Indonesian Christian Community Demands Further Investigation of Attacks

Church leaders in Indonesia are pushing police to step up investigative efforts concerning church shootings in Palu.
( [email protected] ) Dec 15, 2004 05:41 AM EST

Two days after a brutal attack on a church in Palu, Church leaders have openly voiced their demands that the government launch a deeper and more thorough investigation into the incident that left three people hospitalized. The two suspects that had instigated the attack are still at large.

Apparently, two assailants abruptly burst into church during Sunday service and opened fired with semi-automatic rifles. Afterwards, the suspects fled the scene. Later that evening, terrorist detonated a car bomb near another church in Palu – injuring an additional five people.

This morning, church leaders urged government officials today to look into the presence of nine spent bullet-casings, manufactured under the state’s chief arms manufacturer, PT Pusat Industri Angkatan Darat (PT Pindad), that were left behind at the time of the shooting.

“We demand that the management of PT Pindad be questioned and investigated as to why the weapons and ammunition fell into the hands of irresponsible people,” Protestant minister J. Toding said in written statement signed by 20 Palu church leaders in the presence of five visiting dignitaries from the House of Representatives. The dignitaries arrive two days afterwards to address the grievances concerning the attack.

Since PT Pindad exclusively manufactures its products for the TNI (Indonesian Military), there have been rising suspicions that elements in the military were involveud. Evidence obtained from the armed attacks in Palu and Poso have bolstered these claims.

Toding continued by saying that evidence found in PT Pindad could potentially be the key to bringing the recent rash of attacks in Palu and the Poso regency to an end. Nonetheless, he also expressed dismay over the police’s slow reaction and inability to put an end to the recent strings of attack.

“The government has to prioritize security here, otherwise the condition in Palu will become unstable,” church leader Manampiring said to the Antara news agency.

Early in July, Palu woman minister Susianti Tinulele was ruthlessly gunned down while delivering a sermon by mysterious gunmen. At the time of this writing, investigations into the killing has not turned up suspects nor substantial evidence.

The victims of the attacks on Sunday, meanwhile, remain hospitalized. Nonetheless, hospital staff has reported that the individuals' condition has stabilized, and that they are currently awaiting recovery.