At around 7:30 on the morning of May 11, in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, a normal day turned into a nightmare as terror struck Indonesian Christians once again. Our partners in Indonesia tell us that four believers were beheaded by Islamic extremists—in the same region where four believers were beheaded and burned alive in November 2020.
The four murdered men were part of Kalimago village; they were killed by attackers believed to be the same terrorist group that attacked Sigi village six months ago. The victims were between the ages of 42 and 61.
Open Doors local partner Ari Hartono* says the attack comes as a shock to believers in Central Sulawesi who are still reeling from the November attacks: “Central Sulawesi locals are still traumatized from the terrorist attack in Sigi last November and have not recovered yet,” he says. “They need our prayers now.”
While the terrorist group, believed to be East Indonesia Mujahdin, was the first Indonesian group to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014 and the victims were believers, it’s uncertain if the attack was religiously motivated. It could be an act of survival, Ari explained.
“After the Sigi incident, the terrorists in Central Sulawesi have been increasingly pressed by the police and the army. Their logistics are exhausted. The only way to survive is to rob people of foodstuffs. In this area, there are many farmers who live in the forest far from the village, and they were the ones targeted by the terrorists.”
This latest attack is the third one on Indonesia Christians in the last six months, including the November 2020 Sigi village attack and the recent Palm Sunday bomb attack on a church in Makassar. Indonesia is No. 47 on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List.
When Open Doors first heard about the violent attacks on four believers in Sigi Village last November, our partners rushed to the area and spent days attending funeral services for the men, praying with villagers, meeting with them and verbally expressing our continued support that would soon come in aid and relief.
Since the attack, our partners have walked with these villagers. Most recently, our team led trauma counseling, persecution awareness seminars, a training for Sunday school teachers and devoted specific time with traumatized children who witnessed the murders of these men. For a believer named Kandi, that attention was invaluable for her two young boys who witnessed the killing of both their father and grandfather.
“The lessons I learned have opened up my paradigm about the real situation believers face who defend their faith in Christ,” said Jenati, a participant in the trainings. “This moves me to carry out God’s call faithfully.”
‘Pray for the Peace of God’
Open Doors local partners are now trying to reach out to the churches and victims of the families in Kalimago village. Our partners have walked with traumatized believers in Sigi village since the day of the attack. In the meantime, Brother Ari asks for our prayers for the Central Sulawesi area and shares his:
Pray for church leaders in the village, pray for the victims’ families and also pray for the police and army, that they can protect all people in that village. Pray for Madago Raya Task Force as they are hunting this terrorist group. Pray for protection over God’s people in Poso and Central Sulawesi. As long as these terrorists are not caught yet, the threat is lingering. People are afraid to go to their field, therefore they cannot work and produce crops. This will affect their economic [situation]. Pray for His angels to encamp surround His people and deliver them from any evil scheme.
Pray also that we can connect with the families of the victims. Pray for the peace of God to cover this area. Fear and intimidation are trying to take over people’s hearts, but God’s power is more powerful. May the heart of His people be reminded of that truth.
This is a developing story. We will post updates as soon as they are available.
This article originally appeared here.