Philippine troops and militants clash on holiday island, eight killed
Philippine troops killed at least five suspected Abu Sayyaf militants and suffered three fatalities during a fire fight in Bohol province on Tuesday, the military said, days after Western travel warnings about visiting the holiday island.
The clash took place after the United States and Canadian embassies in Manila warned citizens against travelling to Central Visayas, which includes Cebu and Bohol, where rebel groups may attempt to conduct kidnappings during Holy Week in the predominantly Catholic nation.
Cebu and Bohol are two of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, far away from the island strongholds of Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic State-linked group known for extortion, piracy and kidnaps for ransom. Abu Sayyaf is currently holding more than two dozen captives on the southern island of Jolo. “We have received a report that five of the enemies were killed and we have also recovered from them four high-powered firearms,” said military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo. “But sadly, three on the government side were also killed while two others were wounded.”
Security forces launched the operation after receiving intelligence that a heavily armed group of 10 people was seen on three boats along the riverside of Sitio Ilaya in Inabanga town, Armed Forces chief General …read more