Tight security measures have been implemented in the municipality of San Isidro after two men suspected of being the remaining Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) fighters in Bohol were last spotted at a remote village of the town.
According to Mayor Jacinto Narraga, the San Isidro police has been augmented by military and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) forces to secure the municipality particularly during night activities of the town’s upcoming fiesta.
San Isidro will be celebrating its fiesta on May 14 and 15, and is projected to draw throngs of revelers from various towns.
Narraga said that residents and authorities should not be complacent while two ASG militants remain at large and could take cover among crowds during the fiesta to cause disturbances.
On Thursday last week, ASG bandit Saad Samad Kiram went out of hiding and was spotted in Baranagy Tanawan, Tubigon on the eve of the area’s fiesta to seek food from residents.
The villagers reported his presence leading to his arrest and death the following day as he was gunned down by policemen after he allegedly escaped from their custody.
Based on intelligence reports acquired by Narraga, the ASG men are still in possession of at least one high-caliber firearm and are considered armed and dangerous.
The militant identified as “Asis” is reportedly still armed with .45 caliber pistol and two grenades while his companion is in possession of a long firearm, possibly an M-16 rifle.
Authorities have not yet pinpointed the exact direction of the ASG stragglers but Narraga noted that security forces are tightly guarding the province’s shores as the militants’ primary goal is to escape.
An unconfirmed report indicating that a kumpit (motorboat) reached Bohol to rescue Asis and the other bandit recently surfaced but authorities have yet to verify the information.
The latest alleged sighting of the ASG men prompted Narraga to call on residents to be vigilant and alert in reporting suspicious individuals to barangay officials and other government personnel. (Allen Doydora)