Government soldiers search a house for Maute group insurgents, while conducting a security inspection in Marawi City, Philippines June 17, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
MANILA - 21 June 2017: Pro-Islamic State militants stormed a town and occupied a school in the southern Philippines early on Wednesday, a police officer said, on the same island where fighting between government troops and Islamist militants has entered its fifth week.
Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were engaged in a gun battle with the military, Chief Inspector Realan Mamon, the police chief of Pigcawayan town, said in a radio interview. The town is in North Cotabato province in the centre of Mindanao island.
Pigcawayan is 190 km (120 miles) south of Marawi City, where BIFF militants, along with fighters from other groups allied to the Islamic State group, have been holed up and fighting the Philippines military for more than a month.