As many as 90,000 soldiers will be guarding more than 50,000 churches across Indonesia in an effort to thwart terror attacks during Christmas.
Francis Xavier Ping Tedja, security coordinator at Santa Maria Church, told UCA News earlier this week that 70 police officers and members of Banser — the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest moderate Muslim group in the country, will guard the church for Christmas services.
The church in Surabaya, East Java, was attacked by suicide bombers in May. The terrorists, linked with the Islamic State terror group, targeted three churches in the world’s most populous Islamic nation, killing 18 people.
As police combat terrorist threats, the nation’s leaders continue to work on reconciliation efforts that include terror attack survivors meeting face-to-face with people who’ve carried out bombings.
One former Islamic radical who killed three people in 2002 spoke of his regret for what he did.
“I have repented and I will help the government educate others not to follow a radical path as I did,” Mokhtar Daeng Lau said at the time.
Another man by the name of Sumarno, who took part in 2002 Bali bombings where Islamic radicals killed over 200 people, added: “I deeply regret what I have done. I did not expect that so many victims were our brothers and sisters.”
By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter