Philippine officials say Abu Sayyaf militant gunmen have killed at least nine people and wounded 16 others in a dawn attack in a remote village in the country's restive south.

Military officials say about 20 Abu Sayyaf gunmen opened fire on villagers and burned five houses and a village hall in the attack early Monday in Tubigan village in Maluso town on Basilan island. The attackers fled and were being pursued by troops.

Military commander Col. Juvymax Uy said the militants may have staged the attack to retaliate against communities they think were not supportive of them following a series of battle setbacks.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for ransom kidnappings, beheadings, bombings and other violence.