Troops press search for 2 armed men sighted on Cebu island
CEBU CITY– Government troops continued to search for two armed men spotted along the beach lines of Barangay (village) San Vicente on Olango Island on Thursday afternoon.
Barangay captain Cyrus Eyas said the sightings and the presence of government troopers created fear especially among residents of Sitios (subvillage) Basdaku and Baskural, where the two armed men were reportedly seen.
At least 25 families from Sitio Basdaku evacuated to the nearby Sta. Rosa Elementary School at 9 p.m. on Thursday and spent the night there.
They started returning to their homes at 5 a.m. on Friday.
“The residents were very scared,” said Eyas.
He raised the possibility that the two were members of the bandit group Abu Sayyaf Group who were being hunted down in Inabanga town in Bohol after engaging the government troops in intense gunfire last week.
Inabanga is located across Olango Island and is a little over an hour travel by pumpboat.
“We suspect that the two were looking for medicines and food,” said Eyas.
But he admitted that the search for the two armed men would not be easy because the two could be hiding in the 1,100-hectare of mangrove forest at the bird sanctuary in San Vicente.
There was even possibility that they might have already left the island on Thursday night.
A female resident who lives near the boundary of Sitios Basdaku and Basrukal claimed seeing two armed men about 1 p.m. on Thursday.
The resident, Eyas said, was supposed to respond to the call of nature when she saw the two men about 20 meters away.
The two wore jackets and were bringing backpacks and long firearms. A piece of cloth covered their faces except for the eyes.
“One man appeared to be weak because he was being supported by his companion while walking,” said Eyas.
Alarmed, the female resident immediately reported what she saw to village officials in the barangay hall.
Eyas said they then called for police assistance. Two hours later, around 20 government troopers from the Philippine Navy, Philippine Army and Special Weapons and Tactics arrived Barangay San Vicente around 3 p.m.
Bursts of gunfire were heard shortly after arrival. AU/rga
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