2017 Bohol clashes

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2017 Bohol clashes
Part of the Moro conflict
Pump boats used by Abu Sayyaf in 2017 Bohol attack.jpg
Pump boats used by Abu Sayyaf in the Bohol attack
Date 11 April 2017 (initial clash)
22 April 2017 (subsequent clashes)
15 May 2017 (final clash)
Coordinates: 10°01′53″N 124°04′03″E / 10.0314°N 124.0674°E / 10.0314; 124.0674
Status Philippine victory; planned kidnapping of foreign tourists foiled

Philippines Philippines

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Commanders and leaders
Philippines Rodrigo Duterte
Oscar T. Lactao
Philippine National Police seal.svg Noli G. Taliño
Muammar Askali 
Abu Rami
Joselito Melloria 
Abu Alih
Units involved
Philippine Army
Philippine Navy
Philippine Air Force
Philippine National Police seal.svg Philippine National Police
Marakat Ansar Battalion (ASG)
1,000+ 11 militants
Casualties and losses
4 killed
2 wounded
11 killed
2 civilians killed, 425–700 individuals evacuated; more than a thousand displaced.[1]

The 2017 Bohol clashes were armed conflicts that took place in April and May 2017 between Philippine security forces and Moro ISIL-affiliated militants led by members of the Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga, Bohol, Philippines. Three Philippine Army soldiers, a policeman, four terrorists and two civilians were killed during the initial firefight. Subsequent firefights between the remaining militants and security forces resulted in the deaths of all the Abu Sayyaf insurgents. A ranking officer of the Philippine National Police linked to Abu Sayyaf attempted to rescue some of the insurgents but was arrested.

The clashes marked the first recorded operation of the Abu Sayyaf group in the Visayas region of the Philippines, far from their strongholds in the Sulu Archipelago.[2]


Five days before the initial incident, the Armed Forces of the Philippines had detected the departure of a group of Abu Sayyaf from Indanan, Sulu bound for the Central Visayas. On 9 April 2017, the US Embassy in Manila issued a travel warning based on "credible" reports of kidnapping threats. A day before the first firefight, the AFP received reports of the presence of eleven armed men in three pump boats entering the Inabanga River in Bohol.[3]

The initial clash

A firefight between a joint Philippine Army and police force and the Abu Sayyaf began at approximately 5:00 in the morning of 11 April 2017 in Barangay Napo in the town of Inabanga. A Philippine Air Force plane conducted airstrikes against the Abu Sayyaf,[4] while a Philippine Navy gunboat was deployed to block possible escape routes by sea.[2] Three Philippine Army troopers, a policeman, two civilians and four Abu Sayyaf members were killed in the clash. Reports indicated that three extremist groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL participated in the Bohol attack: a hard-line Abu Sayyaf faction known as the Marakat Ansar Battalion (called the Marakah al Ansar Battalion by another source),[5] the Maute group and Ansar Khalifa Philippines.[6]


A day after the firefight, the body of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Maumar Askali, also known as Abu Rami, was recovered from the scene of the clash.[7] Askali was implicated in the beheading of two Canadian hostages, John Ridsdel and Robert Hall in 2016, and German tourist Jürgen Kantner in February 2017.[6] On 13 April, two days after the clash, another Abu Sayyaf fatality was recovered by security forces after being buried by his companions in Barangay Lonoy Cainsican in Inabanga.[8]

Two civilians killed in the firefight were initially tagged as Abu Sayyaf casualties. Government troops recovered M16 and M4 rifles, and bomb-making paraphernalia from the scene of the clash.[9] The Armed Forces of the Philippines and civil authorities declared Bohol "cleared" a day after the firefight.[10]

Subsequent clashes

On 22 April 2017, four more Abu Sayyaf militants were killed during firefights in Bohol, including sub-leader and guide Joselito Melloria, also known as Abu Alih.[11] Two weeks later, the AFP announced the arrest of Abu Saad, one of the three remaining Abu Sayyaf members who had evaded capture.[12] A day later, Abu Saad was reported killed after attempting to escape while in police custody.[13] The last two militants were finally located after they took a local resident hostage and were killed in a firefight against security forces on 15 May 2017.[14]

On the evening of 22 April 2017, Police Supt. Maria Christina Nobleza, the deputy regional chief of the crime laboratory in the Davao Region, and her alleged lover, Reenor Lou Dungon, were arrested in a military checkpoint in Barangay Bacani, Clarin, Bohol. The two, authorities stated, were planning to rescue the remaining Abu Sayyaf members who were being hunted down by government troops. Dungon is said to be the brother-in-law of slain Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Solaiman.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Escalante, Shirley. "Terrorists killed in Philippines gun battle as security steps up amid ASEAN trade talks". ABC News. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b Laude, Jaime (12 April 2017). "Troops thwart Abus in Bohol; 9 killed". Philippine Star. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Timeline: Abu Sayyaf in Bohol". ABS-CBN News. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  4. ^ Bongcac, Doris C. (12 April 2017). "Airstrikes pummel Abu Sayyaf in Bohol up to midnight". Inquirer.net. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  5. ^ Weiss, Caleb. "Abu Sayyaf Group battalion defects to Islamic State". Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b Gomez, Jim (15 April 2017). "Philippines: Foiled attack staged by IS-linked extremists". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  7. ^ Lagunda, Kevin A. (12 April 2017). "Abu Sayyaf sub-leader killed in Bohol clash". SunStar Cebu. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Body 'buried' by Abu Sayyaf found in Inabanga, Bohol". SunStar Cebu. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  9. ^ Udtohan, Leo (13 April 2017). "2 bodies recovered after Bohol clash not Abu Sayyaf members—villagers". Inquirer.net. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  10. ^ Punzalan, Jamaine (12 April 2017). "Bohol 'back to normal' after Abu Sayyaf attack - officials". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Philippines: Abu Sayyaf guide, three others dead in latest Bohol battle". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Suspected Abu Sayyaf member arrested in Bohol". ABS-CBN News. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  13. ^ Parco, Bernadette (5 May 2017). "Abu Sayyaf member in Bohol, killed after escape try". GMA News. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  14. ^ Udtohan, Leo (15 May 2017). "2 Abu Sayyaf stragglers who took hostage killed in Bohol – police". Inquirer.net. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  15. ^ Leo Udtohan, Nestle Semill (23 April 2017). "Female cop suspected to be helping Abu Sayyaf in Bohol detained". Inquirer. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
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