Singapore condemns bomb attacks on churches in Indonesia; PM Lee offers assistance

This picture taken on May 13, 2018 shows a candlelight vigil in the city of Medan on Indonesia’s Sumatra island to support the victims and their relatives of a series attacks at churches in Surabaya, East Java. Photo: Ivan Damanik / AFP

In the wake of deadly explosions that rocked three churches in Indonesia yesterday, Singapore has issued a strong condemnation of the “heinous attacks” that have so far taken 11 lives and injured 40 others, including police officers.

The blasts in Surabaya, East Java, hit Santa Maria Church in Ngagel Madya, Gereja Katolik Indonesia on Jalan Diponegoro, and Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya (GPPS) Church on Jalan Arjuno Surabaya. The explosions occurred within minutes of each other at around 7:30am local time.

“The heinous attacks resulted in the loss of innocent lives and caused injuries to many,” wrote Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement. “Singapore expresses its deepest condolences to the bereaved families, and wish the injured a quick recovery.”

According to MFA, there are no reports of Singaporeans directly affected or injured by the blasts. Citizens currently in Surabaya are advised to heed the instructions of local authorities, closely monitor the local news, and register themselves with the MFA.



Indonesian bomb squad examines the site following a suicide bomb outside a church in Surabaya on May 13, 2018.
Photo:  Juni Kriswanto / AFP

Both President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have since sent their condolences to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on the ghastly attack.

“Singapore strongly condemns such wanton attacks, which have led to the tragic loss of innocent lives and caused injuries to both civilians and the police,” President Halimah wrote, sending commiserations on behalf of Singaporeans. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Indonesia during this time of grief.”

On his end, PM Lee offered condolences on behalf of the government and assured the president that Singapore stands ready to work with Indonesia to bring the responsible to justice.

“Singapore strongly condemns such senseless and callous acts of violence against civilians at places of worship,” PM Lee noted. “I am confident that the Indonesian Government will be able to deal with the situation decisively.”


The Islamic State

PHOTO: Juni Kriswanto / AFP

AFP reported that the Islamic State (IS) group was responsible for suicide attacks against three churches in Indonesia that killed at least 11 people on Sunday, it said via its propaganda agency Amaq.

“Three martyrdom attacks killed 11 and wounded at least 41 among church guards and Christians,” it said via the Telegram messaging app.

To add an even more shocking development, Indonesia’s National Police Chief announced that the attacks are believed to have been carried out by members of a single family. Investigators believe that the family was not only linked to the Surabaya chapter of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah — a terrorist network with connections to Islamic State — they were also among 500 Indonesians recently returned from Syria who had gone to the Middle East to fight with IS, and they had spent some time with the terrorist group learning about terrorist tactics and bomb-making methods.

The attacks occurred just days after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for a prison riot at the Mobile Brigade Command Center (Markos Brimon) detention center in Depok, West Java, during which convicted terrorists killed five police officers before being subdued.

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