Four hurt in East Kalimantan church explosion, one suspect arrested

JAKARTA - Four people, including children, were hurt after a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan was hit by an explosion on Sunday (Nov 13) after 10am local time.

A male suspect, wearing a black t-shirt with the words "Jihad", has been arrested in connection with the attack but police are on the hunt for his accomplice, who managed to flee the scene.

Samarinda police chief Colonel Setyobudi Dwiputro told local media on Sunday that the suspects were on a motorcycle when they threw what was believed to be a low-grade either a Molotov cocktail or low-grade home-made bomb.

The suspect who was nabbed at a nearby river shortly after the attack was only identified with the letter "J". His age was not given but he appeared to be in his early 20s.

Initial investigations are still ongoing, but Col. Setyobudi said the man who was arrested was born in Bogor, West Java but lived in a neighbourhood mosque in Samarinda.

The young man appeared to have suffered some injury to his face when he was apprehended but it was not clear from early reports on how he had sustained the injuries.

This year, Indonesia has seen a number of such attacks, where one or two young men strike, often with home-made bombs or improvised explosive devices (IED), including one case in July when a suicide bomber was killed when trying to hit a police outpost in Solo, Central Java.

In August, an 18-year-old attacked a church in Medan, stabbing a Catholic priest after the bomb he was carrying failed to detonate.

Such cases have prompted the Indonesian authorities to start a new multi-agency deradicalisation effort aimed at reaching out to the young in a bid to prevent early indoctrination of extremism, particularly from members of domestic terror groups loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

wahyudis@sph.com.sg