Muslim guerrillas on Christmas killed 10 civilians in the Catholic-majority country of the Phillipines. According to military officials, Christians in the affected area are now too scared to sleep in their homes.

Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) shot dead nine farmers on 24 December in a southern island, Ricky Bunayog, commander of local battalion, told AFP.

According to reports, the same group launched a separate attack on a village in Pigcawayan town, 900 km south of capital city Manila. A district official died in the attack.

Some bodies are yet to be recovered. Mindanao town is a Christian majority town, but Muslims claim the town to be their ancestral homeland, AFP reported.

Colonel Bunayog further added: "Since Saturday it has been quiet. But the damage has been done. People on the outskirts are scared, and at night, they move to the centre of the town, they sleep in the local gymnasium. I tell them we have enough security forces but they are too scared."

The Colonel was quoted by AFP as saying that although BIFF group members continue to meet in large numbers, their motive to attack Christian communities cannot be determined.

According to reports, a BIFF spokesman had earlier confirmed that their group was behind the raids, but he had said it was over an unspecified land dispute.

Last year, BIFF had uploaded clips on YouTube which showed one of their leaders pledging support to the jihadist group Islamic State.

The group continues to seek a separate Isis as it remains opposed to any of the government's peace efforts between BIFF and opposition group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), AFP reported.