Police say rumour of Abu Sayyaf terror raid on Bohol ‘malicious hoax’

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The false reports that the Islamic State-affiliated Abu Sayyaf terror group were planning an attack on Bohol started with text messages being shared by residents. The hoax is thought to be playing on the memory of the terror group’s raid on the island in April 2017.

Police on Bohol have urged people not to spread a false rumour that the Abu Sayyaf terror group were preparing an attack on the island.

Ricky Remata, of Inabanga police, said yesterday (Friday, January 11) that the warning was a hoax. He stressed that the town and the rest of the province remained clear of any imminent terror threat. 

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The false rumour has also been spreading on social media, causing Inabanga Police Station to be swamped with inquiries from concerned residents and visitors.

The original source of the scare was a text message urging parents to keep their children indoors due to a terror threat. This purported be from the local government of Inabanga.

However, the local authorities have denied that they had anything to do with the text message.

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Writing on its official Facebook page, town chiefs described the information as “malicious” and “fake”.

“Gipasa-pasa na kini sukad pa niadtong 2018 aron lang sa paghatag og kabalaka ug kahadlok sa mga katawhan [It has been passed since 2018 to give people anxiety and fear],” it said in the statement.

The hoax is particularly cruel as Abu Sayyaf did indeed mount a raid on Bohol, sneaking onto the island through Inabanga in April 2017.

After more than a month hiding out on the island, all 10 of the Islamic State-affiliated militants were hunted down and killed in gun battles.

It is believed that they were planning a mass beheading of tourists on Easter Sunday. 

The raid came just two days after the US Embassy in Manila warned that the group was planning an attack in the Central Visayas region. This was widely dismissed as improbable, until it was proved to be accurate.

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