At Least 5 Dead as Philippine Forces, Suspected Militants Clash

Clashes Tuesday between Philippine forces and suspected Abu Sayyaf militants on a central resort island have left one officer and at least four gunman dead.

The fighting took place in the town of Inabanga, located in Bohol province.  Authorities said a group of about 10 gunmen in total were spotted arriving by boat and that the clashes happened when government forces went to investigate.

Bohol is outside of the areas in the southern Philippines where Abu Sayyaf traditionally operates.

The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines issued a warning last week that it had received “unsubstantiated yet credible information” that terrorist groups may attempt kidnappings in Bohol and Cebu provinces.

The United States and the Philippines each consider Abu Sayyaf to be a terrorist organization.

The group has carried out numerous kidnappings, bombings and beheadings since its formation in the 1990s.  In late February, Abu Sayyaf executed a German hostage after its deadline  for a $600,000 ransom expired.


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