Pope Francis prayed for Indonesia on Palm Sunday, after suicide bomb attack on a cathedral church wounded at least 14 people.
“Let us pray for all the victims of violence,” Pope Francis said in remarks to the faithful praying the Palm Sunday Angelus with him in St Peter’s Basilica on Palm Sunday, “especially those of this morning’s attack in Indonesia, in front of the Cathedral of Makassar,” on the southwest coast of South Sulawesi, about halfway between Jakarta and West Papua.
Police said two attackers attempted to gain entry to the cathedral church of the Sacred Heart in Makassar on Palm Sunday, and detonated at least one explosive device. Police said both attackers died in the explosion. They found body parts and a destroyed motorbike at the scene.
An act of terror
“We were finishing the service and people were going home when it happened,” Fr. Wilhemus Tulak of the cathedral parish told reporters.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo condemned the attack as an “act of terror” and has ordered an investigation.
Islamic terrorists have carried out similar attacks on churches in the past – including a 2018 incident in which a family of suicide bombers attacked different churches on a Sunday in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, and a 2002 assault on Bali holidaymakers, in which 202 people died – but no group has claimed responsibility for the Palm Sunday violence.
Indonesian authorities arrested one of the senior commanders of the Jemaah Islamiah terror group, which orchestrated the 2002 Bali attack, late last year.
In December of 2020, anti-terrorism police took Aris Sumarsono – alias Zulkarnaen – into custody, reportedly without resistance.
Investigators suspect Zulkarnaen of involvement in building the bombs used for the Bali attacks and those in a 2003 bombing, which killed a dozen people at a J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta.