Three other children between the ages 2-4 are still being treated at the hospital with possibly one in critical condition.
Please pray for the injured children, their parents and Olivia’s grieving family.
“Suddenly, at about 10:00 in the morning, we heard [an] explosion from outside,“ Mr. Johny Hatagalung, a church member, told ICC. “People were running out using the front and back door of the church. Women were crying and terrified. We saw four children were burned – injured badly – while one was only lightly injured.”
“These children were calling their parents and crying, ‘Why they did they do this Mummy? I did not do any wrong,'” Hatagalung continued.
Olivia died on Monday, November 14, after sustaining burns to three quarters of her body. ICC has learned that three children are still being treated with serious injuries and one has been discharged with only light injuries. Little Intan (pictured), aged four, lost her fight for life early this morning, the victim of a bomb attack on her church in Indonesia yesterday. Three of her friends, Alvero, Triniti and Anita, were also badly burned. The youngest is just two years old.
Please pray for Intan’s grieving family and for the other three children as they recover in hospital.
Several petrol bombs were thrown into the car park at Oikumene Christian Church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan province, at 10.30am yesterday. The church service had just ended and the congregation were heading back to their vehicles. The children were first to reach the car park. Police have confirmed that the main suspect is a convicted terrorist who was released on parole in 2014. A man was detained after a citizen’s arrest close to the scene.
- Pray that our loving God who ‘heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:3) will be very close to the families of Intan, Alvero, Triniti and Anita.
- Ask God to fill members of Oikumene Christian Church with His peace. Pray they will put their complete trust in Him and not be cowed by fear.
- Pray that the authorities will clamp down on extremism and intolerance, to prevent a return to the intense persecution Christians in Indonesia suffered in the past.
(Sources: Release partners; The Jakarta Post)
The perpetrator, Jo Bin Muhammad Aceng Kurnia (also known as Johanda), reportedly visited a mosque before he drove to the church wearing a shirt with the words “Jihad way of life.” When he arrived at the church, he threw a Molotov cocktail into a parking lot where children were playing. The suspect attempted to escape by jumping into a nearby river, but was caught by locals and brought to the police. Four others have reportedly been arrested in connection with the attack.
This is not the first time that Kurnia has been arrested for radical Islamic activity. In 2012, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in the “book-bomb” plot, in which Islamic radicals planned to mail bombs disguised as books to a cultural center and a church. He was released early during Eid Mubarak, in which some prisoners’ sentences are traditionally reduced. In 2014, he was found with an Islamic State flag when he was allegedly attempting to locate and kill his wife.
Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world, and although most Muslims are moderate, the activities of radical groups have been growing and religious intolerance seems to be on the rise. Over the past weeks, tens of thousands of protesters were mobilized by a conservative Islamic group called the Islamic Defenders Front (IDF), alleging that Jarkarta’s first Chinese Christian governor had spoken blasphemously about the Quran. Some called for violence during the protests and even the death of the governor. The group is threatening larger protests until the governor steps down.
The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace also noted that recorded cases of religious violence are increasing significantly in Indonesia on an annual basis.
These threats do not pertain to only Indonesia’s Christian minority. Only hours after the church bombing, two bombs were detonated at a Buddhist temple in West Kalimantan, injuring three, and a Catholic church on the island of Java received a bomb threat.
Daniel Harris, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “ICC strongly condemns this attack against Christians which has claimed the life of an innocent child and left others maimed. Indonesia has a rich history of religious tolerance and cooperation that is being threatened by radical ideologies. The Indonesian government is not doing enough to stop the growth of radical activity nor to protect those at risk of violence. We encourage the Indonesian government to not only swiftly condemn such attacks, but to prosecute perpetrators of religious violence and protect members of ethnic and religious minority groups.”