MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine official says suspected bandits have seized about 75 hostages, including elementary school students and teachers, from a southern village.

Vice Gov. Santiago Cane Jr. of Agusan del Sur province says 19 gunmen entered the isolated hamlet of San Martin on Thursday, a day after authorities chased them away from a nearby village.

He says police are pursuing the gunmen, who appear to be using the hostages as human shields to escape.

Local officials are attempting to negotiate the hostages' release.

Last month, 57 people in an election convoy were massacred in southern Maguindanao province, which has been placed under martial law.