CALAPE (Philippines): The two remaining Abu Sayyaf members hiding in mangrove swamps on Pangangan Island here are still nowhere to be found, a police official said.
The police official, who asked not to be named, said the two members slipped out under the cover of darkness.
“They could possibly swim their way to freedom at night and escape the military cordon,” the official said.
On Wednesday afternoon, several residents in the island claimed seeing the two – Alyas Asis and Alyas Ubayda – after they paddled a small boat they stole from Sitio (subvillage) Abucayan in Barangay (village) Liboron, still in Calape.
They were reportedly seen together in Barangay Candungao in San Isidro town last Monday.
Calape town is bound by San Isidro in the south. The villagers immediately reported the sighting to the authorities.
The last two Abu Sayyaf remnants were trapped in the middle of a thick mangrove forest where army troopers were combing the mangrove swamps to look for them.
A drone was used on Friday morning to locate the bandits, while helicopters hovered over the island at night.
Sea assets from the Philippine Navy made rounds in the island to ensure that the bandits could not escape.
The military said the two bandits were still armed and dangerous with pistols and grenades contrary to the claim of the police that they no longer posed threats to residents.
“They might go to Sandingan Island or Cabilao Island in Loon town,” a source said.
Government troops were still in the island yesterday where people were celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. — Philippine Daily Inquirer / Asia News Network
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