INABANGA, BOHOL — On 11 April 2017, a firefight ensued between a joint police and military team and suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf group in Barangay Napo, Inabanga in Bohol, according to the local police. Commander of AFP Central Command Major General Oscar Lactao and Inabanga Mayor Roygie Jumamoy separately confirmed the report, with the latter noting that the clash began in the morning.
Media on the ground and a statement issued by PRO-7 and the AFP Central Command reports that as of this writing, clearing operations are ongoing. Four members of our troops were killed in action, one from the PNP and three from the AFP. Five of the suspected Abu Sayyaf were slain, and a number of high-powered firearms were retrieved.
Mayor Jumamoy said that “three pumpboats of heavily-armed men ‘from Mindanao’ were cornered in Inabanga River,” estimating the number of suspected ASG members at at least ten. This is consistent with information received from sources, regarding boats leaving Sulu and bound for the Visayas. The men had also been sighted upon their arrival by residents, and subsequently reported to the authorities, the day before.
Residents in the areas surrounding the clash were evacuated.
The firefight occurs following the US Embassy in Manila’s issuance of a travel warning to Americans in the Philippines, regarding visits to the Bohol and Cebu provinces. Superintendent George Vale, head of the Police Community Relations Office at the Bohol Police Provincial Office, said it is yet to be determined if the armed men were planning on kidnapping tourists in Central Visayas.
In a statement, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto focused on exhorting his constituents to remain alert: “We urge the people instead to be vigilant in reporting to authorities any unusual movement of unknown persons in area. Law enforcement agencies have been on high alert, including security units of hotels and resorts who are also closely coordinated with police authorities.”