Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/12/08MANILA2677.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA2677
2008-12-09 09:34
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1733
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2677/01 3440934
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 090934Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2627
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 002677

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2018
TAGS: MARR MCAP PREL PTER RP MASS
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE MILITARY OPERATIONS IN SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES PRODUCING RESULTS

REF: MANILA 1999

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Recent successes by the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) in the southern Philippines have
disrupted terrorist networks in Mindanao and destroyed known
terrorist camps in the Sulu Archipelago. In the last five
weeks, combined military and police efforts in Mindanao,
supported by U.S. personnel, led to the capture of senior
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) facilitator Hajiruddin Dansalan and
suspected Bangladeshi JI member Muhammad Alpariz. On
December 7, nearly simultaneous AFP offensives were conducted
against high-value ASG members on Jolo island and an ASG
group involved in numerous kidnappings on Basilan island.
While details of the events are still emerging, it appears
that five Philippine troops were killed in action and dozens
wounded, and more than 50 enemy fighters may have been killed
in the two engagements. Although the Jolo and Basilan
operations indicate an improved capability for the AFP to
plan and execute offensives against entrenched terrorist
targets, the lack of casualty evacuation and intelligence
assets point to a continued need for USG assistance in these
key areas. END SUMMARY.

—————————————–
JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH FACILITATORS APPREHENDED
—————————————–

¶2. (C) The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have
continued to chart successes against terrorist group menbers
in Mindanao, most recently with the capture of Indonesian
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member Hajiruddin Dansalan, and
suspected Bangladeshi JI member Muhammad Alpariz. Dansalan
was arrested on November 2 and Alpariz was apprehended on
December 2, both as a result of close coordination between
the Philippine military and police, with support from USG
personnel. While U.S.-designated terrorist organization JI
does not have a large number in the Philippines, the
organization continues to use Philippine sanctuary for
training and transit.

——————————————— ——–
CLASHES SUBSIDE ON MINDANAO — FOCUS ON JOLO, BASILAN
——————————————— ——–

¶3. (C) While AFP troops on Mindanao continue to pursue
rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders in
Lanao del Norte and Maguindanao (reftel), encounters between
Philippine troops and MILF forces have subsided over the last
two weeks, with AFP units taking up blocking positions and
MILF rogue fighters retreating into mountain and marsh
redoubts. On Jolo and Basilan, however, isolated pockets of
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists — some harbored by what
the AFP calls lawless MILF elements — have continued to
conduct bombings, ambushes, and kidnappings against
Philippine military personnel and civilians. To combat these
insurgents, on December 7 the Philippine military conducted
joint operations against these ASG targets on Basilan and
Jolo.

¶4. (C) Despite a robust early warning network of human
informants and difficult terrain protecting the ASG positions
on Jolo, the AFP strike successfully employed artillery and
ground troops against the camp of ASG commander Radullan
Sahiron, located in the Patikul region of Jolo island. At
the request of the AFP, USG assets supplied intelligence and
planning assistance for the attack, which disrupted ASG
operations and resulted in at least five ASG members killed,
none of whose identities has been reported yet. The AFP
suffered no casualties in the assault, and there are
indications that there were additional ASG losses, without
further detail of wounded and killed.

—————————-
BASILAN FIGHTING TOUGH GOING
—————————-

¶5. (C) The intense two-day engagement between Philippine
troops and ASG and MILF elements on Basilan island produced
several firefights and underscored the difficulty the AFP is
having in eradicating small but determined groups of
insurgents from the Sulu Archipelago. The AFP operation

MANILA 00002677 002 OF 002

against a group of Abu Sayyaf that conducted numerous
kidnappings on Basilan over the last year resulted in large
numbers of casualties on both sides, when the ASG fighters
retreated into an area of Basilan controlled by lawless MILF
elements. Combined AFP air, ground, and water-borne forces
assaulted the ASG positions and secured several objectives,
but the ASG and MILF forces counterattacked. In the
fighting, the AFP suffered five Philippine troops killed and
sustained more than two dozen wounded, several serious enough
that USG assets were requested to transport them to Manila.
Initial reports indicate the offensive may have killed 50 ASG
and MILF insurgents — including a rogue MILF commander —
although it is unclear whether the AFP was able to eliminate
the kidnapping syndicate. While the MILF leadership denied
its fronts are harboring ASG members, the AFP said that the
death of MILF commander Sattar Alih, a senior member of the
rebel group who was killed in the operation, pointed to the
MILF’s involvement with criminal activity on Basilan. The
MILF accused the AFP of attacking its forces directly.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶6. (C) While the number of engagements in Central Mindanao
decreased in the last month, perhaps indicating a
consolidation of AFP forces and a retrenching of lawless MILF
elements, the December 7 AFP offensives on Jolo and Basilan
highlight the challenges still facing the Philippine
government in the Sulu Archipelago. Detailed planning and
preparation delivered a solid blow to a key ASG commander on
Jolo, but the same level of planning for the Basilan
operation produced mixed results and a high number of AFP
casualties. It is clear that although the AFP has made great
strides in conducting disciplined operations against
terrorist targets — there were no reported civilian
casualties in either the Jolo or Basilan operation — the
Philippine military still lacks sufficient logistical
support, intelligence platforms, and casualty evacuation
capability to sustain effective counterterrorism operations
on a consistent basis. Mission personnel continue to support
the AFP in these areas and are working to identify specific
long-term solutions to existing AFP deficiencies.

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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