President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III visited the soldiers wounded in a bloody encounter with Abu Sayyaf militants over the weekend.
The President went to Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City, and checked on the condition of the soldiers who are recuperating in a military hospital inside the headquarters of the Western Mindanao Command.
The official Twitter account of the president (@NoynoyAquino) showed a photo of Aquino inside the military hospital. The caption read: “P-Noy visits the soldiers wounded during an Abu Sayyaf encounter, at a hospital in Zamboanga City.”
It has been reported that Aquino will also visit other wounded soldiers brought to the Edwin Andrews Airbase Hospital, apart from meeting the families of the soldiers who were killed in the encounter.
On Saturday, 18 soldiers were killed in an ambush staged by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in a town in Basilan.
In a press briefing on Tuesday at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said that 24 ASG members have already been neutralized in the clashes. One of the bodies retrieved by the military belongs to Moroccan terrorist Mohammad Khattab, a bomb-maker whose links with the Islamic State (IS) is still being validated.
Padilla said that the casualties among the government forces remain at 18, while the six soldiers reported to be “critically wounded” are now in stable condition.
The military is continuing its operations against the terrorist group in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. The AFP is said to have started utilizing “artillery fire in known ASG positions” in the area to weaken threats and to neutralize the terrorists including Furuji Indama, the right-hand man of ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon.