KEBON PEDES, Indonesia – Heri Golun (search) left his Indonesian village in April after telling his family, including his pregnant wife, that he wanted to die a martyr. Five months later, he drove an explosive-filled van to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta (search) and blew it up, killing himself and eight others, police say.
Golun's parents and friends say he and six other villagers developed a passion for holy war and a hatred for America and its allies after coming under the spell of two militant Islamic preachers who arrived in Kebon Pedes (search) a year ago.
"Golun prayed more often after he met preachers Akdam and Harun," his father, Didin Raidin, told The Associated Press Saturday. "His eyes blazed when he began talking about how we are at war with America."
Police on Friday said DNA tests from blood and body parts found in the van that exploded outside the embassy on Sept. 9 matched ones taken from Golun's family. Testimony from others arrested in the attack also implicated him in the blast.
Police say three of the men — and the two preachers — remain on the run in this vast Southeast Asian archipelago — the world's most populous Muslim nation — and may be planning more attacks.
In April, Golun, who was 30 when he died, left Kebon Pedes, 80 miles south of Jakarta, for the last time after telling his family of his intention to die as martyr, Raidin said.
"He got all his brothers and sisters together to say sorry because he wanted to perform jihad and die a martyr. He told me not to ask questions," Raidin said.
The embassy attack has been blamed on the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, which also was implicated in the 2002 Bali blasts, which killed 202 people, most of them tourists, and a suicide attack last year outside the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta.
Golun's mother, Ana Hasanah, said the two preachers arrived in Kebon Pedes in September 2003. They initially employed her son and the six other villagers to watch over a nearby fish pond.
She said her son was grateful to the preachers because they gave him $2.80 a day — nearly double the average pay in the village — to look after the pond.
"We are poor people. I can't even afford to pay the bus ticket to go and visit my newly born grandson," she said as she broke into tears. Golun's wife gave birth 10 days ago.
At night the men slept in a hut close to the pond. There, they prayed and discussed what they regarded was the West's mistreatment of Muslims and vowed they would fight against America and its allies, local village cleric Amin Salman said, recounting what Golun told him.
They also watched videos — one was called "Kill or be Killed" — that featured scenes of Muslims being killed in Palestine and Afghanistan and of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Salman said.
Salman said Golun and the other six men distanced themselves from the 1,000 other residents of Kebon Pedes soon after the preachers arrived in the village.
Villagers say they rarely heard the preachers speak. It was not clear if they were the alleged masterminds of the embassy attack, Malaysian militants Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top. Police declined to comment.
All the men left the village around April, he said.
"They've gone and no one else wants to come to our village now," Salman said. "They call this place the terrorists' nest now."