Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08MANILA1030.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA1030
2008-04-30 11:01
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1850
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1030/01 1211101
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301101Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0535
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 001030

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2018
TAGS: MARR MCAP PREL PTER RP MASS
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE MILITARY CONDUCTS STRIKE AGAINST TERRORIST CAMP

REF: MANILA 919

Classified By: Amb. Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In the early morning hours of April 30, the
Armed Forces of the Philippines launched an artillery strike
against a terrorist redoubt on the island of Jolo and
followed up with a ground assault. Information on the
success of the operation against the terrorist groups Abu
Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah is still trickling in from the
camp, located in difficult jungle terrain on the mountainous
island. The Armed Forces Chief of Staff told the Ambassador
he was pleased with the operation and initial reports from
troops on the scene were very positive. The officer in
charge of the attack, Marine Brigadier General Juancho
Sabban, characterized the operation as “intelligence-driven”
and dismissed the possibility of collateral damage, stressing
the isolated nature of the camp, away from any population
center. While media reported allegations that a nearby Moro
National Liberation Front (MNLF) camp had been shelled, the
Philippine military said the camp was untouched and
emphasized the operation was not against the MNLF, which
signed a peace deal in 1996. The operation came just two
months after Sabban took command of joint military forces on
Jolo island as part of a shift in Philippine troops in the
Sulu Archipelago, in which the Philippine Navy and Marines
now have primary responsibility for the area and are
combining soft and hard power to counter terrorist influence
(reftel). Post will continue to monitor the results of the
strike. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) Approximately 300 Philippine Marines and soldiers
conducted a combined artillery and ground assault against
significant terrorist figures from the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah
Islamiyah groups in a camp on Jolo island just after midnight
on April 30. The attack against the camp lasted seven hours
and was significant because previous assaults on the
location, most recently on January 29, had failed due to
difficult terrain and an early warning network of informants
based around the camp. Located high on the slope of a
mountain only eight kilometers from Jolo City, for almost two
years the camp had been a refuge for several of the top Abu
Sayyaf leaders, such as Abdullah Sahiron, and key Jemaah
Islamiyah terrorists operating in the Philippines, including
Bali bomber Umar Patek. In addition to the terrorist
leadership, scores of their security personnel frequented the
camp, suspected of being the site of a bomb-making facility.

¶3. (C) Definitive results of the strike are as yet unknown,
but Philippine forces are canvassing the area to assess
terrorist casualties and damage to the camp’s infrastructure.
Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon
told the Ambassador that he was pleased with the operation
and that initial reports were positive. Post will continue
to monitor and report on the investigation and events
surrounding the strike.

¶4. (C) In a press release, Marine Brigadier General Sabban
stated the offensive was aimed at “apprehending,
neutralizing, and bringing to justice the remaining leaders
and members of the Abu Sayyaf, as well as the Jemaah
Islamiyah bombers, who forged alliances with the former in
the name of terrorism and violence.” Sabban stressed that
the initial strike and follow up pursuit operations against
Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah members were being carried
out with complete regard for the safety of innocent civilians
and their property, but were necessary as “they were planning
something big because of the unusual convergence of their
leaders. This was a preemptive strike.”

¶5. (C) Philippine forces have been careful to communicate
that the operation was against terrorist targets, not the
MNLF. According to Sabban, MNLF fighters in the area engaged
Philippine troops with small arms and mortar fire when the
operation commenced, but stopped when informed by the
military that the assault was against Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah
Islamiyah elements. Sabban underscored the cooperation his
troops enjoy with the MNLF in the area and that the military
respects and strictly adheres to the provisions of the peace
agreement between the Philippine government and the MNLF.

¶6. (C) As Philippine troops continue to press the fight
against terrorist groups on Jolo island, Sabban emphasized

MANILA 00001030 002 OF 002

that the target groups cannot be given the chance to regroup
and direct further attacks against the local population.
“Swift and decisive military movement is necessary,” he said.
At the same time, under Sabban’s leadership, Philippine
military personnel are supporting infrastructure development
and implementing humanitarian assistance programs on the
island to pave the path for future peace and stability.

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

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.