Author Topic: Students, Teachers Kidnapped in Agusan del Sur, Philippines  (Read 1190 times)

Mike Ortega Ligalig

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BBC News: Armed bandits have abducted dozens of students and teachers in the southern Philippines, officials say.

A military spokesman said 65 people had been seized at a school in Agusan del Sur province on Mindanao island.

Police later said 18 hostages - 17 of them children and one teacher - had been freed by the gunmen, who were described as a criminal gang.

A BBC correspondent says there is no sign it is linked to a massacre of 57 people on Mindanao last month.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Bangkok says there is much lawlessness in the southern Philippines.

Thursday's kidnappings took place in an area where communist rebels are known to operate, although it is not thought to be related to that four-decades long insurgency.

Nor are the abductions believed to be linked to a Muslim separatist insurgency elsewhere on Mindanao; those rebels are currently in peace talks with the government.

Army spokesman Maj Michelle Anayron told AFP news agency a "criminal gang" was responsible for the abductions near the town of Prosperidad on Mindanao's eastern coast.

Agusan del Sur Vice-Governor Santiago Cane told AP news agency 19 bandits fleeing the authorities had seized the residents to use as human shields.
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