Bohol villagers flee as gov’t troops, Abu suspects clash
CEBU CITY — The Inabanga municipal government in Bohol has ordered a forced evacuation of residents in Barangay Napo due to the ongoing gun battle between government troopers and armed men believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf.
Frank Baylosis, Inabanga information officer, said in a phone interview that barangay officials went house-to-house to convince residents to “abandon their homes and move to a safer place” on Tuesday morning.
Baylosis said forced evacuation was also recommended in the adjacent villages of Canlinte and Maria Rosario.
Baylosis said the still unidentified armed men entered their town through the Napo River and traveled about two to three kilometers inland to the mountain village of Napo.
Residents, who spotted the armed group, reported their presence to the police.
“Ang mga barangay opisyales amo nang gi mobilize para force evacuation tungod sa ongoing ground operations,” he said. (Barangay officials were mobilized to conduct the forced evacuation due to the ongoing ground operations.)
Baylosis said evacuees have taken temporary shelter in barangay halls and sports centers of neighboring villages.
Baylosis said he still could not give a headcount of the evacuees as of this posting, past 2 p.m., because town employees were still on field to facilitate their evacuation and take care of their meals.
The municipal government already deployed personnel to send packed meals and canned goods for the evacuees’ lunch.
“We could not bring everyone packed lunch because the incident (gun battle) happened so fast,” said Baylosis. Inabanga town consists of 50 barangays and is located 71 kilometers north of Tagbilaran City. It is also one hour by pump boat going to Cebu City. SFM/rga
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