Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/08/05MANILA3963.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA3963 2005-08-28 08:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 003963

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, S/CT, EAP/PMBS, INR/EAP, CA/OCS/ACS
NSC FOR GREEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2015
TAGS: PTER PINS PREL PGOV CASC ASEC RP
SUBJECT: APPROXIMATELY 30 INJURED IN BASILAN FERRY BLAST

REF: A. MANILA – OPS CENTER 08-28-05 TELECON

¶B. MANILA 3708

Classified By: Political Officer Joseph Saus
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. An apparent improvised explosive device
(IED) exploded on a ferry docked in Lamitan Town, Basilan
Province, at approximately 7:00 a.m. August 28. The blast
injured about 30 people, although no deaths were reported.
The low-tech nature of the device and lack of shrapnel
evidence indicates possible extortion motives against the
ferry company. The terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is a
likely suspect, but GRP security authorities are continuing
their investigation, with no official conclusions or claims
of responsibility as of August 29. Consular has checked and
no AMCITs apparently were injured in the incident. End
Summary.

Estimated 30 Hurt, No Conclusions Yet
————————————-

¶2. (SBU) According to reports, an estimated 30 persons were
injured in an explosion on board the M/V Dona Ramona
passenger ferry while docked at a wharf in Lamitan Town,
Basilan Province, 600 miles south of metro Manila. BGen
Raymundo Ferrer, the Basilan-headquartered Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) brigade commander, told the press that
the post-blast investigation revealed black powder. A
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman added separately
that investigators found traces of ammonium nitrate. AFP
officials discount that the explosion was caused by a cooking
gas tank, although Lamitan Mayor Roderick Furigay (perhaps to
downplay self-servingly the terrorism angle) told the press
that blast fishing materials were stored adjacent to the
canteen. Casualty estimates from the blast range from 23-30
injured, but no deaths. Some of the injured included
children.

Investigation Ongoing
———————

¶3. (C) The ferry operator, Basilan Lines Inc., is not
commenting on the incident, although this marks the third
attack against Basilan Lines personnel and property.
According to PNP Colonel Bayani Gusela, the chief of the
post-blast investigation, the injured suffered from flash
burns and the detonator was a simple improvised wick,
possibly using a mosquito coil. Police and military
officials believe the ASG may be involved, but as of August
29 there are no official findings or claims of
responsibility.

No AMCITs Injured
—————–

¶4. (U) According to CONS sources, no AMCITs were injured in
the incident.

Comment
——-

¶5. (C) Although no one has claimed responsibility, the
incident has the hallmarks of the ASG, which maintains a
diminished presence in Basilan and may be diverting attention
from ongoing anti-ASG military operations (ref B). The
extortion theory is also highly plausible given the history
of threats and attacks against the company. Charge visited
the Lamitan wharf to inaugurate a USAID-funded
roll-on/roll-off dock on August 23. There is no indication,
however, that there is a link between the Charge’s visit and
the bomb attack.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

JOHNSON

   

 

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