An explosion rocked a Roman Catholic cathedral complex in the eastern Indonesian city of Makassar Sunday morning, destabilizing calm on Palm Sunday, a holy day for Christians.
A regional police spokesman said that none of the church goers had been killed, but that at least 19 people were being treated for injuries in Makassar hospitals. The blast is still being investigated, but President Joko Widodo said it was an act of terrorism.
The explosion occurred at around 10:20 a.m. at the gate of the Sacred Heart Cathedral complex of Jesus, said Inspector General Radin Prabowo Argo Yono, spokesman for the Indonesian National Police.
Mr Argo said that shortly before the explosion, church security personnel stopped two people on a motorcycle, fearing that they were trying to target the cathedral just as mass was about to end.
A video clip from the site, taken shortly after the explosion, showed burning debris and palm fronds strewn on the ground.
Coombs Zolfan, a district police spokesman, said body parts found at the site of the blast of a man and a woman were presumed to be the detonators.
Father Wilhelmus Tolak, a priest at the cathedral, told Metro TV, an Indonesian network, that a parking operator had been burned while trying to stop the two people on the motorcycle, which he said looked suspicious.
Muhammad Ramadan Bomanto, mayor of Makassar, a multi-religious coastal city of about 1.5 million people on the island of Sulawesi, told Metro TV that body parts were found 200 meters away.
Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, has a large Christian minority. Mr. Goku, President of the Republic, denounced what he called “terrorism” in the cathedral, and said that “the state guarantees the safety of those who are religious to worship without fear.”
In a statement, Mr. Goku said he had ordered the police to “conduct a thorough investigation into the perpetrators’ networks and dismantle the network to its roots.”
In recent years, ISIS branches in Southeast Asia have targeted Christian places of worship in Indonesia and in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.
In 2018, Three Christian churches were bombed In Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, dozens of pedestrians have been killed. The suicide bombers were a married couple and four children. Within days, members Two other families also detonated bombs In Surabaya, they blow themselves up.
last year, A Roman Catholic cathedral was bombed For the third time on the island of Jolo, southern Philippines, killing at least 14 people. As with the Surabaya bombings, a local subsidiary of Islamic country It claimed responsibility for that strike. a Suicide attack 2019 In the cathedral itself, in which more than 20 people were killed, it was carried out by an Indonesian couple.
An Indonesian clerical council condemned the Makassar explosion, calling it inhumane and inconsistent with the teachings of all religions practiced in the country. He urged the Council not to link the incident to any particular religion.