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Indonesia church suicide bombers were newlyweds who learnt bomb making online

Indonesia church suicide bombers were newlyweds who learnt bomb making online

Police officers stand guard near a church where an explosion went off in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sunday, March 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Yusuf Wahil)

JAKARTA: The two suspected suicide bombers who attacked a Catholic church in Makassar, Indonesia were husband and wife who received online training on bomb making, authorities said on Monday (Mar 29). 

Speaking at the scene of the attack, the head of the Indonesian National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) Commissioner General Boy Rafli Amar said they have uncovered the identity of the suspects. 

“They are husband and wife," he said, adding that the pair were millennials with one of them being born in 1995.

National police spokesman Inspector General Argo Yuwono in Jakarta said that the couple got married six months ago.

Both were employees in the private sector, he added. “The investigations are still ongoing, including to uncover other suspects,” said the spokesman. 

READ: About 20 injured after suspected suicide bombing at Indonesian church

On Sunday morning, two suspected suicide bombers arrived at a Catholic church in Makassar on a motorcycle. 

They tried to enter the cathedral but a security officer stopped them. This was followed by an explosion shortly after. 

The two suspects were killed and about 20 people were injured. As of Monday afternoon, 15 people remained in hospital while the rest have been discharged. 


Officials have announced that the suicide bombers are members of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah extremist network which is often referred to as JAD. 

The perpetrators were also part of a JAD group that had carried out a previous bombing in Jolo, the Philippines, said the police, adding that Sunday’s attack used a pressure cooker bomb.

Responding to a query about how the suicide bombers assembled the bomb, Commissioner General Amar of the BNPT on Monday said they had received online training.

"There is information related to online training on social media developed by them. So they developed the procedure for making explosives, and have some senior sources who were trained abroad,” he said.

Meanwhile, national police chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the suspected suicide bombers were wed by a JAD member who was arrested in January. The couple also left a will. 

Following Sunday's bombing, the police arrested four people who belonged to the same study group as the alleged bombers. 

"They are in a study group named Vila Mutiara, where each plays the role to spread doctrine, plan for jihad, and also play a role in buying materials to be used as tools for suicide bombings," said the police chief. 

The police have also arrested four people in Jakarta and Bekasi, on the outskirts of the capital. Five bombs that were ready to be used and as well as ingredients to make bombs were discovered, he said.

Another person was arrested in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara province on Monday.

Source: CNA/ks