ZAMBOANGA CITY: An Indonesian militant linked to terror groups Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya was reported missing two months after his release from prison.
Indonesian news website Khabar reported that Agus Dwikarna, who was jailed in 2002 for illegal possession of explosives, returned to Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, after being deported by the Philippines in February this year—but he disappeared after a brief stay and this has worried Indonesian authorities.
“Agus Dwikarna could have threatened members of the Indonesian police not only in Central Sulawesi, but also throughout Indonesia—especially when he disappeared after his release,” Central Sulawesi police spokesman Soemarmo told Khabar.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) branded Agus as notorious.
“One of the most notorious deportees was Agus Dwikarna, who was accosted in 2002 by the joint elements of (police and military intelligence units) PNP, IG, NICA, PAF-AISG (Task force Sanglahi) and the BI for illegal possession of explosives at the NAIA Terminal 1.”
“Agus Dwikarna, who was identified with the terror group Al-Qaeda, served his sentence in Bilibid Prisons and upon his release he was deported to Indonesia,” Commissioner Siegfred Mison said.
Agus was convicted July 12, 2002 by a Philippine court to serve 10 to 17 years for carrying C-4 plastic explosives and bomb parts as he and two others were about the leave for Bangkok, Thailand at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Khabar, which is funded by the US Pacific Command, said although Agus denied the charges, he had an extensive history of involvement in terrorist-related activities.
The website also quoted the United Nations (UN) Security Council Committee which listed Agus among people with alleged ties to the Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya and has direct involvement with the terror group’s most senior leaders.
Quoting the UN report, Khabar said until his arrest in Manila, Agus was a major figure of Laskar Jundullah in Makassar, military wing of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council, and he also worked as a regional head of the Indonesian branch of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which allegedly funneled Al-Qaeda money into Southeast Asia and gave its operatives cover as charity workers.
The website added that aside from running a Sulawesi training camp, Agus escorted two of Al-Qaeda’s top leaders on a tour of Aceh Province—Ayman al-Zawahiri, now the terrorist group’s top leader; and Mohammed Atef, head of Al-Qaeda’s military wing, who has since been slain.
The UN said the two al-Qaeda leaders visited Aceh in June 2002, but other sources date their trip to June 2000.
“Islam is also a forgiving religion. I am sure he learned a lot about this during his imprisonment,” Muhammad Yazid Fahri, a Muslim cleric in Makassar, told Khabar.
“We also do not know the truth about the allegations against him. Only God knows.”
Agus is an associate of Jemaah Islamiya spiritual leader Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, whose group has links with the local Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the spate of terrorism and ransom kidnappings in southern Philippines.