Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2839.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2839
2007-08-21 10:52
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #2839 2331052
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211052Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7954
INFO RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 002839

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/21/2017
TAGS: MARR MOPS PGOV PINS PTER RP
SUBJECT: ABU SAYYAF TERRORISTS KILLED ON BASILAN

REF: A. MANILA 2733

¶B. MANILA 2732
¶C. MANILA 2714
¶D. MANILA 2688
¶E. MANILA 2629
¶F. MANILA 2575
¶G. MANILA 2503
¶H. MANILA 2474
¶I. MANILA 2428
¶J. MANILA 2369
¶K. MANILA 2358
¶L. MANILA 2344

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Paul W. Jones, for reasons 1.4(b) and
(d)

¶1. (C) Summary: As part of continuing operations to track
down terrorists in Mindanao, Philippine troops attacked and
killed a number of Abu Sayyaf members on Basilan August 18,
including two significant local commanders suspected of
involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in 2001-2.
Philippine forces suffered sizable casualties, raising the
armed forces’ death toll over the past two months to 56.
Meanwhile, scheduled changes to the Philippine military’s
leadership are expected over the next week, but neither the
personnel changes nor the additional casualties should alter
the government’s strategy of aggressively pursuing terrorists
while preserving the peace process with the larger Muslim
insurgent groups. End Summary.

¶2. (C) The Philippine military said its troops killed as
many as 42 insurgents in a surprise early morning attack
August 18 on Abu Sayyaf members in the village of Unkaya
Pukan, Basilan. A Philippine military spokesman said the
attack was undertaken with cooperation from local government
and the Muslim insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF). While actual casualty figures are difficult to
verify, it is clear that the deaths of the two Abu Sayyaf
“sub-leaders” — relatives Furugi and Umair Indama — are a
major setback for the leadership of the terrorist
organization’s Basilan faction. Furugi is suspected of
involvement in several terrorist attacks, including an
October 2002 bombing that killed a U.S. serviceman and the
2001 beheading of U.S. citizen Guillermo Sobero. Umair is
believed to have played a direct role in last month’s
beheading of 10 Marines killed by MILF guerrillas.

¶3. (C) The Philippine military reported 15 troops dead and
seven wounded. The co-pilot of an MG-520 attack helicopter
providing air support to the operation also died in a crash
reportedly caused by mechanical failure. As a result of this
crash, the Philippine Air Force grounded its fleet of 17
MG-520s until the cause of the incident can be investigated.

¶4. (C) In a separate action August 19, Philippine special
operations forces conducted a surprise nighttime raid on a
key safehouse of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists on Jolo island,
capturing ten adults and a variety of weapons. Philippine
officials are currently exploiting this success.

¶5. (U) Separately, the armed forces are undertaking several
important leadership changes in the coming weeks, including a
new Army chief of staff and the head of forces in Western
Mindanao. The new Army chief of staff will be Lieutenant
General (LTG) Alexander Yano, who is well known and highly
regarded by U.S. military officers; he will replace LTG Romeo
Tolentino on August 24. In September, Western Mindanao
Command chief LTG Eugenio Cedo will retire, but his
replacement has not yet been announced. The changes are
required because both officers reached the mandatory
retirement age of 56.

¶6. (C) Comment: While the military operations on Basilan and
Jolo are a substantial setback for the Abu Sayyaf, the loss
of more Philippine troops has cast a pall over continuing
success in tracking terrorists. The growing death toll —
including for the armed forces — has led to some additional
calls from Congressional, church and local Mindanao officials
for the government to end its military offensive, but we do
not expect that or upcoming personnel changes will
substantially affect the government’s determination to fight
the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
JONES

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.