200 Islamist insurgents raid school in North Cotabato; civilians trapped

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UPDATE: Suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) raided a school in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato on Wednesday morning, possibly trapping civilians, according to reports gathered by The Manila Times.

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The school in Barangay (village) Malagkit (Malagasit in some reports) in the town of Pigcawayan, is now the scene of a clash between the armed men and members of the Philippine Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion that started at 5:45 a.m.

A radio report said Pigcawayan police have begun rescue operations for civilians who could have been trapped at the time of the raid.

In a televised interview, Pigcawayan Mayor  Eliseo Garsesa said there were about 200 armed men.

Asked whether the military and local officials were aware of the attack, Garsesa said that there were intelligence reports circulating through text messages Tuesday night that the “armed groups were coming”.

Garsesa said, however, that authorities have been receiving a lot of similar text messages, which needed to be verified.

Garsesa said Pigcawayan was composed of Christian and Muslim residents who lived together in peace.

 

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