb threat

Thousands gather at a field inside the Ateneo de Manila University following a bomb threat.
Thousands gather at a field inside the Ateneo de Manila University following a bomb threat.PHOTO: THE GUIDON, ATENEO
Thousands gather at a field inside the Ateneo de Manila University following a bomb threat.
Thousands gather at a field inside the Ateneo de Manila University following a bomb threat.PHOTO: THE GUIDON, ATENEO

MANILA - Thousands of students, teachers and support staff at one of the Philippines’ biggest universities were evacuated on Monday morning (March 28) due to a bomb threat.

In a statement, the Ateneo de Manila University said it received a bomb threat at around 8.30am.

Radio reports quoted police as saying the threat was sent via text message.

Ateneo is one of the Philippines’ top three universities, along with the University of the Phiilppines and De La Salle University., and counts among its students children of the nation’s wealthiest families.

President Benigno Aquino III earned his degree in economics at Ateneo in 1981, shortly before he left for Boston to join his family in exile.

Photos posted on Twitter showed thousands of students and pouring out of the university’s buildings and gathering at a field inside the campus. They were then led out at around 10am, and all gates were shut.

Officials announced on the school’s PA system: “We are currently on campus lockdown due to a bomb threat.”

The Philippines has been on high alert following attacks in Belgium, Iraq and Pakistan.

Over the Easter weekend break, security forces were ordered to step up patrols around airports, harbours, train stations, bus terminals and other public areas.

The Philippines have stepped up security measures following terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world in recent weeks.

At least 31 people were killed in multiple blasts in Belgium last week.  Another attack, in Iskanderiyah, Iraq, killed 41, and a suicide bomber killed at least 69 at a park in Lahore, Pakistan.

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