MANILA- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is continuing to hunt down the remaining members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group who clashed with government forces in Bohol last week.
Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen Restituto Padilla on Monday said the AFP hopes to develop a number of leads on the whereabouts of the bandits.
"We are employing all available resources that we can use in the moment to expedite the operation," Padilla told ANC.
At least 10 people were killed when police and the military clashed with suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the Inabanga town, Bohol last April 11.
Padilla said authorities at the moment have no clear grasp on whether the Abu Sayyaf has established a foothold in Bohol, saying they were only sure that the terrorists had a local as a guide.
Flyers with the image of Joselito Melloria, the man said to be the guide of the Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga, have been distributed by the Army to upland barangays in the hopes that locals will help locate the remaining bandits.
In a press briefing on Monday, AFP Public Affairs Office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo allayed concerns over the presence of terrorists in Bohol, saying authorities are working to ensure that bandits would no longer pose a threat to locals and tourists.
"So far na-clear na natin ang part na yun ng Inabanga, at yung pagpapatuloy ng ating operasyon ay towards ensuring na hindi na magpo-pose ng threat sinuman o kung meron pa man natitirang miyembro ng teroristang grupo at masiguro natin ang ating presence sa lugar together with the PNP," he said.
(We have cleared that part of Inabanga and our continuing operation is towards ensuring that if there are still members of the terror group, they would no longer pose a threat. We are also ensuring our presence in the area together with the PNP.)
Arevalo said the police has also taken the lead in law enforcement operations to bring back a sense of normalcy in Bohol.--with a report from Annie Perez, ABS-CBN News