Archon News

Indonesia: Archbishop escapes two Islamist attacks

On June 1, ChristianPersecution.com reported that police had arrested eleven suspected Islamic militants accused of plotting attacks at several Christian churches. Now it emerges that a principal target in these plots was Roman Catholic Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke (Papua Province).

All Christians in Indonesia are more threatened now than ever before. This persecution is, as in so many other countries, often sanctioned by authorities.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Indonesia, see here.

“Papua: Merauke archbishop escapes two Islamist attacks,” by Mathias Hariyadi, Asia News, June 3, 2021:

Merauke (AsiaNews) – Two terror attacks were planned against Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke (Papua Province) this year but he was able to escape both.

Police have arrested 11 people in connection with the terrorist groups that planned the attacks.

The prelate himself spoke about the incidents in a letter sent to Indonesian Cardinal Ignazio Suharyo.

The first attempt took place on 1 January 2021, “the day I arrived in Merauke to begin my term as archbishop, after my service as bishop in the Diocese of Amboina”, the 72-year-old Mandagi told AsiaNews.

“A suspected terrorist wandered into the bishop’s residence. He was even warmly welcomed by Father John Kandam, the secretary of the archdiocese, since he had asked about a potential house for rent,” the archbishop said.

“He had brought with him some well-packed explosive material in his backpack. But by pure coincidence I was not around, because I had been asked to go to Buti, where the first missionary priest had arrived in Merauke district.”

On Tuesday, Merauke police chief Untung Sangaji confirmed Mandagi’s version. Citing Fr Kandam, Sangaji said that a potential terrorist disguised as a “guest” was looking for the archbishop, saying that he was from the Diocese of Manado, in the North Sulawesi province.

“He carried a bomb ready to explode, but once he realised that the archbishop was not there, he cancelled his plan.”

Archbishop Mandagi, who now heads the Indonesian Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is originally from Manado province.

The second attack against the prelate was supposed to take place last Sunday, during Mass in the cathedral of the Diocese of Merauke.

“The plan was to detonate explosives in the cathedral, but again luckily I wasn’t around. I was still in Kepi, Mappin district, celebrating some confirmations,” Archbishop Mandagi explained.

Police arrested 11 people in two raids. Last Friday, Densus 88, the counter-terrorism squad of Indonesia’s National Police, and local police in Merauke captured 10 suspects most likely affiliated with terrorist groups linked to the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group.

“The 10 people [arrested] are linked to the Ansharut Daulah network, which has connections to IS,” said Inspector General Argo Yuwono, head of the public relations division at the National Police headquarters.

Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) is the terrorist group that planned the recent attack on Makassar Cathedral during Palm Sunday celebrations….

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