Kidapawan City, North Cotabato – A violent clash between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) erupted Thursday night, 23 March 2017.
The NPA guerillas were holding 400 people hostage in the remote village of Camutan in North Cotabato. Superintendent Romeo Galgo of the regional police office for Region 12 said that the firefight erupted at around 7:00 P.M.
Joint forces of the 39th Infantry Battalion, along with the officers of the Philippine National Police of Antipas and North Cotabato headed for the village of Camutan.
Galgo added that around 300 NPA rebels took over the village of Camutan in Antipas at 4:00 A.M. and prevented residents to leave the in what seemed to be an attempt at using them as human shields against government forces pursuing them. Classes were cancelled in the village and relief workers could not reached the trapped families.
Negotiations efforts have been undertaken to negotiate the safe release of the the civilian hostages.