Bohol is now cleared of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits who infiltrated the province last month through Inabanga town, said a Philippine Army general.
Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Matanguihan, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, made the pronouncement following the deaths of Abu Asis and Abu Ubayda, the remaining ASG militants in the province, earlier today.
“Congratulations sa tanang Bol-anon na ming tabang para ma-resolve ito, this crisis is finally over,” said Matanguihan. “Ngayon, finally, wala na talagang naiwan sa mga terrorists na pumunta dito sa Bohol.”
According to Matanguihan, Ubayda who was killed at a security checkpoint at past 1 p.m. was in possession of an M-16 rifle and two grenades.
Meanwhile, Asis was unarmed, but had reportedly engaged a villager in a physical tussle.
Reports indicated that police Special Weapons and Tactics operatives gunned down Asis during the said altercation against the resident at around 6 p.m.
At 12 p.m., the two suspects left the house of the Tuloy family which they held hostage since Friday, said Councilor Rading Sarsuelo of Barangay Lawis in Pangganan.
The bandits then immediately fled using a stolen motorcycle.
Ubayda reportedly held the motorcycle’s driver at gunpoint while Asis commandeered the vehicle.
While travelling, the suspects were flagged down at a security checkpoint leading to the gun battle between security forces and the suspects.
Ubayda was killed while Asis was reportedly able to escape.
“Nagkahiwlay sila during the first encounter,” said Matanguihan.
The army general noted that an evaluation of the operation today will still be conducted while identities of the slain alleged Abu Sayyaf men will also be verified.
In an interview after the operation, Matanguihan also said that both Ubayda and Asis were together after the clash in Clarin on April 22.
The firefight in Clarin was the second encounter between the band of Abu Sayyaf militants and government security forces.
Four bandits including Bohol native Joselito Melloria were killed during the gun battle, while three others including Ubayda and Asis survived.