Nearly a year since Abu Sayyaf raid, fear still hangs over Bohol town

Annie Fe Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2018 06:17 PM | Updated as of Mar 30 2018 06:24 PM

"Esmaelita Niñeza, a barangay councilor, recalls her experience during the clash between the military and the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol last year. Annie Fe Perez, ABS-CBN News

INABANGA, Bohol—Locals here are still wary of the threat of terrorism, almost a year since Abu Sayyaf rebels caused havoc on the resort island.

On Good Friday, Canlinte village residents, the adjacent town of Napo, acknowledged that fear persists. 

"We never expected it to happen. Until now we keep on listening because they might come back," Esmaelita Niñeza, a barangay councilor, said in local dialect.

It was also during the Holy Week last year when the Abu Sayyaf penetrated a far-flung village in Inabanga and triggered a day-long clash that killed 6 rebels and 4 members of the security forces.

Niñeza and other villagers recalled how bullets penetrated their houses while they hid in fear at evacuation centers.

"We pray that our town be peaceful," added 76-year-old resident Ronnie Niño.

On Aprill 11, the day Abu Sayyaf raided the province, locals are set to offer a mass.

The clashes between the bandit group and the military lasted for more than a month, prompting several countries to issue travel warnings over Central Visayas.

Almost a year later, authorities in Bohol still remain at a heightened alert.