Thousands flee as Philippine troops fight Bangsamoro rebels
PIKIT, Philippines (AFP) - About 2,000 farmers have fled their homes in the southern Philippines after renewed fighting between government forces and renegade Muslim rebels, officials said on Saturday.
Families carrying bags of clothes and cooking implements dragged their water buffalo and cattle into the rural hamlet of Nalapaan on Mindanao island on Saturday as exploding mortar rounds could be heard in the distance.
"We can hear the fighting from here," said Mr Tibungko Abdul, village chief of Nalapaan.
"As of now we feel we are safe here, but if this worsens we may have to leave for the town centre as well," he added, referring to Pikit, the town nearest to Nalapaan and to the villages where the evacuees had come from.