At least six people died and more than 20 were wounded when a bomb exploded in a restaurant in a southern Philippines city, officials said Saturday.

The homemade explosive device was detonated around midnight Friday as more than 100 diners were enjoying the evening at one of the most popular restaurants in the port city of Cagayan de Oro on Mindanao island.

Among the fatalities was politician Roldan Lagbas, a member of the provincial government, according to Graciano Mijares, police chief of Cagayan de Oro.

Authorities also said that 28 people were wounded and at least two are in critical condition, including several representatives of a pharmaceutical company that was having a company dinner at the restaurant.

Police are investigating the possible causes of the attack, not ruling out that this was a settling of scores or an attack by an Islamist terrorist faction on this island with its Muslim majority in a predominantly Catholic country.

The creation of an Islamic state in the southern Philippines has been the principal goal of several Muslim groups, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF.

Between 100,000 and 150,000 people, at least 20 percent of them civilians, have died in the four decades of separatist conflict in the southern Philippines, which has also paralyzed the development of a region rich in natural resources and has impoverished the population.

The MILF, formally founded in 1984 and which currently has some 12,000 combatants, and the government of President Benigno Aquino, signed a preliminary peace pact last October that is expected to become definitive in 2016. EFE