INDONESIA: Suicide bombers attack cathedral on Palm Sunday

CCTV image of the suicide bombing on 28th March (© Aid to the Church in Need)
CCTV image of the suicide bombing on 28th March (© Aid to the Church in Need)

Two suicide bombers attacked the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, capital of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province, on Palm Sunday yesterday (28th March), injuring 20 and killing themselves in the process.

The Indonesian bishops’ conference (KWI)’s Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious affairs issued a statement, obtained by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

The statement, signed by the commission’s chairman, Bishop Yohanes Harun Yuwono of Tanjungkarang in Lampung province, said: “The suicide bombing is not only the concern of Catholics but also the concern of the entire nation and the Indonesian state.

“We strongly condemn the suicide bombing that disgraced human dignity, destroyed the values of humanity, and added to the long list of terrorism incidents in the nation that we love.”

The statement added: “We truly believe that the government, the Indonesian military, and the national police are able to completely address this case and to create a peaceful and comfortable situation for Indonesian society, particularly the people in Makassar.

“We hope that the incident will not harm or weaken the relationships which have so far been intensively built, maintained, and developed by religious followers. May the Lord continue to give peace and protection to all of us.”

The suspects, believed to be a newlywed couple, are linked to the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) network, according to the National police chief, General Listyo Sigit Prabowo.

JAD are affiliated with a terror group that committed a suicide bombing in Jolo, the Philippines, in early 2018, and are also linked with Daesh (ISIS) and blamed for several attacks in Indonesia, including church bombings.

The Archdiocese of Makassar also issued a statement delivered by its judicial vicar, Father Fransiskus Nipa, in a video message uploaded to the YouTube channel of the archdiocese’s Commission for Social Communications.

In the statement, released yesterday (28th March), Father Nipa said: “We are all concerned about the suicide bombing incident that occurred this morning at 10.26am local time.

“The location was at the side gate located close to the security post of the Makassar Cathedral Church.

“A number of churchgoers were injured and are currently being treated at a hospital. The bishop and priests serving the cathedral parish are all fine.

“All priests and faithful are called to stay calm and to stay alert. Let security officers handle this case in accordance with existing regulations.

“Let us bring the incident to our prayers.”