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4 ASG men killed in Bohol

Four suspected Abu Sayyaf Group members trapped in Bohol have been killed by government troops.

Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces Public Affairs Office, identified one of the fatalities as Joselito Milloria, originally from the town of Inabanga.

Following his conversion to Islam, Milloria adopted the name Abu Alih. He was believed to be responsible in guiding a small group of ASG fighters that landed in Bohol less than two weeks ago.

Milloria was killed in a gunbattle at 12:50 p.m. in Barangay Bacani in the town of Clarin. Recovered from him was a Galil rifle with M203 grenade launcher attached and several rounds of ammunition.

His three unidentified companions were slain at 8 p.m. following a hot government pursuit in the same barangay.

Troops seized two high-powered firearms – M16 and a M14 rifles – with rounds of ammunition.

There were reports that the slain gunmen, part of the group that landed less than two weeks ago, were hiding inside a cave.

The joint police-military operations were headed by Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Matanguihan, commander of the Army 302nd Brigade, and Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, police regional director.

This brings to 10 the number of ASG fighters killed by government troops, leaving only two or three who remain at large.

Arevalo credited the active collaboration between local government executives and civilian residents for the successful operations against the bandits whose leader, Muamar Askali, was one of six initially killed.

“The hunt continues for the remaining two or three terrorists who were part of the band that attempted to establish foothold in Bohol but failed. We have reports indicating that they were also wounded and running out of supplies,” Arevalo added. (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)