Gunmen hijack vehicles, shoot 2 hostages MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Unidentified gunmen seized a passenger bus and several other vehicles in the southern Philippines today, 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, near where the incident happened about 575 miles southeast of Manila.

Passengers in three vehicles traveling behind the bus also were taken hostage, said Army Capt. Onting Alon, deputy spokesman of the 6th Infantry Division in the area. He did not know how many people were in those vehicles.

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 pro-government militiaman was killed and five villagers were wounded as troops chased the attackers in Takepan village, about a mile from where the bus was seized, said a local radio reporter at the scene. The attackers were not captured immediately.

Malingco said the rest of the hostages were unharmed.

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