MANILA, Philippines – The military said it rescued early evening on Wednesday, June 21, up to 31 residents of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato who were taken hostage by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) that morning day. (READ: BIFF attacks North Cotabato villages, holds civilians hostage)
Among them were 12 children, according to military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla. They were rescued past 6 pm or about 12 hours since the bandit group separately attacked a Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) outpost and a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment before 6 am on Wednesday.
"They (BIFF) withdrew under the cover of darkness. It allowed the rescue of the hostages... They're all safe," said Padilla.
He added that the residents reported at least 4 BIFF fighters were killed in the clashes with the military. Two CAFGUs were wounded in the attack on their detachment in the morning, according to Padilla.
The residents were taken by the BIFF on their way to a school in Barangay Malagakit where they holed up.
The military surrounded the school and sporadic firefights erupted but Padilla said they had to be careful because of the civilians.
The school has been cordoned off to clear the area of improvised explosive devices, added Padilla. – Rappler.com