The highest ranking police official in the province is not discounting the possibility that at least one of the three remaining Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits has died due to injuries sustained.
According to Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) director Sr. Supt. Felipe Natividad, the remaining terrorists were wounded during the latest clash between the band of militants and security forces in Clarin on April 22.
It is possible that they succumbed to complications due to the injuries they sustained, Natividad said.
However, the police official noted that this can only be officially confirmed if the ASG menâ€™s bodies are found.
Last week, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla told reporters in MalacaÃ±ang that one of the three stragglers died due to “exposure to the elements and of hunger.”
This was not confirmed however by ground troops including the Philippine Armyâ€™s 302nd Brigade which is stationed in Central Visayas and had forces deployed in Bohol.
Capt. Jojo Mascarinas, spokesperson of the 302nd Brigade, also cited the need for the retrieval of the ASG fightersâ€™ bodies to confirm their deaths.
Meanwhile, a text message believed to be between alleged ASG bomber Reenor Lou Dongon, who was suspected of attempting to rescue the bandits in Bohol, and a suspected militant in the province indicated that at least one of the stragglers was wounded.
A report by GMA News which cited a source privy to the investigation revealed that one ASG fighter identified as â€œKulotâ€ asked for medicines while the stragglers were being hunted down by government troops in the province.
â€œMagandang umaga brod, tingnan mo ang sitwasyon kung ok lang, nangangamoy na ang bulad ko, at lumaki na siya, basta mahatid lang ang gamot at pagkain, nanghihina na kami brod,â€ said a seemingly wounded Kulot in text message dated April 22.
The text messages between Dongon and the suspected bandit were in Tausug, but were translated by authorities to Filipino and Bisaya.
Dongon along with wife police Supt. Ma. Cristina Noblezaâ€”both were reportedly married under muslim ritesâ€”was taken into police custody after they failed to stop at a security checkpoint in Clarin while a firefight between security forces and the ASG was ongoing on the night of April 22.
Investigators found medicines, energy drinks, sim cards, food and diving gear inside Noblezaâ€™s vehicle while police also took into their custody Dongonâ€™s mother and an unidentified teenager who were with the couple when they were flagged down by authorities.
Nobleza and Dongon are now detained at Camp Crame after Philippine National Police chief Director Gen. Ronald dela Rosa tagged both as â€œhigh-risk detainees.â€ (RT)