Not less than fourteen people were wounded last Sunday, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a Catholic church in the Indonesian city of Makassar. According to the police account, the attack took place at Sacred Heart Cathedral, on the island of Sulawesi on Palm Sunday, the first day of the Easter Holy Week, while the congregation had been inside the Church at the time of the explosion. National police spokesman, Argo Yuwono said authorities were looking into which radical networks the bombers came from. He also disclosed that the Police were also probing whether the attack was linked to recent arrests of suspected militants. According to Reverend Father Wilhemus Tulak, a priest in the parish, a suspected bomber tried to enter the Church grounds on a motorbike, but had been stopped by a security guard. The bombers reportedly struck just as the Mass was ending. Boy Rafli Amar, the head of the country’s National Counterterrorism Agency, described Sunday’s attack as an act of terrorism. Makassar Mayor, Danny Pomanto said the blast could have caused far more casualties if it had taken place at the Church’s main gate instead of a side entrance.
“Whatever the motive is, this act isn’t justified by any religion because it harms not just one person but others, too,” Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister, said in a statement. Gomar Gultom, Head of the Indonesian Council of Churches, described the attack as a “cruel incident” as Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday, and urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities. In January, 2021, a counter-terrorism unit raided a militant hideout in Makassar and killed two men suspected by police of involvement in twin bombings at a Philippine Church in 2019 that killed more than 20 people. Security camera footage showed a blast that blew flame, smoke and debris into the middle of the road. 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 subsequent years, security forces in Indonesia scored some major successes in tackling militancy. Police did not say who might be responsible for the attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Police blamed the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah group for suicide attacks in 2018 on Churches and a police post in the city of Surabaya that killed over 30 people.