SAF troops arrive in Bohol as clash continues
INABANGA, Bohol — The clash between government troopers and suspected members of the bandit group Abu Sayyaf in Sitio Ilaya, in the remote village of Napo, Inabanga town, Bohol is not yet over, more than 24 hours since the fighting started.
No one can come in and out of the village as both the police and the military have cordoned off the village located 10 kilometers from the national highway.
Senior Insp. Jojit Mananquil, deputy head of the provincial intelligence branch of the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO), said troops from the Special Action Force from Manila arrived just as the last airstrike occurred at 4:40 a.m. on Wednesday.
Hopefully, he added, the armed men would be “neutralized” by Wednesday (Apr. 12).
Six suspected Abu Sayyaf members were killed in a gun-battle that started at 5:40 a.m. on Tuesday when residents reported the presence of armed men in their village.
Three soldiers and one policeman had also fallen in the firefight that sent more than 1,200 residents fleeing from their homes.
Inabanga Mayor Josephine Jumamoy, in an interview over Cebu City-based dyLA, identified the government fatalities as 2nd Lt. Estelito Saldua Jr., Corporal Meljun Cabajan, Sgt. John Dexter Duero and SPO2 Rey Anthony Nazareno from Calape town, Bohol and a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics Group.
An 80-year-old woman also died of a heart attack on Tuesday night following the intense firefight.
Jemmylito Logrono, 23, a resident of Barangay Liloan Sur, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that his grandmother, Beatriz Labandero, had refused to evacuate despite the plea of local officials.
But Logrono, who was staying at the evacuation center, said his grandmother suffered a heart attack and died at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Some evacuees returned to their homes on Wednesday morning although many others opted to stay in the evacuation sites.
Among them were Amay Esto, 55, a resident of Barangay Liloan Sur, who continued to stay at the Nabuad Elementary School with her daughter Estelita and her two grandchildren-Nicole, 1, and Wisley, 3.
Supt. George Vale, chief of the police community relations office at the BPPO, also denied reports circulating in the social media that armed men were also sighted in other towns of Bohol. SFM