Sep 172014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/04/07MANILA1206.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1206 2007-04-17 09:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7631
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1206/01 1070900
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 170900Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6093
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001206

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2017
TAGS: PREL PTER MOPS KISL RP
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON FIGHTING IN JOLO

REF: MANILA 1187

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

¶1. (C) Summary. Rogue elements of the Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF) under Commander Habier Malik continue
to clash with government security forces on Jolo. Among the
casualties during heavy fighting on April 17 reportedly were
Malik’s brother and cousin. The Philippine National Red
Cross, Local Government Units, and Department of Social
Welfare and Development are coordinating humanitarian
assistance for over 8,000 displaced families. All U.S.
Special Operations Task Force personnel remain safe. While
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has appealed for a

SIPDIS
cease-fire, President Arroyo has reportedly directed the
Armed Forces of the Philippines to continue military
operations until Malik and his armed followers are “crushed.”
President Arroyo’s resolve to fight until Malik and his men
are captured or killed, which the AFP is implementing in a
sustained and professional manner, indicates that the
Philippine government’s long-time tolerance for Malik and his
ilk is now over.
End Summary.

—————————-
Military Operations Continue
—————————-

¶2. (SBU) President Arroyo told the Philippine press on April
16 that military operations against rogue elements of the
MNLF under Commander Habier Malik would continue on Jolo
until Malik was “crushed.” According to Armed Forces of the
Philippines Commander Hermogenes Esperon, about 2,000 troops
have been deployed against Malik, who declared a “holy war.”
The AFP estimates its forces have so far killed at least 32
of Malik’s troops and wounded another 54. The AFP continues
to receive cooperation from other near-by MNLF commanders.

¶3. (C) During heavy fighting in Bitanag and Tiis on April
17, Malik’s brother and cousin were killed, according to
JSOTF-P sources. Malik escaped and may have taken refuge
with family members in Panamao or Luuk. The AFP has
recovered numerous M16s and M203s. Elements of the Abu
Sayyaf Group attacked the AFP’s 33rd Infantry Battalion at
Parang on April 17, wounding at least six AFP soldiers.

¶4. (C) Some rogue MNLF members have apparently fled to
coastal areas, possibly to seek refuge on the Pata or
Daongdong Islands. During the night of April 16,
unidentified elements from the shore fired on a Philippine
Navy vessel patrolling near Pitogo point in Tuta Bay, leaving
one sailor wounded and the vessel’s engine damaged. This was
the second attack on a Philippine Navy vessel in less than 24
hours by suspected rogue MNLF members. JSOTF-P P-3 flights
continue to operate and offer deterrence against High Value
Targets taking advantage of the situation to flee Jolo.

———————–
Humanitarian Assistance
———————–

¶5. (SBU) According to the Philippine National Red Cross
(PNRC), the fighting has already displaced at least 8,400
families. Most are in temporary evacuation centers in
Bato-Bato, Buansa, and Talatak barangays in Indanan. The
PNRC is coordinating humanitarian assistance for the
displaced persons with Local Government Units and the
Department of Social Welfare and Development, including
medical supplies, food, relief supplies, and medical
personnel. PNRC estimates include eighteen wounded
Philippine soldiers and two dead. AFP estimates are at least
six MNLF soldiers killed.

—————————
OIC Appeals for a Cease-fire
—————————

¶6. (C) Organization of Islamic Conference Secretary-General
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has appealed to the Philippine
government and the MNLF to end the fighting and abide by the
provisions of the 1996 final peace agreement. MNLF leaders
have said that the MNLF was willing to negotiate with
Philippine authorities to prevent the armed conflict from
escalating, while the government emphasized that its military
operations were directed only against rogue elements of the
MNLF under Malik.

——-

MANILA 00001206 002 OF 002

Comment
——-

¶7. (C) The ongoing fighting underscores the difficulties of
securing a lasting peace on Jolo and creating the conditions
for additional humanitarian assistance by the U.S. and other
donors. However, this may reflect a last-gasp effort by
Malik and other rogue elements to ruin the prospects for
peace. President Arroyo’s resolve to fight until Malik and
his men are captured or killed, which the AFP is implementing
in a sustained and professional manner, indicates that the
Philippine government’s long-time tolerance for Malik and his
ilk is now over.

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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