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Indonesia: Family Mourns Toddler Killed in Church Attack

Traditional music in Indonesia

Traditional music in Indonesia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Two-year-old Intan Olivia Banjarnahor wore a lace-trimmed pink hat and twirled around in a knee-length dress on Sunday, the morning she was fatally injured in a Molotov cocktail attack at a church in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, her father recalled.

The victims of the attack were all children. Apart from Intan, whose family routinely attended Sunday services at the Oikumene Church in the Sengkotek area of Samarinda, the provincial capital, three other children – all under the age of 5 – were injured in the blast in front of the place of worship.

Among the others, Triniti Hutahaya, who is 3, remains in critical condition at a local hospital, her aunt said. The other two, Alvaro Aurelius Tristan Sinaga, 4, and Anita Kristobel Sihotang, 2, are still receiving medical care at the A.W. Sjahranie Hospital in Samarinda.

“The church is not far from home, and Intan was eager to go there to meet and play with her friends,” her father, Marbun, told BenarNews.

His voice quivering, he described how Intan waited impatiently that morning, tugging on her mother’s dress.

The attack on Nov. 13 marked the fourth time in recent months that suspected militants targeted members of Indonesia’s Christian minority – which represents 10 percent of the population of the Muslim majority nation – in acts of violence or other types of threats.

On Aug. 28, a would-be suicide bomber failed to detonate his bomb in a packed church in Medan, North Sumatra province, during Sunday Mass. The alleged perpetrator, an 18-year-old man, used an axe to attack a priest before being detained.

On Nov. 7, suspicious packages shaped like homemade bombs were found at the courtyard of a church in Bireuen, Aceh, and in a Buddhist temple in Lhokseumawe, Aceh province. Police determined that the packages were not bombs, but considered the incidents to be acts of terror.

And on Monday, two motorcyclists threw Molotov cocktails at a Buddhist monastery in West Kalimantan, and a Catholic church in East Java received a bomb threat, police said.

At least three suspects have been arrested in connection with Sunday’s attack in East Kalimantan. On the day of the attack, neighbors were able to capture the man suspected of throwing the Molotov cocktail. He was out on parole following his conviction on attempted bombing charges.

Full story: BenarNews

East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Copyright ©2016, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.