Joko Harmono files this report from Indonesia:
Christians slain by Terrorists during Church Service
by Joko Harmono
POSO, INDONESIA, Nov 30 2003: Tonight, as the congregation in Tabamawo, 120 km (70 miles) east of Poso, sat attentively, taking in the sermon being delivered by their pastor’s wife, Sandra Tengker, two gunmen arrived on motorcycles, coming to the Church door and delivered their fatal shots.
It was 7.30 pm and the service was nearing its end. The Christians had spent a time in prayer praying for the Indonesian Government and for peace in the land when the terrorists broke in. Ruslam (32) and Arifin (28) were slain being shot several times each in front of the congregation and their families, leaving their young wives and children in shock. Moda (37) is still fighting for his life and has been transported to the Ampana District Hospital. Moda was shot through the face and in the back and even if he survives will need much intensive care. Two others were wounded and survived, Sandra Tengker, the pastor’s wife and Yulmin (23).
Another terrorist attack occurred just fifteen minutes earlier at 7.15 pm, 175 km (110 miles) away to the west, on the other side of Poso, reports Ferdinand Saerang of Poso Watch. “Kilo Trans a majority Christian village consisting of Balinese Christians and Balinese Hindus was attacked during evening prayers at the local church by 20 well-armed and well-trained gunmen shooting wildly into the houses,” he said. It was a miracle that there were not more deaths and injuries. The community was spared the bullets ripping through their homes as they were in church praying.
Two Balinese Hindu men were caught up in the panic of the attack. Mr. I Made Simson aged 27, died instantly, and Mr. I Ketut Sarman (Village Chief) aged 43 died on route to the Poso Hospital. Several others were wounded and then the terrorists disappeared into the night.
The Jakarta English daily, Jakarta Post reporter, Irvan NR, reports that, “Attacks on villagers resumed in October of this year, initiated by a group of masked gunmen, claiming 10 lives. Police reinforcements were dispatched to Poso, but the violence has not subsided,” he said.
All the attacked villages are Christian majority villages and this is not a communal conflict. It is a one-side organized massacre of innocent people carried out in the name of Allah by violent hate-charged Islamic extremists trying to extend the authority and wealth of their religion. Such bigoted violent terrorism must not be allowed to continue. It is a disease that must be exterminated.