Pimentel: CIA may be behind creation of Sayyaf
Pimentel: CIA may be behind creation of Sayyaf
- Perseus Echeminada () - May 9, 2000 - 12:00am

Is the Abu Sayyaf a creation of the Central Intelligence Agency?

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel yesterday sought a Senate inquiry to answer the question.

Pimentel, who is from Mindanao, told a press conference that "bits of information" have been reaching his office indicating that the American spy agency had a hand in forming the Abu Sayyaf -- ironically, in cahoots with covert units in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

He said he had been cautious in discussing the possibility, not wanting to indiscriminately implicate the CIA in the country's political upheavals.

"Piecing bits of information together makes out a case, at least pro tanto, that the Abu Sayyaf might indeed be a creation of the CIA and had been covertly supported by select military officers during the administration of President (Fidel) Ramos," Pimentel said.

In the early 1990s, the CIA recruited members for the Abu Sayyaf, Pimentel claimed, who were then trained in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi by an elite Philippine military unit.

The Abu Sayyaf was later sent as mujahideen (holy warriors) to fight in America's proxy war against the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan. Weapons for the Abu Sayyaf came from Saudi financier Osama bin Laden, now wanted in the US for allegedly funding terrorism.

An elite Philippine military unit now operating outside the AFP's chain of command is a conduit between the CIA and the Abu Sayyaf.

For some unknown reason, CIA funding for the Abu Sayyaf was later cut off, prompting the rebels to resort to banditry, kidnapping and other crimes.

One of these criminal acts, Pimentel said, was the April 1995 Abu Sayyaf raid on the town of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur.

If the Senate does conduct an investigation, Pimentel said they will ask former President Ramos and top military officials to testify. Although he believed that the Abu Sayyaf had already lost contact with their CIA benefactors, Pimentel said the truth must be ferreted out.

"Parenthetically, there is a new book, Browback by Chaimers Johnson, that may justify a deeper study into the affairs of the CIA in our country that have a direct relevance to the problems that the Abu Sayyaf is causing us today," Pimentel said.

ABU ABU SAYYAF AQUILINO PIMENTEL ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY CHAIMERS JOHNSON CIA IF THE SENATE IS THE ABU SAYYAF PIMENTEL SAYYAF
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