At least ten people were killed on Tuesday after joint police and military forces engaged suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf group in the town of Inabanga, Bohol.
There were four government operatives killed during the armed encounter including three soldiers and a policeman. Meanwhile, six individuals from the side of the Abu Sayyaf were also killed, CNN Philippines reports.
Among those who died is Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Muamar Askali, alias Abu Rami.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) described him as the potential next leader of the notorious terrorist group.
This is why AFP Chief-of-Staff General Eduardo Año said they consider the successful operation as a major blow to the Abu Sayyaf. He also credited the operation to the locals of the area, who reported the suspicious activities of armed men with several boats.
The group Rami was leading is believed to be plotting a hostage attempt against local and foreign tourists in Bohol so they could continue funding their dwindling terrorist organization.
Rami was tagged in various lawless activities of the Abu Sayyaf, including the kidnapping of three foreigners and a Filipina on Samal Island back in September 2015. Two of the foreigners, who were both Canadian, were beheaded, while the others were set free.
The clash came after the US Embassy warned its citizens of a possible terrorist threat in central Visayas this week.
But the situation there has been declared as going back to normal, although authorities are still conducting manhunt operations against the five others who were able to flee.
Earlier, the AFP stated that it was confident it can decimate the Abu Sayyaf threat by June this year.
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