Aquino visits Zamboanga as AFP pursues Abu Sayyaf

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President Benigno Aquino III pays his respects to one of the soldiers killed in the clash, Cpl. Rodelio Bangcairin.

A total of 18 soldiers died in the nearly 10-hour gun battle, which resulted in one of the biggest casualties suffered by government forces in a single day in recent years.

Aquino promised financial aid for each of families of the fallen troopers, including the following:

P250,000 from the Presidential Social Fund

Around P180,000 of renumeration pay

P80,000 for burial expenses

Scholarship program

Also read: 18 soldiers dead, 5 Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Basilan encounter

The military also said they have killed 24 Abu Sayyaf fighters since Saturday.

Aquino, who is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), also checked on the condition of 42 of the 56 injured soldiers confined at the Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City.

President Benigno Aquino III visits wounded soldiers at the Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City on Wednesday (April 13)

He was accompanied by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, AFP chief General Hernando Irriberi, and other high-ranking military officials.

Aside from moral support, Aquino will also give financial help to the wounded soldiers.

AFP continues operations in Tipo-Tipo

Authorities are bent on putting an end to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

The AFP said it is prepared for the possible diversionary tactics of the ASG as authorities continue operations in Tipo-Tipo.

Read: "Who are the Abu Sayyaf?"

Meanwhile, an improvised explosive device (IED) rocked Lamitan City, also in Basilan, on Tuesday evening (April 12), but Western Mindanao Command Spokesman Major Filemon Tan said authorities have yet to receive an official report on the incident.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles reported from Zamboanga City.