Chapter 4 – Misdirection
Thirty-six hours later after Nagi’s phone call to El Mofty, Cunningham landed at Perth Airport with Ambrose Canty. Canty was nineteen and already an experienced yachtsman, his parents had owned and sailed yachts for as long as he could remember, the family had been members of the Sandringham Yacht Club since he was six years old. Nagi had arranged for a limousine driver to collect them, the driver was standing at the boarding gate holding up an electronic tablet which had their names displayed on it.
Nagi was at the airport, watching the two men arrive and hop into the limousine, he was there to make certain that they weren’t being followed. He followed them from a distance as the limousine drove to Gin Gin, about ninety kilometres north of Perth on the Brand Highway. The two men were dropped off at a roadside rest stop and the limousine returned to Perth, five minutes later Nagi picked them up and they all drove to the coastal City of Geraldton, about another 350 kilometres north.
Nagi had arranged for a driver from Perth to deliver the Isuzu truck to a car park at Fisherman’s Wharf in Geraldton, the driver had no knowledge of the Sydney or Melbourne people. The vehicle was laden with enough provisions to last for two months, mobile refrigerators, portable generators, seven one-thousand-litre polyethylene tanks of diesel, a one-thousand-litre steel fuel tank filled with Avgas, a-twelve-volt electric diesel pump with hoses and fittings, a hand-cranked fuel pump with hoses and fittings, ten jerry cans of diesel, ten jerry cans of unleaded petrol, camping equipment, three trail-bike motor cycles and various tools and equipment required for the mission. Once delivered, the driver used sticking tape to attach the truck’s key to the underside of an outdoor table at Barnacles on the Wharf, a coffee and take –away food store situated at the south end of the car park. He booked a taxi to take him to the Geraldton Airport before flying back to Perth to prepare for the next stage of the mission.
Later that day, Nagi, Cunningham and Canty arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf, they collected the keys from under the table and drove the truck to the Broadwater Holiday Apartments and settled in for a couple of days. Two days later, at around four in the morning, Nagi answered a phone call and summoned the other two. “Good news brothers, phase one of our mission is about to commence” he declared. He sent the two men back to Fisherman’s Wharf where Canty was to take delivery of a thirty-eight foot Seawind 1160 Catamaran Yacht which arrived at Geraldton overnight. Nagi had purchased the Catamaran for three-hundred and sixty thousand dollars from a broker in Bunbury who provided two crew members to sail it up to Geraldton. Canty inspected the yacht thoroughly, once he was satisfied that it was in good order, he advised Cunningham that it was okay to drive the delivery crew to the Geraldton Airport. When Cunningham returned, Nagi had arrived and was helping Canty to load supplies onto the yacht.
Nagi then instructed Cunningham to take the car to an auto wrecking yard, remove the number plates and sell it, he was to accept whatever price they offered on the proviso that it would be wrecked and not sold on. Once the deal was closed, he was to catch a taxi back to the wharf. Meanwhile, Nagi remained on board the yacht and briefed Canty on the first phase of the mission. He and Cunningham were to sail three hundred nautical miles west (well outside the Two-Hundred Nautical Mile Australian Exclusive Economic Zone) to a pre-determined grid reference and meet up with an Indonesian Fishing Trawler and take delivery of twelve Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, two hundred ammunition clips, two thousand rounds of ammunition, twelve nine-millimetre Glock 19 Gen4 semi-automatic handguns, twenty-five kilograms of C-4 explosives and detonators.
“How do I know if these weapons are in working order?” Canty asked
“Don’t worry,” Nagi replied, “my reputation is well known to them, they know that it would not be healthy for them to double cross me, even if they are on the other side of the world!”
