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ASG’s days are numbered

More than two weeks after the first encounter between Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members and government troops in Inabanga, Bohol, the province’s police chief said it will only take a few more days before the remaining terrorists will be arrested.

Senior Supt. Felipe Natividad, Bohol Provincial Police Office director, said the remaining ASG members are already tired and hungry and no longer have the leadership and guide to traverse the terrain of Inabanga and Clarin towns.

“They will be arrested very soon,” Natividad told reporters.

He said the remaining three ASG men have not left the province of Bohol because of the tight security measures in possible exit areas in the province.

Natividad said there were reports of armed men knocking on doors of houses in Clarin asking for food and clothing but these reports have not been confirmed. There were also reports of suspicious men buying boat tickets in Anda town but Natividad said these were also not confirmed.

Authorities continue to scour the hilly portions of the adjacent towns of Clarin, Inabanga, and Tubigon in search for three remaining rebels identified as a certain “Alyas Asis Kaifar Sawadjaan,” a certain “Alyas Um Ammra a.k.a. Alyas Abu Omar,” and a certain “Alyas Ubayda.”

Police Regional Office-7 Director Noli Taliño earlier said that the rebels who survived the Inabanga and Clarin encounters were already on “survival mode” with one of them possibly armed.

In Cebu, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command said it is taking reports of Abu Sayyaf sightings in Cebu with a grain of salt because these could just be the rebels’ tactic to divert government’s attention from Bohol. (Mars W. Mosqueda, Jr.)