Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/07/06MANILA2833.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA2833 2006-07-06 09:38 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0216
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2833/01 1870938
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 060938Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1883
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002833

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2016
TAGS: MOPS PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: MAGUINDANAO CLASHES UNLIKELY TO UPSET PEACE PROCESS

REF: A. MANILA 2013
¶B. MANILA 0740

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary. Armed clashes erupted between GRP security
forces and elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) on June 28 when police officials attempted to serve
arrest warrants on two MILF commanders related to a June 23
bombing in Shariff Aguak that left seven dead. While members
of the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) and
GRP Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities
(CCCH) are determined to mediate an end to the conflict,
tensions remain high and sporadic fighting continues, leaving
hundreds or perhaps thousands displaced from their homes.
This latest outbreak of hostilities in the long standing rido
(feud) between the powerful Ampatuan clan and individual MILF
commanders is unlikely to derail the peace process, but is a
tragic reminder of the difficulties of achieving true peace
in Mindanao. End Summary.

—————
Fighting Erupts
—————

¶2. (U) During the morning of June 28, shooting began in the
Mamasapano area of Maguindanao Province when Philippine
National Police officers attempted to serve arrest warrants
on MILF Commanders Said Pakiladatu and Ameril Ombrah Kato for
alleged involvement in a June 23 bombing apparently aimed at
assassinating Maguindanao Provincial Governor Andal “Andy”
Ampatuan. According to the Philippine Bomb Data Center
(PBDC), an improvised explosive device (IED) hidden in a
multi-cab detonated at about 7:05 a.m., destroying the fourth
of eight vehicles in Ampatuan’s convoy. The blast wounded
seven and killed seven others, including Governor Ampatuan’s
nephew Kamlon Ampatuan, Congressman Simeon Datumanong’s
nephew Kahelo Datumanong (a grand nephew of Governor
Ampatuan), and local politician Edzrapel Mangansakan.
Governor Ampatuan was unharmed; he has also survived three
prior ambushes, although his son Saudi (ref b) and other
relatives have not been so lucky.

¶3. (U) The Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) and Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) used mortars and howitzers to
shell positions held by Pakiladatu and Kato. Fighting spread
within Shariff Aguak, Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, and Datu Saudi
Ampatuan on June 29, displacing hundreds of families.
Tensions remain high and sporadic armed clashes continue as
of July 6.

———————–
Trying To Restore Peace
———————–

¶4. (C) According to Executive Director of the GRP Peace
Negotiations Panel Secretariat Ryan Sullivan, members of the
Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) and GRP
Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities
(CCCH) attempted to mediate a cease fire on June 28, but were
unable to enter the conflict affected area due to security
concerns over continued fighting between the MILF and
CVO/Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) forces
loyal to Governor Ampatuan. Consequently, the IMT
established a monitoring outpost and temporary holding area
for displaced persons at Guindolongan on the periphery of the
conflict. AFP Chief of Staff Generoso Senga also traveled to
Maguindanao on June 30 to help the IMT and CCCH diffuse the
conflict, without success.

¶5. (C) Sullivan said that the CCCH had recommended the
establishment and enforcement of a “no firearms zone” within
the four municipalities of Maguindanao affected by the
fighting, along with the withdrawal of CVO members from these
areas. AFP Chief of Staff Senga met with his senior
commanders on July 3 to discuss these recommendations, which
Governor Ampatuan and the MILF commanders would also have to
accept. While lines of communication remain open among the
IMT, CCCH, and MILF, Governor Ampatuan has for now stopped
communicating directly with IMT and CCCH members. All
inquiries/contacts are handled by the Governor’s
Administrative Assistant, who is unauthorized to make any
decisions, according to Sullivan.

¶6. (C) GRP-MILF Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) Chairman
Ben D. Dolorfino has separately been holding discussions with
the MILF since June 24 regarding a proposal for AHJAG to
conduct an investigation and validation of intelligence
regarding the June 23 bombing. MILF Secretariat Chairman

MANILA 00002833 002 OF 002

Muhammad Ameen stated on July 3 that the MILF was willing to
cooperate with the GRP on such a joint investigation. Ameen
also commented that the MILF did not consider Governor
Ampatuan an enemy. However, MILF Peace Panel Technical
Adviser Musib Buat expressed concern to poloff that factions
within the AFP appeared determined to wage war on Muslims in
Mindanao for budgetary, career advancement, political, and/or
other agendas. Buat commented that if AFP support to
Ampatuan’s “private army” were severed, Ampatuan’s power in
Maguindanao Province would rapidly dissipate.

¶7. (SBU) On July 6, Office of the Presidential Adviser on
the Peace Process Jesus Dureza traveled to Maguindanao to
assess the situation on-the-ground.

——————————–
Comment: Peace Process Continues
——————————–

¶8. (C) Officials from the GRP and MILF continue to insist
that they remain committed to the peace process and do not
intend to let the latest skirmishing derail ongoing
negotiations. The prevalence of violence in the weapons-rich
and rido-driven Mindanao will nonetheless make the
achievement of genuine peace difficult, even after the latest
violence subsides and in the wake of any eventual GRP-MILF
peace accord. All parties seem to recognize that cutting off
peace talks and disbanding the IMT and/or AHJAG would only
lead to more conflict and bloodshed, a tribute in particular
to how far these young institutions have already come to
having a positive — if not yet powerful — impact on the
political and military landscape.

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/

Kenney

   

 

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