Three Local Churches Bombed in Surabaya, Indonesia

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Source: Antara Photo / Jakarta Globe
By Beth Westwood | 15 May 2018

Three churches were targeted in a series of suicide bombings on Sunday 13 May in Surabaya, Indonesia. At least 28 people were killed and 57 were injured, including police officers and children. 

The six suicide bombers, who also died in the attack, were from the same family. A husband, wife and their four children co-ordinated the attack, some of them as young as nine and 12. 

It was the first time in the nation’s history that women and children were used in a suicide attack and it’s the deadliest attack in Indonesia in more than a decade.

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Image: Damage from the bomb blasts.

"This act is barbaric and beyond the limits of humanity, causing victims among members of society, the police and even innocent children," said President Joko Widodo.

The three explosions took place at Santa Maria Catholic church, Protestant church GKI Diponegoro and a Pentecostal church, GPPS.  

Jemaah Ansharuut Daulah (JAD) an extremist group pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State, are believed to be behind the attack. However, authorities have not confirmed the claim.

Since the church attacks on Sunday morning there have been two more bomb blasts.

At the police headquarters in Surabaya at 8:30am on 14 May, another family of five on motorbikes detonated their device at the entrance. It has been suggested the blast killed at least 7, but is yet to be confirmed. 

A bomb was also prematurely detonated at an apartment in Sidoarjo, which is believed to be linked to the church attacks.


The Response

Within hours after the tragedy, Open Doors rushed to the site to assess possible needs. We will continue to work through our local partners to ensure the needs of the local church are met. 

Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the attacks during his Sunday audience in St Peter's Square.

"Together we invoke the God of peace to cease these violent actions, and in the heart of all, find space not for hatred and violence but for reconciliation and fraternity," he said.

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Image: Near the areas of attack in Surabaya.

Indonesia is ranked number 38 on the 2018 World Watch List and is a majority Muslim country.

The bombings occurred days after prisoners linked to the Islamic State killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a jail outside Jakarta.

Can You Pray?

  • Pray for the victims and their families that God brings them strength and comfort. Also pray for the recovery to those who were injured, physically and emotionally.

  • Pray for the Lord's intervention and protection; may He change the hearts of those planning future attacks. 

  • Pray for the church in Indonesia. Pray believers and church leaders respond as Christ did and stand as beacons of light, hope, and forgiveness in this tragic situation.

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