Once they had taken delivery of the weapons they were to proceed back to the coast and then make their way north to the mouth of the Pardoo Creek where they would meet up on 9 March. They were to avoid all towns and communities, camping at remote beaches along the way. Nagi had chosen the catamaran because of its shallow draft and glass-reinforced plastic twin hull, giving it the ability to sail up to a beach, then beach itself as the tide drops. Having twin hulls, it could sit stable on dry land and the vessel’s kitchen, toilet and cabins were still fully usable. It was totally self-sufficient with a D300 wind turbine, two 112 watt solar panels charging three 200-amp-hour batteries with a Vitron 3000 charger and converter distributing power to all the electronics and appliances. If required, additional power was supplied by one of the twin Yanmar diesel engines, which also heated the water for the showers. The desalination plant could produce up to one hundred and forty litres of fresh water per hour. The cabins were air conditioned, there were a refrigerator and freezer, washing machine and dryer. The electronics included satellite television, auto pilot, chart plotter, radar and weather station. There was a davit to hoist on and off the small rubber dinghy tender with outboard motor.
Canty and Cunningham set sail by mid-morning, while Nagi proceeded to Marble Bar in the Isuzu truck to set up a safe-house and training camp at the old miners’ quarters for a disused mine-site. It was extremely remote, situated at the end of a thirty-kilometre track east of town with no other properties in the vicinity. Marble Bar is two hundred kilometres inland from Port Hedland and is renowned for its high temperatures with an average of one hundred and fifty days per year with temperatures above thirty-seven-point-eight degrees Celsius (one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit).
Nagi rendezvoused with Ibrahim and Abjumal at the Pardoo Station on 8 March, booking himself into a donga for the night. Just prior to sunrise the next morning, the three of them drove to the mouth of the Parooo Creek to meet up with Canty and Cunningham. Nagi drove the truck, while the other two drove the Toyota. The truck could not make it all the way to the landing site due to the sandy conditions, however with its four-wheel drive and half deflated tyres, the Toyota made the trip with ease which. The use the Toyota to shuttle the items to and from the yacht. After unloading the weapons and ammunition, they loaded more stores and fuel onto the yacht. Cunningham disembarked from the yacht and re-joined with Nagi while Canty was sent back out to sea. He was to camp out on remote beaches, monitor the weather so that he could avoid any storm cells. The instruction was to wait for a call on the satellite phone then proceed to Port Hedland and drop anchor on the northern side of the Spoil Bank.
For the next three weeks, the remaining four members of the group spent most of their time acclimatising and preparing for the mission at the Marble Bar training camp. Nagi put them through a rigorous (fourteen hours per day) training program involving firearms, close quarter combat, physical fitness, human physiology and anatomy. A week before the mission, Cunningham and Ibrahim drove to Port Hedland to take delivery of the brand-new silver-grey Commodore. Cunningham also visited a hairdresser and had a haircut. They returned to the training camp, installed the antennae and set up the blue and red flashing lights so that they can be quickly fitted into the Commodore. On one of the motorcycles, they installed an isolation switch to the stop light. They did the same to the Isuzu Truck and the Toyota Prado, in addition an isolation switch was installed so that the reverse light and beeper could also be switched off when needed.
In the week leading up to the mission, the physical side of the training eased up, while the team focussed on planning and logistics. Cunningham rehearsed pulling over the truck and talking to the driver, he studied videos of West Australian Police Officers so that he could mimic their mannerisms, postures and biomechanics. During his years of incarceration, he had developed a distinctive prison strut in his walk, he had to be certain not to walk in this manner and walk with a more police-like strut.
At around four in the afternoon of 22 March, Nagi convened a meeting with his team.
“Brothers, tomorrow we will begin the most important phase of our mission” he declared, “you have trained well, you all have your specific task, I have faith that Allah will guide and protect you. You are about to bring the infidels to their knees, before they realise what hit them, you will be well on your way to the holy land where you will be demigods”.
He handed each them a small glass vial containing a capsule of Nembutal.
“Keep these secreted on your bodies at all times, even when you are sleeping. In the unlikely event the you are captured, break the glass, swallow the capsule and you will find paradise. Are there any questions?”
He paused, there was no response, “so, let’s get the vehicles ready and pack everything up here. Tomorrow is going to be a very long day so try to get plenty of sleep. Adhan is at zero three hundred, we leave here at zero four hundred”.
