One of two suicide bombers who attacked a cathedral in Indonesia on Sunday was a member of a radical movement that supports the Islamic State (IS) and carried out previous attacks on churches in the country and in the Philippines, police announced.
“He was a member of the JAD,” national police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo told journalists, referring to the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah. “This group is also part of the one that conducted an operation in Jolo, in the Philippines,” in 2019.
About 20 people were wounded in Sunday’s attack, perpetrated against a church in the town of Makassar, on the eastern island of Sulawesi. The two attackers were killed as they were riding into the church compound on a motorcycle.
The attack, occurred at about 10.30 a.m. local time (5.30 a.m. Belgian time), after the Palm Sunday mass.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo described it as an “act of terror.”
“Terrorism is a crime against humanity,” the Indonesian President recalled, “I call on the entire world to fight against terrorism and radicalism, which are contrary to religious values.”
Priest Wilhelmus Tulak told journalists that the attack occurred as parishioners were leaving for home at the end of the Palm Sunday mass.
The tradition of religious tolerance in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, has been severely tested in recent years by the development of conservative, and even extremist, religious movements.
This has prompted minorities such as Christians, Buddhists and Hindus to express fears for religious coexistence.