By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that 31 civilians earlier held hostage by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, were freed by the terrorist group Wednesday night.
Army 6th Infantry Division spokesman Captain Arvin Encinas said that the 31 hostages were reportedly released at about 6 p.m. or about 12 hours after being taken by the heavily armed men.
The BIFF members then escaped towards a still unknown direction.
“Nung padilim na at around 6 o’ clock habang gumagapang papalapit yung ating tropa, tumakas sila, leaving behind itong civilians na ginawa nilang hostages ,” Encinas said.
Army Captain Nap Alcarioto, spokesman of the Army’s 602nd Brigade, said that based on reports, there are no more BIFF members in the area.
He said what the ground forces are doing now is the retrieval of some civilians still hiding after being trapped as a result of the firefight.