• Govt troops corner ASG rebels in Bohol

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    14 dead in fierce clashes

    SOLDIERS clashed with heavily armed members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) spotted in a town in Bohol on Tuesday, a day after security officials confirmed the existence of a terror threat in Central Visayas.
    The fierce firefight left 14 people dead, four of them government troops.

    Police and soldiers take position as they engage with the Abu Sayyaf group in the village of Napo, Inabanga town, Bolo province. AFP Photo

    At least one policeman was confirmed killed in the fight, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.

    Officials said the fighting erupted in the village of Ilaya in Inabanga town where civilians reported to the police the presence of Abu Sayyaf rebels who arrived in several speedboats.

    The firefight occurred two days after the United States Embassy in Manila issued a travel advisory warning its citizens against travelling to Cebu and Bohol because of the threat of kidnapping.

    Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald De la Rosa said the rebel group’s early detection stopped the rebels from carrying out their kidnapping plan.

    “We reacted to the information, our operatives checked it and the troops managed to corner them,” he said.

    The clashes that started at 7 a.m. continued until late Tuesday afternoon. More troops from the Army, Air Force and the Navy were deployed to reinforce the security forces in Inabanga.

    Intelligence reports said that the armed men were led by ASG sub-leader Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami, whose group was initially monitored in Sindangan, Zamboanga Del Norte. The rebels reached Inabanga Monday night.

    The incursion would be the first on a major tourist destination in recent years by the Abu Sayyaf, which has long engaged in kidnappings for ransom—often targeting foreigners.

    Bohol is a major tourist destination, where foreign tourists swim with whale sharks and marvel at tiny primates called tarsiers, go on cruises aboard boats on crystal-clear rivers and lounge at white-sand beaches.

    Five bodies have been recovered at the scene of the fighting, military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said in a talevision interview.

    Padilla said the army had received information over the past few weeks about “a potential activity on the part of some lawless elements to disturb the peace” in the area.

    “The clearing operations are ongoing and we are pouring in more forces to help and assist. We hope to finish this by the end of the day,” the spokesman added.

    Armed Forces chief Eduardo Año said that prior to the encounter, members of the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion and the Bohol Provincial Police Office and the Regional Public Safety Battalion were sent to the area after intelligence information revealed the presence of heavily armed men.

    “The security operation was launched in relation to the monitored presence of 10 armed men with three pump boats along the riverside of Sitio Ilaya, Barangay Napo in the area of Inabanga, Bohol. The information came from alert residents and other citizens who were watching over their respective communities,” the AFP chief said.

    “Security forces reported that the group was armed with heavy caliber weapons but (is) now cornered in an isolated section of the Sitio,” he added.

    The Abu Sayyaf, also blamed for deadly bombings, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State movement that holds large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

    Over the past year, the Abu Sayyaf has been expanding its activities, boarding commercial and fishing vessels off their southern island stronghold of Jolo, near Malaysia, and abducting dozens of foreign crew members.

    They beheaded a German tourist earlier this year and two Canadian tourists last year, all three of them having been seized at sea.

    In May 2001, Abu Sayyaf fighters raided the posh Dos Palmas resort and seized over a dozen tourists, including American missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and California man Guillermo Sobero. They brought the hostages in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region, and ransomed off some of their wealthy victims.

    Guillermo and Martin were killed separately while Gracia – although shot and wounded during a firefight between troops and jihadists – was rescued in Zamboanga del Norte province.

    Heightened security

    The presence of Abu Sayyaf rebels prompted the island-province of Camiguin, a popular tourist destination in Northern Mindanao, to heighten its security.

    Superintendent Reggie Oñate, Camiguin police deputy provincial director for operations, said the police and the local government units in the island intensified their security as they closely watch the development in Bohol in anticipation of the possible spill over of the gunfight to the island.

