Makassar. A bomb exploded near a church in the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar on Sunday morning with police suspecting involvement by a suicide bomber.
Three or four people were rushed to hospital for injuries, but it remains unclear how many people were killed in the incident.
“What we know so far is that there was a lone perpetrator,” South Sulawesi Police Chief Insp. Gen. Merdisyam told local news website Detik.
Body parts believed to be those of the bomber were found at the scene on Jalan Kajaolalido.
According to reports, the bomb went off in front of Cathedral Church at 10.28 a.m.
“A number of churchgoers, maybe three or four of them, were sent to hospital,” the officer said.
Within an hour, a footage from security camera circulated among journalists.
It shows a relatively quiet traffic in front of the church went suddenly a powerful blast rocked the road, sending thick smoke and a blaze.
A car passing near the explosion almost ran out of control. At least four people can be seen walking out of a building into the sidewalk just went the bomb is about to explode.
Father Wihelmus Tulak, who led the Sunday service, said the explosion occurred just after the second round of mass was completed.
“The third round was scheduled for 11.00 a.m. and we heard the explosion before [the Mass] began,” Wilhelmus told Beritasatu TV.
The impact of the explosion shattered glasses that injured a number of churchgoers, he said.
In a statement, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas strongly condemned the attack and urged police to increase security measures at worship places.
“Whatever the motive is, this attack cannot be justified by any religion because it only does harm to other people,” Yaqut said.
“The police need to increase security profile around worship places to make sure people can observe their faith peacefully. This kind of violence can potentially rip apart the well-established harmony among our societies.”
(The story has been updated with remarks from officials)