They set off at 4:00 am the next morning, Cunningham in the Commodore, Ibrahim in the Prado, Nagi and Abjumal followed them about ten minutes behind in the Isuzu truck. Firstly, they rigged up an incendiary device and placed twelve four litre plastic containers of petrol throughout the camp building, they set the timer for thirty-six hours. They also set up a remote passive infra-red detector one-hundred-metres down the road from outside the property. In the off chance that law enforcement officers raided the property, their approach would trigger the incendiary device.
They arrived at outskirts of Port Hedland at around 6:00 am, Ibrahim and pulled to the side of the road about one hundred and fifty metres to the east of the Exlog complex, Cunnigham continued, as he passed the Exlog complex he observed Chikos’s truck reversing towards the chiller trailer. He pulled into the BP Service Station and refuelled the Commodore, he bought a coffee and a magazine and parked just near the entrance to the service station. Twenty-minutes later, Nagi and Abjumal passed in the Isuzu and continued towards the mining town of Newman.
Chiko pulled out of the depot while Ibrahim followed, keeping about one hundred metres behind. As Ibrahim approached Cunningham he flashed his headlights to signal that Chiko was the target. Cunningham pulled onto the highway and followed, keeping a good distance back. As the convoy headed south, Ibrahim overtook Chiko and continued towards Newman, Cunningham continued to follow Chiko from a distance.
At about eleven am, Chiko’s truck passed by the Auski Roadhouse and continued towards Newman. Cunningham pulled in to top up with petrol, Nagi had arrived about twenty minutes earlier. Along the way, he dropped off Abjumal, who took one of the motorcycles and headed off onto the scrub towards Bindee Station. Ibrahim was also at the Roadhouse, apart from a brief “how-ya-goin’ mate” in passing, they didn’t speak to each other. Chiko hadn’t stopped here, so they were now sure that he would have to take his mandatory rest break at Newman, another two hours away.
They each pulled out of the Auski Roadhouse at different intervals and followed Chiko from a distance. After passing though Newman, they approached the Capricorn Roadhouse where they observed Chiko’s truck parked at the diesel bowser. They each drove for about another forty minutes, pulling up at a roadside stop. Cunningham parked his Commodore on the left side of the Isuzu truck so that it could not be seen from the highway, Nagi drove the Prado into the scrub parking it well out of site. Cunningham fitted the blue and red flashing lights inside the rear window of the Commodore, he then changed into a Western Australian Police Officer’s uniform. After about forty minutes, Chiko’s truck passed the roadside stop, Cunningham waited for a couple minutes, then pulled out onto the highway. About twenty minutes later, Cunningham switched on the blue and red flashing lights, he overtook Chiko and signalled him to pull over. It took the team less than ten minutes to complete this phase of the mission.
Cunningham grabbed a pair of bolt cutters from the Commodore and proceeded to break open the seals on the rear doors of Chiko’s trailer just as a white Isuzu FVL 1400 Tautliner Truck pulled up. He swung open both doors as the Isuzu reversed with its left side to the rear of Chiko’s trailer. Nagi hopped out of the Isuzu and proceeded to pull the curtain back while the Ibrahim jumped into the rear and placed a ramp between the two trucks. Ibrahim then pushed a hand-operated pallet truck into the rear of Chiko’s trailer and proceeded to load four bulker bags back into the Isuzu. They then pushed two one-thousand litre polyethylene drums of diesel into Chiko’s trailer followed by two trail bikes, pulled back the ramp, closed the curtain to the Isuzu. Ibrahim hopped back into his truck and drove off back towards Newman. Cunningham and Nagi attempted to hoist Chiko’s body into the rear of his truck, but the almost one hundred and ten kilograms of dead weight proved to be too big a challenge for them, they resorted to dragging his body into the scrub, dumping him behind a Grevillea bush. Nagi then hopped into the driver’s seat of Chiko’s truck and drove off in the opposite direction to the Isuzu. Cunningham followed in the Commodore pursuit car
Back at the Exlog monitoring centre, an alarm was detected indicating an unauthorised entry into Chiko’s trailer and Richard Price was frantically trying to contact Chiko on the satellite phone. In the meantime, Nagi had placed a signal jammer in Chiko’s truck, cutting off mobile phone, GPS and satellite phone signals within a twenty-metre radius. Within a minute an operator from the control room of Specialised Security Monitoring Services (in Melbourne) contacted Price to advise him of multiple alarms followed by a loss of communication alarm. Price contacted Police Emergency, gave them Chiko’s last known GPS location and advised that a police patrol had stopped Chiko, he asked if the patrol officer could confirm that everything was ok. Ten minutes later, the Senior Sergeant at Newman Police Station rang Price to inform him that they had no patrols in the area and were despatching units from Meekatharra and Newman.
