JAKARTA: A suspect Suicide bomber exploded in front of a catholic church Sunday in the Indonesian city of Makassar, injuring some people on the first day of Easter Holy Week, police and a witness said.
The congregation was inside the church on Isle Sulawesi at the time of the explosion, South Sulawesi police spokesman E. Zulpan told Reuters. He said it was not clear whether the body parts at the scene came solely from the attacker.
Father Wilhemus Tulak, a church priest, told Indonesian media that the suspected terrorist attempted to enter the church grounds on a motorcycle, but was stopped by a security guard. Ten people were injured in total, some seriously, he said.
Security camera footage showed an explosion that threw flames, smoke and debris in the middle of the road.
Police did not say who could be responsible for the apparent attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Police accused the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group of suicide attacks in 2018 on churches and a police station in the city of Surabaya, which killed more than 30 people.
Makassar, Sulawesi’s largest city, reflects the religious makeup of Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world with a significant Christian minority and followers of other religions.
Gomar Gultom, head of the Indonesian Council of Churches, called the attack a “cruel incident” as Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, and urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities.
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 the following years, the security forces in Indonesia achieved major successes in the fight against militancy, but more recently there has been a resurgence of militant violence.
Makassar Mayor Danny Pomanto said Sunday’s explosion could have claimed many more lives if it had taken place at the church’s main door instead of a side entrance. (Additional reporting by Stanley Widianto; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Matthew Tos