$10,000 raised for Indonesian man who died protecting churchgoers from bomb attack in 2000

To honour Mr Riyanto's sacrifice, the Katolik Garis Lucu Twitter account set up a fund-raising effort. The funds would be given to his family and those of four others who helped patrol and secure the church on Dec 24, 2000. PHOTO: KATOLIK GARIS LUCU/TWITTER

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A fund raiser to honour a young man who died while protecting Christmas congregants from a bomb attack in 2000 has raised 106 million rupiah (S$10,280), exceeding its initial target of 50 million rupiah on the Kitabisa crowdfunding platform.

Mr Riyanto, who went by one name, died on Dec 24, 2000 while helping to patrol and secure the Eben Haezer Church in Mojokerto, East Java. He was 25 years old.

He was a member of Indonesia's largest Islamic group Nahdlatul Ulama's (NU) youth wing called Multipurpose Ansor Front, better known as Banser.

He was patrolling the church with four youth-group companions on Christmas Eve when he heard there was a suspicious black package.

He opened the package and saw electrical cables. He then used his body to cover the package and told the congregants to get away and duck. The bomb went off, killing him. The blast also damaged the church's concrete walls.

To honour his sacrifice, the Katolik Garis Lucu Twitter account @KatolikG set up a fund-raising effort.

"Katolik Garis Lucu wants to give a present to Riyanto's family and his four friends who were on duty at the time. Amid the challenges that our country faces, Riyanto reminds us that our duty as humans is not altered by any kind of differences. Diversity is a richness that colours our life as Indonesians," the account wrote on the webpage of the Kitabisa crowdfunding platform.

Katolik Garis Lucu said last Tuesday that the funds raised would be given to the families, as the fund-raising window had closed.

Indonesian netizens lauded the donation initiative and praised Mr Riyanto for his service.

Twitter user @zeyap3dr4 said: "He is real proof that differences are not a barrier to doing good to everyone. We are all brothers, even if we are not of the same faith. Tonight, we pray for you, friend."

Another user, @sitimiland1, tweeted: "Some of us are busy debating whether Christmas greetings (are allowed for Muslims), while some of us are busy preparing Christmas gifts for our Banser member. Thank you very much. Merry Christmas."

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