Army ousts rebels, frees hostages from Is­lamists

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

KIDAPAWAN | Mus­lim rebels fled af­ter free­ing dozens of hostages from a school in a south­ern Philip­pine vil­lage on Wed­nes­day and were be­ing pur­sued by army troops, as a day­long cri­sis eased in the volatile re­gion, of­fi­cials said.

Gun­men from the Bangsamoro Is­lamic Free­dom Fighters pre­pared to at­tack troop and mili­ti­a­men out­posts but were re­pelled by gov­ern­ment forces early Wed­nes­day, prompt­ing them to seize vil­lagers as hu­man shields in Mala­gakit vil­lage in North Cota­bato province, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials said.

At least four rebels were killed and two gov­ern­ment mili­ti­a­men were wounded in the fight­ing, which caused nearly 1,000 vil­lagers in Mala­gakit and two nearby vil­lages to flee to safety, the of­fi­cials said.

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