Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET on 2015-04-08
Police in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Wednesday confirmed that Daeng Koro, the No. 2 man in the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) extremist group, was killed in a shootout with security forces there last Friday.
Lab tests on a DNA sample taken from Daeng’s corpse matched his son’s DNA, the Jakarta Globe reported, citing Central Sulawesi police.
“From the DNA test results we confirm that the body is Daeng Koro’s,” Sucipto, the doctor in charge of forensics for the provincial police force, told the Tempo news website.
Daeng’s name had long been on Indonesia’s list of most wanted persons (DPO). He was the deputy to Indonesia’s most wanted terrorist, Santoso, who heads the MIT and is at-large.
Before police were able to confirm Daeng’s death, his wife, Nurjannah, identified her husband’s body on Sunday.
She visited the morgue at Bhayangkara Hospital in Palu, where his corpse was being kept, police said.
"Nurjannah stated that the corpse was her husband’s according to the birthmarks, feet size, and teeth," provincial police chief Idham Aziz said.
According to police, Daeng was a strategist and arms procurer for MIT, and served as a liaison between it and a radical group in Makassar, South Sulawesi province.
“He is the architect of the MIT movement," National Police spokesman Rikwanto told BenarNews earlier this week.
"Daeng is the coach and chief executive of militant camps in Morowali, Tamanjeka (Central Sulawesi), as well as in Mambi, West Sulawesi,” Rikwanto added.
Daeng was behind the killings of policemen in Poso three years ago, and he also assembled and set off bombs in several spots there last year, Rikwanto said.
Daeng’s real name was Sabar Subagio and he had several aliases: Autad Rawa, Ocep, and Abu Muhammad.
A former member of the Indonesian armed forces (TNI), he was kicked out of the military after being court-martialed in the early 1990s. His expulsion stemmed from an allegation of an affair with a fellow soldier’s wife, Munir Ahmad, spokesman for the Special Forces Command (Kopassus), told a news conference in Jakarta on Monday.
MIT still a threat
But while Daeng’s killing represented a setback for the MIT, experts questioned whether it dealt a knockout blow to MIT’s operations.
"MIT has many followers. Daeng's death will not eliminate MIT," Ridlwan Habib, a terrorism expert at the University of Indonesia (UI), told BenarNews.
"MIT was founded in 2002, and MIT declared its support for the Islamic State (IS),” Al Chaider, a reformed ex-terrorist said.
“The death of Daeng Koro can be debilitating for terrorist actions in Poso, but this depends on how the government will respond," he added.