Churchgoers and Priest Injured by Sword Attack at St. Lidwina Church in Indonesia
02/12/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on February 11 a 22-year-old university student attacked a priest and churchgoers with a samurai sword at St. Lidwina Church in Yogyakarta, Java, injuring four people.
Suliyono, the young man believed to be a university student, first entered from the west door of the church, shouting in the outer yard. Suddenly, while still yelling, he attacked one of the churchgoers. According to a witness, “One of the fathers who was carrying his son was hit by the sword. He was on the outside yard.” The congregation under the canopy quickly dispersed, as Suliyono moved on to the main church building.
Suliyono then ran forward and attacked priest Karl Edmund Prier who was leading the mass and one other remaining congregant who was still inside the church. He also slashed the statues of Jesus and Mary near the pulpit of the church.
A police officer, Officer Munir, arrived on the scene and tried to negotiate with the perpetrator to surrender. However, Suliyono instead attacked Munir, leading him to fire a warning shot. Yet Suliyono did not relent and injured Munir’s hand. The assailant was then shot in the stomach and transported to the hospital.
In a video shared by Detik News, Suliyono can be seen swinging his sword at the altar and later apprehended by police.
This is the second time in Indonesia that a violent assault has been carried out against a priest while presiding over the Eucharist. In August 2016, a teenager attacked a priest with a knife and axe during mass after a bomb in his backpack failed to explode.
A Christian pastor in West Java familiar with Christian persecution in Indonesia believes that “this attack did not specifically target Catholics, rather it is a random attack against any Christian church due to hostility.” No radical Islamic group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but according to the pastor, “Suliyono must be brainwashed by radical thoughts, as he called his father before the attack and said he will marry ‘virgin’ in heaven, a reward for carrying out acts of terror and martyrdom believed by jihadists.”
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The attacker sought to create chaos and conflict at the church, but the church responded calmly to the attack, preventing further casualties. Thankfully, the police arrived in time to apprehend the perpetrator. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims at St. Lidwina Church, and we pray for the recovery of all those who were injured during this attack.”
For interviews with Gina Goh, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org