Sep 152014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA1507 2005-04-01 06:31 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 001507




E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/01/2015

Classified By: Political Officer Daniel Ricci
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (U) In a March 31 press conference at Edwin Andrews Air
Base in the southern Mindanao city of Zamboanga, Philippine
security officials presented to President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo (PGMA) and the media a captured terrorist suspect,
Kuwait-born Fawaz Zaki Ajjur, who had traveled on a
Palestinian passport. GRP officials said that he had trained
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in 2000 and had returned to
the Philippines to coordinate further terror attacks.
President Arroyo congratulated officials for the arrest,
commenting “this is an important blow against terrorism.”

¶2. (U) GRP Immigration officials had initially arrested
Ajjur on March 26 after his arrival without an entry visa at
the Zamboanga airport on a South Phoenix Airways flight from
Sandakan, Malaysia. GRP Immigration had intended to deport
him back to Malaysia immediately as per standard operating
procedures, but had to wait for the next scheduled flight to
leave a few days later. The Bureau of Immigration then
decided to do a background check on Ajjur in coordination
with Philippine National Police (PNP) Western Mindanao
director Police Chief, Director Vidal Querol. Querol
discovered that Ajjur had previously entered the Philippines,
also through Mindanao, sometime in the 1980s. His recent
travel patterns aroused GRP suspicion due his flight from
Kiev, Ukraine to Thailand, followed by a train to Malaysia,
where he shuttled between two regions in Malaysia before
boarding a plane to Zamboanga.

¶3. (C) According to Senior State Prosecutor Leo Dacera, two
captured ASG members who are cooperating with the GRP,s
Witness Protection Program have positively identified Ajjur
as one of the foreign militants who had trained them in
bombmaking near Patikul town on the island of Jolo in the
Sulu Archipelago in 2000. As conspiracy to commit terrorism
is not a crime under Philippine law, Dacera said that Ajjur
will instead be charged with kidnapping charges related to
the 2000 kidnapping of Western tourists from the Malaysian
dive resort of Sipadan Island. Dacera explained that, in
addition to teaching bombmaking, Ajjur had pulled guard duty
watching the Sipadan hostages held in Jolo. Dacera added
that there are no plans at this time to invite the kidnapped
foreigners back to the Philippines to testify in Ajjur,s
case, which he predicted will be concluded within a year.

¶4. (SBU) Comment: While the GRP demonstrated more luck than
skill in this case, this arrest again highlights the need for
a tougher and more comprehensive Anti-Terrorism law and the
streamlining of the criminal court system to provide for
continuous contiguous trials for high-value terrorist
suspects. Embassy is working closely with both
Administration and Congressional figures interested in
pushing this legislation and new court proceedures,
particularly in the wake of the Valentine’s Day bombings and
the March 23 seizure of explosives intended for car bombings
in Metro Manila during Holy Week.

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