BOHOL is now Abu Sayyaf-free and it will stay that way.
This was what Police Regional Office 7 Director Noli Taliño assured the public after Abu Ubayda and Asis, the two remaining Abu Sayyaf members who arrived in Inabanga last April 11, were killed in Barangay Lawis, Pangangan Island, Calape last Monday.
“The community support helped us in all our operations to clear out the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) from the island,” he said.
Asis and Ubayda were buried yesterday in the Calape Municipal Cemetery, where PO2 Anthony Nazareno, the Special Weapon and Tactics personnel who was killed during the Inabanga encounter last month, was also laid to rest.
Authorities found Ubayda and Asis’s personal belongings like clothes and toothbrushes in a cave in a middle of a thick mangrove forest in Pangangan.
Taliño admitted that the information regarding the arrival of the Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga last month was delayed.
“Our intelligence information sometimes gets delayed so that when validated, the subjects already escaped,” Taliño said.
Call for continued support
“With the vastness of our oceans, if you climb up, you will see how hard it is to guard all our coastal areas. The ASG used three pumpboats and were sort of island-hopping to reach Inabanga,” Taliño added.
He said that even rich countries with advanced technology fall victims to terrorist attacks.
He said the clashes between government troops in Inabanga and Clarin were the first incursions of the Jihadist terror group in Bohol.
“We did our best to counter this Abu Sayyaf threat in Central Visayas. I hope the community will continue to support our government because we really had no intention of letting them enter,” he said.
But Taliño said the public should also consider the three soldiers and the policeman who sacrificed their lives to defend Bohol.
Not in the province
As for Said Santos and Anthony Yusop, the men who were reportedly in communication with the 11 Abu Sayyaf members, Taliño said they were able to verify that the two are not in Bohol.
“The pictures were released, not all of them were in the island, but according to witnesses and informants, 11 lang talaga ang pumunta ng Bohol (only 11 terrorists went to Bohol). It was a measure to spread awareness to the community in case they saw the two,” he said.
Taliño said that they will also welcome any investigation that the Bohol Provincial Board (PB) will undertake to find out how and why the Abu Sayyaf entered the island.
Information on operations that were conducted will be made available to the PB, he said.
Meanwhile, Colonel Medel Aguilar, assistant chief of the unified staff for civil military operations of the Central Command, said that they will continue to validate the informants before they release the reward money.