06 October 2022

Palm Sunday church attack in Indonesia

Church-goers have been injured in a suicide bombing outside a church in Indonesia on Palm Sunday.

At 10:28am on Palm Sunday (28 March 2021), an explosion happened as worshippers were on their way home from a service in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Please pray with us for the church in Indonesia.

“It’s important that we come alongside when they are suffering. They must know that they are not alone,” says Sam*, Open Doors’ coordinator for work in South East Asia.

Brother Sam continues: “Some believers have been severely wounded, and all present have been traumatised. Their lives will never be the same. We ask the worldwide church to pray for their brothers and sisters in Makassar.”

None of the worshippers were killed – Covid-19 restrictions meant that not many people were attending church. It’s reported that 20 people were wounded, and are being treated for burn injuries in several hospitals in Makassar. At least one of the suicide bombers died in the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet

Police say the other suspects are two men on motorbikes. A priest from the church told local media that one bomber tried to enter the church but was stopped by a guard. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, though Indonesia has seen an increase in church attacks by militant Islamic groups in recent years. Indonesia is currently number 47 on the World Watch List, up two places in the past year.

“In Indonesia, the situation for Christians has been deteriorating in recent years, with Indonesian society taking on a more conservative Islamic character,” says Brother Sam. “Christians who grew up in a Muslim home often experience persecution from their families. At the same time, Islamic militants carry out attacks from time to time. Many share the ideology or are even affiliated with global terrorist movements such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.”

Open Doors’ local partners are on the ground assessing the situation and will give more updates as they come.

*name changed for security reasons

  • For protection for other Indonesian churches and courage for believers
  • Thank God that no worshippers were killed in the attack
  • That God would protect worshippers around the world during the Easter period, where church services are often particularly vulnerable to attack.
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