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ARMED with high-power assault rifles, more than a hundred militia men believed to be members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) swooped down and took over the public market in the town of Datu Paglas in Maguindanao.

According to authorities, the group, which has links with the Islamic State, stormed the Datu Paglas town center and opened fire early Saturday morning, causing local folk to panic and flee their homes. It was not certain whether the militia men were holding hostages.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through its 6th Infantry Division spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Baldomar confirmed the incident in progress.

In a radio news feed, AFP men and local cops have reportedly surrounded the area.

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