Military and police forces in the province of Bohol are on heightened alert after the intelligence community has reported of a mysterious incursion of Muslim men in the Visayas waters on Friday night, sources have told The Bohol Tribune.
According to an intel report leaked yesterday to The Bohol Tribune, a fisher in Siquijor had narrated to the military what he had seen in the seawaters off barangay Catulayan, San Juan town in Siquijor province on Friday (August 11) at around 10 p.m.: a group of around 50 men believed to be Muslims, aboard three big motorized boats.
The alarming sighting of Muslim men came at a time that the government continues to wage a daily bloody battle against ISIS-backed Maute terrorists who have been trying to control Marawi City since May 23, 2017.
The report did not indicate whether the men spotted off Siquijor sea waters were armed or appearing to be possible members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The Muslim men, the report said, engaged the fisherman in a brief conversation, asking him if a “patrol car” will pass by Barangay Catulayan, of the same town.
Later, the three boats reportedly sped off toward the direction of Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental.
But the intelligence community believes the boats might also head to Cebu or Bohol.
In April this year, three boats loaded with at least 11 members of the Abu Sayyaf group reached a remote part of Inabanga town through a river that connects to the open sea.
Arriving in Bohol for bombing and kidnapping mission, the bandits’ plot was eventually thwarted by government security forces, backed by the information provided by civilians who have been trained on internal security measures under the provincial government’s Purok Power Movement framework.
After a month of hot pursuit operation, 11 ASG bandits were killed, with the last two remnants finally neutralized in Pangangan Island, Calape town, on May 15, 2017