Friday, May 12, 2017

Hunt for remaining bandits in Bohol targets 5-hectare mangrove area

From GMA News (May 12): Hunt for remaining bandits in Bohol targets 5-hectare mangrove area

Police and military troops have tightened security on an island in Bohol after residents reported sightings of the two remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group members from Sulu who entered the province early in April for a supposed kidnapping mission.

GMA News stringer Leo Udtohan reported Friday that security forces have set up checkpoints around Pangangan (pronounced as Pang-ga-ngan) Island in Calape town, while Philippine Navy's Special Action Force teams have been conducting naval patrols.

Authorities tightened Pangangan Island's security on Thursday night after a resident reported that a shabby, skinny, unfamiliar man knocked on his door and begged for food.

Island residents have also reported sightings of two unfamiliar men, whom they believe were Abu Asis and Abu Ubayda, the remaining Abu Sayyaf Group members in the province being hunted by the police.

Troops have cordoned off a five-hectare mangrove forest area where the two were spotted in the past few days.

Residents said they began to suspect the presence of the two on the island when they noticed a strange paddle boat tied to a mangrove tree, and with a design different from the ones being used in the locality, Udtohan said.

They found out later that the boat was stolen from Calape town's Brangay Liboron.

After a series of deadly armed confrontations with security forces, the number of intruders at large in the Bohol province in Central Visayas was down to two men (identified as Abu Asis and Abu Ubayda), after the shooting to death of Saad Samad Kiram while in police custody on May 5 for trying to wrestle for the firearm of one of his police escorts.

Saad's death is now being a subject of investigation by the Commission on Human Rights.

Region 7 police director Chief Supt. Noli TaliƱo said earlier that the remaining two bandits were wounded in the clash with authorities that led to Saad's arrest.

Four government troops have been killed in clashes with the bandits since April 11. Of the more than 10 Abu Sayyaf intruders, only two have remained alive.

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