Two known factions of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group based in Maguindanao and Jolo are reportedly mobilizing in an apparent attempt to save the terror-group’s bungled operation here in the province, an intelligence report reveals.
The Chronicle obtained a classified directive yesterday that was issued by Bohol Police Provincial Director SSupt. Felipe Natividad, which revealed that “there is a high probability” that the terrorist groups will attempt to rescue the remaining elements of their fellow Islamists who survived the clash with military and police forces on Tuesday.
The surviving bandits, some of whom are believed to be seriously wounded, are being chased by government troops in a continuing hot pursuit operation.
SSupt. Natividad’s directive quoted a report from the headquarters of the Armed Forces’ Intelligence Service which advised police station chiefs here in the province amid “an unsubstantiated yet credible information” that the Abu Sayyaf’s sub-unit from Jolo under a certain Alias Talz and the Muslim bandit’s faction, the Ansarul Khilafah Philippines (AKP) based in Maguindanao, were “monitored to be mobilizing their respective groups to conduct the rescue operation of the remaining elements” of the group that survived the encounter in Inabanga.
The terrorist factions will most likely use motorized boats, locally known as “kumpit”, and the coastal towns as their most likely incursion points.
Since Friday night, based on the intelligence report, the Jolo and Maguindanao factions of the Abu Sayyaf have been purportedly trying to tap motorized boat operators to transport them to Bohol and get their rescue operations going.
A Philippine Coast Guard “seaborne patrol” in the southern coasts of Bohol have reportedly monitored akumpit in the vicinity of the Balicasag Island on Friday night. However, a chase by the coast guard proved futile.
In an interview with the Chronicle, several police chiefs of towns along the southern coasts of Bohol facing Mindanao, have confirmed the circulation of the intelligence directive.
In fact, a command conference was held yesterday to discuss “escalated pre-emptive measures” and to intensify intelligence and counter-intelligence monitoring in coordination with the Armed Forces’ intelligence units.
Intensified seaborne patrols have been ongoing with several resort owners pooling in their resources with LGUs in providing speedboats to match the high-speed “kumpits”, a police station chief in one of the coastal towns told the Chronicle.
Bohol’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit this week as well as its reputation as a tourist haven may have drawn the terrorists to spread out its kidnapping and bombing operations here.
According to police and military intelligence gathered, the Abu Sayyaf group traveled from Sulu by motor boat to Bohol and were guided to Inabanga’s interior hinterlands by one Joselito Melloria, a convert to Islam. Military officials believed Joselito may have been designated to lead the AKP faction had the attack been successful, the officials said. The AKP group’s leader, Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, was killed by counterterrorism forces in southern Sarangani province in January.
Melloria, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Alih and allowed the militants to stay at his Inabanga home, was wounded in Tuesday’s firefight but escaped with several other militants.