The Philippine military says two soldiers have been killed by a homemade bomb believed to have been set off by Abu Sayyaf militants in a restive southern province.

A military spokesman for the region, Ensign Chester Ramos, said the two soldiers were part of a security detail guarding a highway used by troops and civilians in Basilan province on Friday.

Though largely on the run following years of U.S.-backed military offensives, the Abu Sayyaf group remains a threat in Basilan and nearby islands.

At least 15 people, including children and police officers, were wounded in two separate explosions blamed on the Abu Sayyaf near a mosque at a police compound on Jolo Island farther south of Basilan in May.