CIDG probes Bohol gunbattle
CEBU CITY — The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas (CIDG-7) has begun investigating the gunfight between suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and government troopers in SitioIlaya, Barangay Napo, Inabanga town, in Bohol last April 11.
Chief Insp. Hector Amancia, deputy chief of CIDG-7, said they were collecting evidence and testimonies that could be used in prosecuting the bandits.
The investigation seeks to identify the local contacts of the armed group and determine if a couple killed in the military-police operations were members of the group.
The bodies of the couple, Constancio and Crisanta Petalco, both in their 60s, were found among the remains of supposed Abu Sayyaf members killed in the firefight.
Residents said the Petalcos were not members of Abu Sayyaf and merely caught in the crossfire.
“What we have now are speculations. We have to conduct an in-depth investigation and ensure the filing of charges against members of the armed group. We will make sure that justice will be served,” Amancia said.
Among the evidence already recovered were three twin-engine boats believed to have been used by the armed men in going to Bohol from Sulu, an M4 rifle, two M16 rifles, a .45 pistol, assorted ammunition, three detonating cords, 49 blasting caps, eight slide switches, 86 red lights, 10 Christmas light bulbs, 46 resistors, three cellphone batteries, electric cutter, scissor, screw driver, and four Korans.
The items are in the custody of Scene of the Crime Operatives.
Six alleged members of the armed group, including alleged leader Muamar Askali, were killed in the gunfight.
Eight others are being pursued by government forces in Bohol.
Three soldiers and a policeman were also killed.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas, reiterated his appeal to the public to be alert and vigilant at all times.
“Community support is very important. If you notice suspicious-looking persons and unusual events, please report it immediately to authorities,” he said.
Based on the investigation, children who were playing near a river in Inabanga first saw the arrival of the armed men on board three boats in the morning of April 9.
They said the bandits later disassembled their wet guns. The kids informed their parents about it, and later relayed the matter to the Barangay Napo Captain Columbo Estoce who reported to the authorities. CBB/rga