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2 killed as gunmen seize Philippine bus, then flee

Unidentified gunmen seized a passenger bus and several other vehicles in the southern Philippines on Monday, and two people were killed before the gunmen escaped, authorities said.

The bus was traveling between Cotabatao City and Davao on the southern island of Mindanao at about 6:30 a.m. when gunmen fired on it and took about 40 passengers hostage, said Farida Malingco, mayor of the town of Pikit.

Army Col. Carduzo Luna said a soldier in civilian clothes was shot in the head. The soldier could have been a bus passenger, Luna said.

About two hours into the siege, the gunmen fled as security forces approached the bus, Malingco said.

A progovernment militiaman was killed and five villagers were wounded as troops chased the attackers, a local radio reporter said. The attackers were not captured immediately.

Malingco said the rest of the hostages were unharmed.

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