Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/08/05MANILA3708.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA3708 2005-08-11 06:34 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 SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003708

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/PMBS, INR/EAP, S/CT
NSC FOR GREEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2015
TAGS: PGOV PTER ASEC CASC PREL PINS RP
SUBJECT: NO FATALITIES, 26 INJURED IN TWIN ZAMBOANGA BLASTS

REF: A. MANILA 3018

¶B. MANILA 727

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

Summary
——-

¶1. (C) Two explosions rocked central Zamboanga City the
evening of August 10, leaving an estimated 26 injured with no
deaths. There are no claims of responsibility, and local
civilian and security authorities say there are no definite
leads so far in the investigation. Philippine
counterterrorism authorities suspect the bombings are an
attempt by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Jemmah
Islamiyah (JI) to divert military attention away from
operations in central Mindanao in pursuit of ASG and JI
fugitives. In an initial survey of the casualties, there are
no AMCITs among the injured — including US military
personnel in the Zamboanga area. End Summary.

Two Explosions Rock Zamboanga
—————————–

¶2. (SBU) According to a Philippine National Police (PNP)
internal memorandum, a bomb exploded at around 7 p.m. local
time in central Zamboanga in front of a copra buying station.
According to initial Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) assessments, the bomb was place
underneath a parked vehicle. About an hour later, another
bomb exploded in a pension house situated above a restaurant
also in central Zamboanga. According to media reports, three
suspects are in custody in connection to the bombings.

ASG and JI diversion
——————–

¶3. (C) Undersecretary Ricardo Blancafor of the Presidential
Anti Terrorism Task Force (ATTF) told poloff on August 11 he
believes the bombings were carried out by the ASG or the JI
on behalf of the ASG to divert military forces and attention
away from central Mindanao. Currently, the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) is engaged in southwestern Maguindanao
Province in pursuit and interdiction operations against ASG
leader Khadafi Janajalani and several JI operatives linked to
the October 2002 Bali bombing (ref A).

Mayor Bounces Back
——————

¶4. (C) Poloff spoke with Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat
on August 11. Lobregat stressed there are no definite leads,
adding four suspects are in detention and their identities
are currently withheld as police try to expand the
investigation. He noted that police are working the crime
scenes for clues and questioning victims as well for any
information they may have regarding the perpetrators. While
city officials were careful to protect the crime scene,
Lobregat emphasized that the streets were quickly cleaned to
project that the city can bounce back and return to normal,
refusing to be intimidated by terrorism.

No AMCITs Affected
——————

¶5. (SBU) CONS/ACS, upon receiving reports from of the events
from local police and civil defense authorities,
cross-checked the names of the injured in area hospitals with
PIERS records concluding no likely AMCIT matches. JSOTF-P
accounted for all personnel and restricted movements off
military facilities in Zamboanga City.

Comment
——-

¶6. (C) Terrorist bombings are a familiar occurrence in
Zamboanga and Mindanao, and the track record for solving
these crimes is bleak. Although the facts remain unclear,
Blancaflor’s assessment of ASG/JI involvement is highly
probable. The coordinated nature of these explosions and the
diversionary modus operandi draw parallels to the ASG-claimed
February 14 bombings in Manila and Mindanao (ref B). End
Comment.

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