Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/01/09MANILA46.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA46
2009-01-08 07:32
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1943
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0046/01 0080732
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 080732Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2811
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000046

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/2019
TAGS: MARR MCAP PREL PTER RP MASS
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE AUTHORITIES CAPTURE KEY TERRORIST IN MINDANAO

REF: A. 2008 MANILA 2677 – PHILIPPINE OPERATIONS IN
SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES PRODUCING RESULTS
¶B. 2005 MANILA 727 – ASG
¶C. JI SUSPECTS IN VALENTINE’S DAY BOMBINGS

Classified By: CDA Paul W. Jones, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Philippine authorities conducted a joint
operation on January 7 that resulted in the capture of a
Jemaah Islamiyah facilitator wanted for murder in the 2005
Valentine’s Day bombing in Davao and suspected of planning
numerous other bombings, assassinations, and extortion
activities. Elements of Philippine security forces and
intelligence agencies apprehended Omar Venancio, a close
associate of Bali bomber Umar Patek, near the city of
Cotabato in central Mindanao after a weeklong buildup that
highlighted the increasing ability of Philippine institutions
to work together in counterterrorism efforts. U.S. personnel
provided intelligence and planning assistance for the
operation, a role which should remain confidential.
Philippine authorities have not yet made the capture public,
as they conduct interrogations for leads on other significant
terrorists. This operation occurred after a series of
bombings and attacks by insurgents and criminal groups
against government and civilian targets December 18 – January
5 in the southern Philippines. Philippine forces continue to
press the fight against rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front
forces in Mindanao, while maintaining operations against Abu
Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah members in Mindanao and the
Sulu Archipelago. END SUMMARY.

——————————————— —-
JOINT OPERATION SCORES HIT AGAINST KEY TERRORISTS
——————————————— —-

¶2. (C) In a strong display of effective joint operations,
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine
intelligence agencies planned and executed an operation on
January 7 that resulted in the arrest of prominent Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) facilitator Omar Venancio. The operation was
conducted after more than a week of planning and
reconnaissance in central of Mindanao and included elements
of the U.S-trained and equipped Joint Special Operations
Group Light Reaction Company. Acting on information
regarding Venancio’s whereabouts, the AFP mobilized forces
and coordinated intelligence with Philippine intelligence
agencies to locate and capture Venancio.
¶3. (C) Omar Venancio and his brother, Ansar, are suspected
of masterminding the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombing of a bus
station in Davao City that killed five persons; the
Philippine government has issued warrants for their arrest
(ref B). Long affiliated with the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front-Special Operations Group, the Venancios have assisted
the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Philippine-based elements of
JI — both U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations —
with operational planning and logistics for terrorist attacks.

¶4. (C) The Philippine military has been targeting the
Venancios since 2005, and the brothers have escaped several
military and police raids over the last four years. The
Philippine government has offered a five million peso reward
(approximately USD 110,000) for the arrest or capture of each
of the brothers. The January 7 operation, quietly supported
by U.S. personnel, illustrates the improved ability of the
Philippine government to utilize multiple tools in the fight
against transnational terrorists and comes on the heels of
other successes, including the capture of Indonesian JI
member Hajiruddin Dansalan November 2 and an AFP offensive
against ASG forces on Jolo and Basilan December 7 that killed
an estimated 50 terrorists (ref A).

——————————————— ———
SPATE OF HOLIDAY ATTACKS POINT TO CONTINUED CHALLENGES
——————————————— ———

¶5. (C) The success by Philippine authorities against Omar
Venancio capped a violent two-week period that began December
18 with twin bombings in Iligan, a city in northern Mindanao,
at commercial establishments, killing two and wounding 55
others. Through January 5, a series of bombings and attacks
by rogue MILF commands, ASG fighters, and criminal groups
against civilian and military targets left four dead and 129
injured throughout Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. In six

MANILA 00000046 002 OF 002

other incidents, prompt and effective action by Philippine
military and police rendered multiple improvised explosive
devices safe, thereby preventing additional casualties.
Philippine and U.S. analysts believe insurgents and criminals
may have taken advantage of a reduced Philippine security
posture during the holidays to carry out a combination of
terrorist attacks and extortion activities.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶6. (C) The up-tick in violence by terrorists and insurgents
during the last half of December juxtaposed with the blow
Philippine authorities delivered in apprehending Omar
Venancio emphasizes the complexity of the security situation
in the southern Philippines. On one hand, Philippine
authorities increasingly are able to integrate operations to
effect coordinated strikes against terrorist groups, as has
occurred on several occasions during the last two years. At
the same time, the December attacks highlight the complex and
deadly societal mix prevalent in Mindanao — clan rivalry,
known terrorists, and opportunists pressing for an advantage
in the uncertain environment following the breakdown of the
peace negotiations in August 2008. The interwoven
affiliations between the various different ethnic and
political elements are a major challenge for the Philippine
government in its efforts to provide security while renewing
negotiation of a political settlement that satisfies all
parties in the southern Philippines. The Mission continues
to work with the Philippine government through development
and military assistance to address these challenges.

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/
JONES

   

 

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