What to know about the deadly shooting in the Philippines

More than a dozen people were killed in a Philippine town after a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in the middle of the night, police said.

The death toll was unclear on Saturday.

The gunman, identified by local media as “Loktar,” opened fire in the town of Batangas on Saturday night, killing two civilians and wounding nine others, police spokesman Captain Angelo Arsenio said.

A witness told The Associated Press that the gunman opened fired from his home in Batangos.

“It was around midnight and he opened fire,” he said.

“He came and shot us in the head.

The bullets were in our chest and stomach.

The person who was wounded was lying in a pool of blood.”

Authorities are still searching for a motive.

The police chief of Batangan province, Eduardo Sanchez, told local media that the shooter “was not from Batangays family, and he was not from the village of Batanes.”

The AP has not been able to independently verify the information Sanchez provided.

The shooting comes amid a spike in violence in the southern Philippines, where a wave of gun battles between armed separatists and the government has killed at least 13 people since April and has displaced hundreds.

The separatists have been fighting the Philippine government since 1986.

In May, at least seven people were reported killed in the area by the Philippine military. More: