Hizballah did this in Lebanon against Israel. Here is one reason why they may feel free to do this.
“Philippines: Muslim rebels use villagers as shields, say officials,” from AFP (thanks to Twostellas):
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AFP) – Muslim insurgents used villagers as shields to evade pursuing Philippine soldiers on Saturday, leaving one dead and five wounded, military officials said.
The gunmen, consisting of members of Abu Sayyaf and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) also suffered a number of casualties as they were seen dragging away their dead and wounded from the site, the officials added.
The fighting in the southern island of Jolo broke out after residents of Kalingalang Caluang town reported the presence of the rebels to the military, regional commander Major General Nelson Allaga said.
When the troops arrived “the rogue rebels and the Abu Sayyaf used the civilians as shields in their retreat”, Allaga added.
One soldier was killed and one soldier and four civilians were wounded in the fighting. The wounded civilians were immediately airlifted to a hospital, said Major General Reuben Rafael, head of a special anti-terror task force.
The gunmen later released their hostages, allowing the military to pursue them with helicopter gunships, said Allaga.