Explosion outside cathedral in Indonesia

Daniel Fowler
March 29, 2021

Several people in the Indonesian city of Makassar were wounded after a suspected suicide bombing outside of a Catholic church on Sunday.

The explosion, in the city of Makassar, wounded nine people - five church workers and four worshippers - provincial police chief Merdisyam said.

Mayor of Makassar, Mohammad Ramadhan Pomanto said that body parts were found within 200 metres from the scene, and added that no churchgoers had been killed.

Indonesia's worst ever terror attack was in Bali in 2002, when 202 people - mostly foreigners - were killed in an attack on a tourist nightlife district. "Whatever the motive is, this attack can not be justified by any religion because it only does harm to other people", he said.

He urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities.

At a press conference in Jakarta, National Police Spokesman Argo Yuwono said police are investigating the suspects.

"We are still searching other members of the group and I have ordered the Densus 88 to pursue their movement", Prabowo said, referring to Indonesia's elite police counterterrorism squad.

The Russian Embassy in Indonesia said that, according to preliminary information, only the attacker was killed in the Sunday blast.

Indonesian police examine the site outside a church after an explosion in Makassar
Indonesian police examine the site outside a church after an explosion in Makassar

Rev. Wilhelmus Tulak, a priest at the church, said he had just finished celebrating Palm Sunday Mass when a loud bang shocked his congregation.

Pope Francis also invited prayers for the victims of Sunday's violence at the end of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, which opened Holy Week ceremonies at the Vatican.

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

An Indonesian cathedral was rocked by a suicide bombing on Sunday with body parts littering the chaotic scene as Christians inside celebrated the start of Holy Week.

Makassar, the biggest city on the island of Sulawesi, reflects the religious makeup of Indonesia, which is the world's largest Muslim-majority country but has a substantial Christian minority, among other religions.

Police blamed an Islamic State-inspired network, the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group, for the attacks.

The attacks were carried out by a family of six, including two daughters aged 12 and 9, who were reportedly Islamic State sympathisizers and had recently returned from Syria.

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