Swordsman Attacks Catholic Church In Indonesia

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

A sword-wielding man attacked a Catholic Church in Indonesia, decapitating statues of Christ and injuring four people before police shot and detained him.

Video showed the 22-year-old attacker, identified only by the name Suliyono, decapitating statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary during Sunday mass at St. Lidwina Church before lunging at congregants who tried to keep him at bay by throwing books at him, according to The Associated Press. Police eventually shot Suliyono, who is now hospitalized, and said that his motives for attacking the church are not yet known.

“We oppose any movement that denies the diversity and the unity of our nation,” Yos Bintoro, a priest at the church, said of the attack and of any potential overreaction by the public, according to the AP.

Suliyono wounded 81-year-old priest Karl Edmund Prier, a police officer who tried to intervene, and two others at the church. Those injured suffered wounds to their heads, backs, and necks, but are not in critical condition. The attack is the latest in a series of recent attacks on religious figures in Indonesia, leading up to local and general elections, according to Jakarta Globe.

While police said they have not yet ascertained the attacker’s motives, Islamic militants in Indonesia often target churches and other non-Islamic religious figures.

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