    Mambajao Mayor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo that the local government was monitoring the situation in Bohol as tourists visiting the White Island and Mantigue Island, two of the popular tourist spots in Camiguin, were not evacuated.

    Camiguin island is about 182 nautical (535 kms) southeast of Bohol island. It is four hours away from the southern town of Jagna, Bohol by boat.

    Oñate said that the eruption of violence in Bohol will have “no effect” on the religious activities in Camiguin, particularly the yearly “Panaad” (vows) that is part of the observance of the Holy Week in the area. With AFP and

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    32 Comments

    1. Abner Silang on

      BS Aquino bought several helicopters from the US and the deal was overpriced. To make matters worse, when they were delivered they were defective and would not even fly. Of course Aquino did not fire his Defense Secretary or anybody over the crooked deal. Such a corrupt Aquino regime!

    2. Please check your geography. Camiguin cannot be 182 nautical miles or 535 kilometers away from Bohol. Looking at the map, the distance should be less than 100 kilometers between Jagna, Bohol and Camiguin island.

    3. John Chameleon on

      Early detection mentioned by de la Rosa never came from the intelligence unit of the p[olice or military.

      It came from the local people who had the guts to report the presence of armed men.

      Intelligence arm of the police and military are the most corrupt sector due to its easy liquidation of their funds.

      This was enjoyed since the PC days until the present PNP. Anti-corruption campaign must work within the PNP.

      • That’s true! The much touted intelligence agency of the government are asleep in their jobs.

    4. jose b taganahan on

      This is the only news report that mentions 14 dead, 4 from the government side and 10 from the ASG. Is this story reliable?

    5. The dead Soldiers and a Policeman have all our respect and it is a duty of the Government to support the families of the dead service members. My question is, is this Country capable of everything? If they monitored them from Jolo to Sindangan, how come they did not blew them to smithereens? Those fighter jets could have been used before they reach Bohol?

    6. If I remember right, when some US population tried to get back their community from the drug lords and pushers. They started reporting movements of unknown individuals in their neigborhood. And they wree succesful in getting back their community.Everybody got involved in their moved. What happened in Bohol is a good example of getting involve in your community. Report unknown individuals roaming in your community. Report armed people loitering in your street sand help the cops in maintaining peace and order by mere reporting unusual occurence. We all need to do that to help our authorities maintain peace. Its about time we involve ourselves and not be afraid of the criminals. This is what Duterte wants us to do, and that is the change he WANTS ALL FILIPINOS TO
      DO. REMEMBER CHANGE CAN BE DONE WITH THE HELP OF THE POPULACE.

    7. Our government forces who died from the clashes are heroes. I pray for them so they will have peace.

      • rudy lagasca on

        The ASG could not have staged that coup without the help of somebody from Bohol. Does the name Evasco ring a bell?

    8. Is that the uniforms of the Philippines Army ?
      A jacket and a gun.

      Does not look like they are very well equipped for a army unit.
      Is there no quick action task force with helicopters that can track and move troops for reinforcement ?

      Didn’t PNoy buy some 50 year old helicopters for the country a couple of years ago ?
      Where are those helicopters now ?

    9. wala akong galit o ano pa man sa military it was just frustrating na mas malakas ang ating kapulisan at military sa mga bandidong asg na kaya naman masugpo ng libo libong military at pnp personnel bakit hindi kayang magawa marami tuloy sibilyan ang kanilang nabibiktima , sugpuin at lipulin na dapat itong grupo ng mga bandido asg

    10. heavily armed men in 3 pump boats with out formal military training cannot be subdued or apprehend by the combined military army navy and marine with the help of pnp special action force what a pity , you are only good on killing all the unarmed civilians and mulcting them with their hard earned living
      you guys should be ashamed of yourself for being cowards

    11. Event like this is one of the reasons why Filipinos in the USA must have a second thought of investing real estate in PH and even retiring in PH is being affected not only by terrorism committed Abu S. in teamwork with the ISIS, but other criminalities like street fighting, killings, traffic problems, natural disasters, huge corruptions from politicians to private citizens. Even the top wealthy Filipinos in the Philippines are securing their investments right here in the United States, like buying and investing real estates.