Nagi and Cunningham were heading towards Meekatharra which was about three hundred kilometres south of their current location. They were aiming for the bridge that crossed the Gascoyne River about one hour south of them. They expected that by now the alarm would have been raised and police vehicles would have been dispatched but were confident that it would take at least a couple of hours before the police could reach them. The bridge was the half way point between the two towns, which in theory meant that the police vehicles would meet at that location. In a classic misdirection, the terrorists led the police into thinking that the hijacked truck and its cargo was destined south for a target possibly in Perth. Meanwhile, just a few bags of the deadly cargo were backtracking towards Hedland. It was planned that the Isuzu would pass through Newman before the police vehicles caught up with Chiko’s truck.
After about an hour and ten minutes, they reached the Gascoyne River Bridge. Nagi parked Chiko’s truck across the bridge in such a way that it blocked both, the northbound and southbound lanes, Cunningham pulled up about thirty metres behind in the commodore, stepped out and proceeded to the rear of the vehicle. He opened the boot, grabbed two AK-47 rifles, a duffle bag containing magazines of ammunition as well as C-4 explosives, detonators and timers and handed them to Nagi. He then took out a twenty-litre-jerry-can of petrol and started to pour the contents all over and inside the commodore.
Nagi opened the rear of Chiko’s truck, placed the rifles and duffle bag onto the rear deck and was about to climb in, when a white Toyota Hi-Ace Wicked Camper Van, containing two backpackers (possibly German) approached them from behind. As the vehicle was slowing to a stop, Nagi picked up and cocked one of the rifles and sprayed fifteen rounds into the van, killing both occupants instantly. The van continued to roll forward and crashed into the commodore and came to a stop. Cunningham poured the remaining petrol over the van, took out a cigarette lighter from his pocket, lit a ‘scrunched up’ piece of newspaper and through it onto the vehicles. There was a loud “whoomf” as both vehicles burst into flames.
Cunningham climbed into the trailer of Chiko’s truck where he and Nagi each took up an axe and proceeded to hack into the polyethylene tank of diesel allowing some of its contents to spill onto the trailer floor. Nagi attached an incendiary device the base of the drum and set the timer for two minutes. Then he and Cunningham each hopped onto a motorcycle, kicked over the ignition, revved the throttle, let go the clutch and roared out of the trailer, jumping the one point two metres and landing on the ground with their back tyres. They headed back towards Newman, after about a kilometre, they stopped and turned back to look. After about ten seconds, there was a huge explosion with a fireball climbing about one hundred metres into the air, the shockwave had flattened small trees and bushes and stripped leaves off larger trees up to two hundred and fifty metres from the blast epicentre. It had also blown out a large section of the bridge and the mangled remains of Chiko’s truck were now on the dry river bed.
 Aviation gasoline, fuel used in aircraft propelled by spark-ignited internal-combustion engines.
Commercial brand of Pentobarbital, a short-acting barbiturate which in high doses causes cardiac arrest, used by vets to euthanise animals.
 Adhan is the Islamic call to prayer.
 2008 Isuzu FVL long wheel-base rigid truck fitted with an eight-point-eight metre fourteen-pallet Tautliner. The vehicle has a gross vehicle mass of twenty-six tonnes.
Founded in Two-Thousand by John Webb, Wicked Campers is a camper-van rental company based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and has outlets in other parts of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, North America, South Africa and South America. Their product is marketed towards backpackers and younger drivers. Each van features a spray-painted design, often featuring pop culture references and slogans. While some of these slogans can be quite raunchy, some members of the public have found some of them to be extremely distasteful, sexist and misogynist.