KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/24 September) – Fourteen persons who were reportedly abducted Monday by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a remote village of Midsayap, North Cotabato were released early morning of Tuesday, an official said.
Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza said the hostages, nine teachers and five barangay officials, were released following negotiations led by Provincial Board Member Kellie Antao.
The victims underwent a debriefing and medical checkup in a government hospital in Midsayap.
They were abducted in Barangay Malingao on Monday when BIFF rebels launched simultaneous attacks on military outposts in Malingao, Polonguguen and Rangaban.
The teachers were identified as Dioden Camiros, Annamrie Corpus,Josefina Galvez, Hydie Marcelo, Pairosa Mohaiden, Lily Postrado,Geraldine Yunting and Tuday Zainal.
The barangay officials were identified as council members Norodin Delangalen, Payag Bulongan, Abdulkareem Duman and Inggi Abdul and barangay secretary Tex Managsa.
The BIFF rebels had earlier held 19 persons, mostly elementary school teachers, the military said.
Five of them were released Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the number of families displaced by the clashes between government troops and BIFF rebels rose to 2,000 on Tuesday morning.
In a text message, Capt. Antonio Bulao, spokesperson of the 602nd Infantry Brigade said 11 rebels were killed and three others were wounded as clearing operations continued.
Three government soldiers were killed and one was wounded, Bulao said
Police said at least 100 rebels launched the attacks in different villages.
Jessie Enid, executive assistant to the governor, said the evacuees from five villages are now staying at the evacuation centers in nearby villages and the town proper.
Enid said most of the displaced villagers were from barangays Malingao and Polongugen.
He added that two civilians were killed in the crossfire. (Keith Bacongco and Karl Ballentes/MindaNews)