Indonesian police: Weekend church suicide bombers were married couple


dpa/GNA – The people who carried out a suicide attack outside a church in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province at the weekend were a newly married couple, police said on Monday.

Twenty people were injured when two people on a motorbike detonated explosives as they were being stopped by security guards at the gate of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in the provincial capital of Makassar on Sunday.

The suspects belonged to the local branch of the militant network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and were linked to another couple who carried out a deadly twin-bombing in the southern Philippines in 2019, national police spokesperson Argo Yuwono said.

“The couple got married six months ago,” Argo told reporters.

Indonesian couple Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani Saleh carried out an attack that left 23 people dead at a cathedral in Jolo, the capital of Sulu province in the Philippines, in January 2019, according to Philippine authorities.

National police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the husband, identified by his initial L, left a goodbye message for his parents.

“He said that he was ready to be a martyr,” Listyo said at a news conference on Monday.

Listyo said police had arrested five people in West Nusa Tenggara province in connection with the attack.

Investigators also found five bombs and explosive materials during the raids on houses in Jakarta and the neighbouring suburb of Bekasi, he said.

Late on Sunday, Listyo said the attackers were members of the local cell of JAD, a domestic militant group that supports Islamic State.

“The person belonged to the group whose members were arrested some time ago,” Listyo said, referring to the arrest of 18 JAD suspects and the killing of two others in Makassar in January.

“This group is connected to the group that carried out the attack in Jolo,” he added.

JAD has been blamed for a series of militant attacks in Indonesia in recent years, including suicide attacks on three churches in Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city, in 2018.
The coordinated attacks involving two families, including children, killed 15 people and 13 attackers.

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