Home Oceania Asia 14 injured as two suspected suicide bombers target church in Indonesia

14 injured as two suspected suicide bombers target church in Indonesia

by melanin
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https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/two-suspected-suicide-bombers-indonesia-church-injured-makassar-14509726

JAKARTA: Two suspected suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a Catholic church in the Indonesian city of Makassar on Sunday (Mar 28), wounding 14 people on the first day of the Easter Holy Week, police and witnesses said.

National police spokesman Inspector General Argo Yuwono said at a press conference in Jakarta that the injured suffered from wounds around their necks, chests and legs. Some had blisters on their hands and feet.Advertisement

He added that he is unable to confirm the number of deaths. 

Local police previously said the bomber acted alone.

The congregation had been inside the church at the time of the explosion, South Sulawesi police spokesman E Zulpan told Reuters. 

South Sulawesi police chief Merdisyam told reporters that five church staff members and four worshippers are among the wounded. Due to health restrictions, there were few people in attendance at mass.

The two suspected bombers had arrived at the church around 10.20am on a motorcycle, said Mr Yuwono. They tried to enter the cathedral but a security officer stopped them. 

“Then the explosion happened,” said Mr Yuwono. 

“Based on information on the ground, the vehicle is destroyed, there are several human remains, and of course this will be part of our investigation,” he said.

Father Wilhemus Tulak, a priest at the church, told Indonesian media that a person who was holding off a suspected suicide bomber was wounded.

Security camera footage showed a blast that blew flame, smoke and debris into the middle of the road.

Video from the scene showed police had set up a cordon around the church and cars parked nearby were damaged.

Police officers guard near a church where an explosion went off in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sunday, March 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Yusuf Wahil)

Police did not say who might be responsible for the attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Police are investigating whether the suspects belong to a network, said Mr Yuwono. 

The counter-terrorism squad is on its way to Makassar, he added. 

Boy Rafli Amar, the head of the country’s National Counterterrorism Agency, described Sunday’s attack as an act of terrorism.

Makassar Mayor Danny Pomanto said Sunday’s blast could have caused far more casualties if it had taken place at the church’s main gate instead of a side entrance.

“Whatever the motive is, this act isn’t justified by any religion because it harms not just one person but others, too,” Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, said in a statement.

Armed police officers stand guard along a closed road following an explosion outside a Catholic church in Makassar, South Sulawesi province, Indonesia, March 28, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

Makassar, Sulawesi’s biggest city, reflects the religious makeup of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country with a substantial Christian minority and followers of other religions.

Gomar Gultom, head of the Indonesian Council of Churches, described the attack as a “cruel incident” as Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday, and urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities.

READ: Commentary: Why the use of women and children raises the stakes in the fight against terrorism

Indonesia’s deadliest Islamist militant attack took place on the tourist island of Bali in 2002, when bombers killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.

In subsequent years, security forces in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, scored some major successes in tackling militancy.

Police blamed the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah group for suicide attacks in 2018 on churches and a police post in the city of Surabaya that killed over 30 people.

Source: CNA/Reuters

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1 comment

melanesianews March 28, 2021 - 8:25 pm

The 2002 bombings in Makassar, Indonesia occurred on 5 December 2002, where a bomb exploded within inner-city McDonald’s restaurant. The McDonald’s restaurant was located in the Ratu Indah shopping mall, in Makassar. These bomb actions were conducted by the Islamic group “Laskar Jundullah”, which caused death to 3 people, including the bomber himself, and injured 15 others. The leader of the group, Agung Abdul Hamid, received a jail sentence of 18 years due to the planning and execution of both the bomb and the attack in Makassar. There is police confirmation that the Islamic group, behind the McDonald’s attack in Makassar, was Laskar Jundullah Islamic Militia, where many of their beliefs and values reflect and stem from those of The ‘Jamaah Islamiyah’ Islamic Group.

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