Officials say two Chinese iron ore traders have been abducted in the restive southern Philippines.

Military spokesman Capt. Albert Caber says six gunmen snatched the traders from their house in Kabasalan township late Monday. The getaway vehicle was later found burned in a nearby village. No ransom demand has been received so far.

Caber said Tuesday that the kidnappers are believed to be led by a rebel Muslim commander who turned to banditry.

The Chinese have been staying in the area for more than a year.

Several kidnappings in the Philippines' volatile south have been blamed on bandits and al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants. Abu Sayyaf militants are believed to be holding an Australian snatched in December.