Child injured in Samarinda church bomb attack has died
by Mathias Hariyadi

Two year old Olivia Intan Marbun did not survive her wounds and burns. She was playing with other children in front of the church when the improvised explosive device exploded. The assailant, Johanda, had already been arrested for terrorism and has ties with the Islamic State.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The first victim of the attack yesterday at the church Samarinda (East Kalimantan) is a two year old girl, who did not survive her wounds and the burns. Olivia Intan Marbun was playing with other children in front of the church, waiting for her parents, when an improvised explosive device exploded overwhelming her and other children. Triniti Hutahayan (4 years), Anita (4) and Alfaro Sinaga (5) are in serious condition.

All of those wounded in the attack belong to the Batak ethnic group, members of the Protestant Batak Church. Police arrested the alleged assailant, Jo Bin Muhammad Aceng Kurnia known as Johanda, an ex-convict for terrorist crimes, suspected of having links with the Islamic state.

Johanda was arrested in May 2011 for plotting attacks on the science and technology center in Puspitek Serpong (South Tangerang, southwest of Jakarta) and the Gading Serpong church. Sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment, the terrorist was released on bail in 2014, during the Islamic holiday of "Eid Mubarak." It is tradition that during this period some prisoners can get their sentences reduced, as is the case with Christians during Christmas. Much of civil society is now asking if this measure is not too permissive towards terrorists.

Instead of repenting, Johanda continued to plan attacks up to yesterday. According to the head of the Indonesian police, Tito Karnavian, "Johanda is a member of the Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT)," an Islamist movement founded by Abu Bakar Bashir. The latter, 77, was sentenced in August to 15 years in prison for having financed a fundamentalist training camp in Aceh.

Johanda along with five other people were arrested in connection with the attack yesterday.

The Synod of Protestant Churches in Indonesia (PGI) has released a document describing the terrorist attack "as a human tragedy". Violent acts, the statement said, can never be the best solution to solve the problems: "We ask the police to deal with this emergency as soon as possible. Intolerance can not be tolerated in any form, including the hate speech that led to the protests of recent weeks ".

The reference is to the protests against the Christian Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, accused of blasphemy. According to many analysts, they are part of a political plan to bring down the President Joko Widodo.