(3rd Update)Death toll in Bohol clash rises to five ASG men, three gov’t troopers

MANILA--- Five Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits and three government troopers were killed during a clash at Sitio Ilaya, Barangay Napo, Inabanga town, Bohol Tuesday morning.

Also wounded in the 7 a.m. encounter were two troopers, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo.

Also seized were four high-powered firearms, including three M-16 automatic rifles, and one M-14 carbine along with improvised explosive device.

Troops in the area were alerted after residents spotted three suspicious-looking pumpboats entering the riverside in Sitio Ilaya Monday night with its estimated 10 passengers, alighting and occupying three nearby houses.

With this development, military and police units were deployed to secure the area and prevent the ASGs from breaking out.

In the ensuing firefight, three soldiers were killed along with five of the bandits. Fighting is still ongoing as of this posting, Arevalo said.

He added that the Bohol incident highlighted the importance of coordination and cooperation between civilians and military authorities in breaking down possible terrorists plots.

Tuesday's clash in Bohol with suspected ASG elements took place shortly after the US Embassy in Manila issued a travel advisory to its nationals cautioning them from visiting the Central Visayas, Cebu and Bohol.

Arevalo said they were now ascertaining on whether this incident had any connection with the US travel advisory.

Source: Philippines News Agency