File photo // Filipino soldiers man a military armoured personnel carrier on a street following President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of Martial law in Cotabato City, Mindanao Island, southern Philippines, 24 May 2017. // EPA Photo
Kidapawan City - Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked a government militia detachment in Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato province early Wednesday morning and took five residents hostage as they fled, an Army official said.
Capt. Arvin Encinas, spokesperson for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said BIFF men raided a detachment in Barangay (village) Malagakit in Pigcawayan at 5 a.m. but government troops were able to repulse them.“But as they (BIFF men) were escaping, they took some civilians hostage and [used them as] human shields,” he said.
Encinas said their reports indicated that the gunmen were holding five residents.
“But we could not determine so far if there were students and teachers [among the hostages],” he said.
Abu Misri Mama, BIFF spokesperson, confirmed to the Inquirer that the group was behind the attack.
Chief Insp. Realan Mamon, Pigcawayan police chief, said the group was led by one “Commander Agila.”
He said the local police, as of 9 a.m., had yet to receive reports on the number of casualties.
The village of Malagakit is 8 kilometers away from the town center of Pigcawayan.