Fourteen people have been injured, and a suicide bomber killed, in a terrorist attack on a Catholic church in South Sulawesi, just after their Palm Sunday mass.
The Palm Sunday explosion occurred at 10:28am (AEDT 1:28pm) Sunday 28th March as worshippers were on their way home from mass. Police say the suspects are two men on motorbikes. A priest from the church tells local media that one bomber tried to enter the church but was stopped by a guard.
“Thank God that no Christians died in the attack”, brother Sam*, Open Doors’ coordinator for the work in South East Asia, says. “But some believers have been severely wounded, and all present have been traumatized. Their lives will never be the same. We ask the worldwide Church to pray for their brothers and sisters in Makassar.”
According to a Channel News Asia report, five church staff members and four worshippers are among the wounded. They say there were few people attending mass due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The police have not yet pinned down the attack on any group, and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks. Indonesia is no stranger to terrorist attacks. Just four months ago, four Christians were murdered in Sigi, Indonesia by Islamic extremists. And in 2018, police blamed ISIL-connected groups for a church suicide attack in Surabaya that killed 30 people.
“In Indonesia, the situation for Christians has been deteriorating in recent years, with Indonesian society taking on a more conservative Islamic character,” says Brother Sam. “Christians who grew up in a Muslim home often experience persecution from their families. At the same time, Islamic militants carry out attacks from time to time. Many share the ideology or are even affiliated with global terrorist movements such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.”
Open Doors has local partners on site to do fact finding and assess the needs of the Christians. Brother Sam continues “It’s important that we come alongside when they are suffering. They must know that they are not alone.”*Name changed for security purposes.
Open Doors is a charity helping people follow Jesus all over the world, no matter the cost. Since 1955, Open Doors has been equipping persecuted Christians to remain in some of the hardest places to do so. This is done by delivering emergency relief, community development and discipleship in over 70 countries. www.opendoors.org.au
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