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Indonesia: Police arrest 11 suspected Islamic militants accused of plotting attacks at several Christian churches

In Indonesia as elsewhere, Christians are a tiny, embattled minority, more threatened now than ever before. The targeting of churches means that Christians can never worship in peace without being in fear for their very lives.

There is a small and courageous community of Orthodox Christians in Indonesia, numbering around 2500 people.

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

“Police arrest 11 suspected militants in Indonesia’s Papua,” by Niniek Karmini, Associated Press, May 31, 2021:

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police said Monday they have arrested 11 suspected Islamic militants accused of plotting attacks at several Christian churches in easternmost Papua province.

On Friday, the elite counterterrorism squad arrested 10 suspects in several raids in Papua’s Merauke district after receiving information about planned attacks in the province, a predominantly Christian region in Muslim-majority Indonesia, Merauke police chief Untung Sangaji said.

The arrests led police to another suspect who was detained Sunday, and led them to seize items from various locations including chemicals for explosives, modified air guns able to fire real bullets, jihadist books and documents on planned attacks, he said.

Sangaji said those arrested are suspected of being members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and carried out a series of suicide bombings in Indonesia.

“They allegedly planned to attack churches in several places in Merauke,” Sangaji said. He declined to provide more details, saying that the investigation is still underway.

He said some of the suspects are believed to have links to a suicide attack outside a Roman Catholic cathedral during Palm Sunday Mass in March in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi, that wounded 20 people.

Arrests of suspected Islamic militants are rare in Papua, a former Dutch colony in the western part of New Guinea that is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia. It was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969 after a U.N.-sponsored ballot that was seen as a sham by many….

New threats have emerged in recent years from Islamic State group-inspired radicals who have targeted security forces and local “infidels” instead of Westerners.

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