Philippines hostage drama resolved without casualties, military says
Representative image. Philippine national police provide security during a medical outreach event Feb 25, 2010, in Lamitan, Philippines. Source: Wikimedia commons via Army Sgt 1st Class Michael J Carden. Photograph: (Others)
A hostage drama that unfolded at a primary school in the southern Philippines on Wednesday has been resolved, a military spokesman said, and the Islamist militants who had held people captive had withdrawn with no reports of casualties, Reuters reports.
"It's already resolved," Brigadier General Restituto Padilla told reporters. "They've withdrawn, they are no longer there. The school area is again safe."
However, Padilla also said the military was investigating whether five civilians were still being held by the militants. He said no children had been taken hostage.
Earlier, a spokesman for the militant group said they had taken civilians to a safe place after a gunfight erupted with troops and did not intend to hold them.
It was originally reported that 300 militants had stormed a school, and it was unclear whether or not students were taken hostage. Reuters reported in the affirmative, that the group had taken students hostage. The local mayor was ambiguous, but pointed out that the militants attacked the school before classes were scheduled to start.
Civilians were confirmed to be held captive, but not students.
President Duterte declared a state of emergency on Mindanao island last month, as Islamic State-linked fighters were embroiled in a siege on Marawi City, now in its fifth week. The school that was attacked this morning is on the same island as Marawi, is as much as 190 kilometres away.
(With inputs from Reuters)