Police officers investigate at the site of an explosion outside a shopping mall in Cotabato City on the southern island of Mindanao on December 31, 2018. Image Credit: AFP

COTABATO, Philippines: A Philippine general says at least two people were killed and 21 others wounded when a bomb believed to be detonated remotely by suspected Muslim militants exploded near the entrance of a mall in the country's south.

Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana says the bomb went off Monday near the entrance of the South Seas mall in Cotabato city as people made last-minute preparations ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations. Authorities recovered another unexploded bomb nearby.

Sobejana said by phone that an initial investigation showed the design of the bomb was similar to those used in the past by local Muslim militants who have pledged allegiance to Daesh.