Surabaya bombing survivors grieve over loss of loved ones

JAKARTA • Ms Lucia Cicilia Agan has kept her phone by her side in the past few days as she waits for news from a police hospital in Surabaya about her cousin.

Mr Aloysius Bayu Rendra Wardhana, 38, was among those who died in the church bombings in Surabaya on May 13.

"We are still waiting for (results from) the DNA identification process in Jakarta. On Tuesday morning, DNA samples from Bayu's child and father were taken to Jakarta," said Ms Agan.

Of the 13 who died in the Surabaya church attacks, Mr Wardhana, the last to be identified, is the only one whose body has not been returned to the family.

He died at the Santa Maria Church, where he was the leader of the church's youth group. On the day of the bombing, he was responsible for the building's security.

Mr Wardhana had tried to block the suicide bombers - the 18-year-old and 16-year-old sons of Dita Oepriarto, the Surabaya head of Jamaah Anshar Daulah - who rode a motorcycle and carried explosives.

"His wife and mother are in a state of deep sadness," Ms Agan said, adding that her cousin had a three-month-old baby.

The family is now waiting for his body to be returned so that they can hold a funeral for him.

East Java police's medical unit head, Senior Commissioner Budi Heryadi, said the process was taking a long time because of the state of Mr Wardhana's body.

Sadness also engulfed the family of Vincentius Evan Hudojo, 11, and Nathanael Ethan Hudojo, eight, victims of the same church attack.

Their mother Wenny Angelina was injured in the explosion.

At the funeral, Ms Angelina gently sprayed perfume on her sons' bodies and put their favourite things in the coffins, including a toy gun, clothes and hats.

She had to return to the hospital after the ceremony to have shrapnel removed from her body.

On Sunday, Ms Angelina and her two sons, who were heading for mass at the church, had just got out of their car when the motorcycle sped past them and the bomb exploded. Vincentius Evan died at the scene, while Nathanael Ethan died later at the hospital.

The provincial capital was shaken by a series of coordinated bombings that struck three churches across the city on Sunday morning, killing 13 civilians, most of whom were Christians attending religious services.

Later in the evening, a bomb believed to have been prepared for a terror plot exploded prematurely at a low-cost apartment in neighbouring Sidoarjo regency, killing three members of a family who allegedly planned the plot.

The next morning, another blast involving a family of five occurred at Surabaya police headquarters, killing four members of the family. An eight-year-old survived the attack and is undergoing intensive treatment under tight supervision.

An extremist group linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is believed to be behind the attacks.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2018, with the headline 'Surabaya bombing survivors grieve over loss of loved ones'. Print Edition | Subscribe