    12. we better see and wait for the result. it is better said than done.all the troopers are sacrificing their lives to make you feel secured and comfortable in your homes. better pray for their lives so that they could come back alive to their respective families and celebrate the coming of the lord.

    13. John Chameleon on

      The best to control and prevent atrocities by any bandit or rebel group are the local citizens. Without their cooperation and support to peacekeeping initiatives and action of the government, their places will be in trouble. This is where the Japanese are good at – reporting unusual movement and presence of visitors or armed men especially.

      Bohol is a tourist destination. Observe Paris, Vatican City or Rome, the main incentives of tourists in their place is their safety and security. Yes, there are petty crimes like pickpocketing or snatching happen but seeing a person attacked violently or kidnapped is far from happening. You can hear people quarreling and shouting to the top of their voices but never hit each other that it looks funny to us. Police and security personnel are very strict on crimes that immediate action is done against the culprit.

      Any criminal would be audacious to commit illegal acts if the locals will allow them. Be vigilant and surveilling. YOUR PEACE DEPENDS ON YOU NOT TO THE AUTHORITIES. REPORT ANY DANGER TO THE AUTHORITIES!

    14. I salute our brave soldiers fighting this evil people kill all this ASG evil let no one survive.

    15. Lito Atienza on

      To TMT reporters Marasagan and Jacinto
      Please do not refer to ASG as “rebels”. The ASG are TERRORISTS and BANDITS. All they want is to enjoy the life of the rich – like, booze, women and sex – without ever working for it.

      • John Chameleon on

        This I would agree with you. It’s irritating reading reports of ignorant reporters trying to politicize criminalities following the trend of some western media. A good example is your point. Why call the barbaric bandits who decapitated kidnapped foreigners “rebels”?

        The same abnormal description is used to the BIFF, a criminal group involved in murder, kidnapping, arson, rape and other crimes.

        Another is calling the squatters “informal settlers” when the truth is they are illegal settlers. Uneducated reporters abound in the country.

        What they do is imitate the deceptive western media who politicize issues to the advantage of the west especially the liberals.

        Thanks for the correction so the media hacks or not may know..

      • EXACTLY right! “Rebels” is a false term, used often in Syria to downplay terrorists groups as “moderates”….they are violent criminals, that is all

    16. I don’t get it.

      1 police 3 military 5 Abu = 9 dead bodies. Where are the other 5? Who are they? The rebels? Are they presumed dead? If these were the rebels then good. Somehow we need to show proof that they were really dead. Because IF these 5 rebels were still alive they could still carry out their plans on kidnapping.

    17. reformed criminal on

      PNP and the AFP probably cannot admit that the U.S. Embassy has a better intelligence gathering mechanism. About a week ago, U.S. Embassy issued a warning to its citizens to avoid traveling to Cebu and Bohol, because there will be some type of terrorists activities. At that time, PNP and AFP also issued statements that they did not have a credible information on the possibility of terrorists presence in those two little islands. The AFP and PNP did not even bother to ask the military attaché section of the Embassy on how they came up with that information. They (AFP and PNP) should have used all those Intel Data for their advantage. Early strategic planning is very important in any combat operations, and can formulate a better operation orders. Lastly, PNP and AFP should learn from their mistakes and move on. Do not give these terrorists groups any time to regroup, reload, and resupply; just run them over and kill them all because Allah will sort them out later.

      • The US will be wary of giving their Intel reports to our troops because Duterte might curse them again for interfering so they kept silent about it.

    18. If not for the locals, these bandits would have been successful. US and Australia are forewarned because the financiers of these group like the ISIS are from their ranks.

      • highly possible…they know because they planned it themselves…just like how Trump pre-empted what may happen to Sweden…