An uncle of one of the teenagers said Syaefuddin Jaelani, 32, believed to be the main recruiter for fugitive terrorist Noordin Mohammad Top's deadly Indonesian network, had taken his nephew on a week-long camping and fishing trip to see if he was prepared to wage violent jihad.
The man, who refused to be identified yesterday, confirmed that his nephew was among a group of five teenagers -- including eventual JW Marriott hotel bomber Dani Dwi Permana -- taken on the retreat near the hill city of Bandung, southeast of Jakarta, early this year.
The trip was focused on religious instruction and the importance of becoming a martyr, he said, although other sources have indicated it also included fishing at the Situ Lembang camping ground, an area popular with Indonesian tourists.
In the days after the July attacks -- but before Permana's identity was revealed -- elite Detachment 88 anti-terror police interrogated the four boys in the town of Kahuripan, near Bogor City, south of the capital.
They released the teenagers before last weekend's public revelation that Permana, who was 18 and had just graduated from high school, was one of the bombers.
The other was 28-year-old Nana Ikhwan Maulana, from the town of Pandeglang in Banten province, where a number of Top's known violent associates in the Ring Banten terror group originate. It is also near the home town of executed Bali bomber Imam Samudra.
Jaelani's preparation of the two bombers for their task included jogging with them outside the JWMarriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, where nine people, including three Australians, died in the attacks.
The uncle said yesterday he had questioned his nephew about the purpose of the religious retreat to Bandung. "I asked him, was the indoctrination (the boys received) meant to point them to becoming a bridegroom to commit jihad," he said.
Jaelani had indicated to his nephew that he would be required to undertake his task "soon".
"But my nephew was hesitant, and of the five teenage boys, Dani (Permana) was the one who looked to be the most certain," the man said.
Officials at the As-Surur mosque where Jaelani was a respected and well-liked preacher, known for his excellent command of Koranic verses, said they had taken steps to determine no other youths had been indoctrinated.
There is growing suspicion that a man originally thought to have been Top who was killed in a Central Java raid at the weekend was in fact a florist named Ibrohim, who worked at the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels and was the bombers' inside contact.
Ibrohim, who disappeared immediately after the bombings, is also likely to have been recruited by Jaelani. Remembered as being friendly and polite, Jaelani had a wife and young child when he arrived in the small urban community at Kahuripan last year.