Philippine military in Marawi city, Mindanao island (Photo: AFP/VNA)
 

Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippine military’s spokesperson Restituto Padilla on June 21 said they had repulsed the attack of an Islamic militant group on a school in Pigcawayan town, North Cotabato province, in the southern Mindanao Island.

Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who carried out the attack, have withdrawn from the school and there were no children held hostage, said the spokesperson.

However, the military was investigating whether five civilians were still with the militants, he added.

Previously, a spokesperson of the BIFF revealed that the militants had taken civilians to a safe place after a battle with the military and did not hold them hostage.

Casualties in the attack have yet to be reported.

Pigcawayan town is 190 kilometre south of Marawi city, where the fighting between the Philippine military and IS-linked militant groups, including BIFF, has entered its fifth week since May 23, claiming 370 lives, including at least 62 soldiers and three policemen.

About 258 militants were killed, including gunmen from Chechnya, Malaysia and Libya, during the fighting but many core leaders of the militants groups have been holing up in Marawi.-VNA