A firecracker explosion occurred near Santo Yusuf Catholic Church in Ambarawa, Central Java, at around 2 p.m. local time on Thursday.
The explosion shocked local residents and church guards who were working together to prepare areas around the church for a scheduled Easter mass event at 5 p.m. The church guards immediately reported the explosion to Sabhara quick response unit personnel, who were on duty at the church during the incident.
The police moved quickly, arresting the alleged perpetrator, identified only as MF, 37, an unemployed man from Bergas Lor village in Bergas district, Semarang regency.
Semarang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Vincentius Thirdy Hadmiarso confirmed the incident. “We have taken the suspect into custody and confiscated firecrackers and other items as evidence. We have also summoned his family and the community unit [RW] head to get information,” he said.
According to local residents and RW head Supono, MF suffers from a mental illness, which Supono said began after his father died six years ago. “We will call a psychiatrist to confirm over whether or not he suffers a mental illness,” said Thirdy.
Only one out of several home-made firecrackers prepared by the alleged perpetrator exploded. The incident caused neither injury nor damage as MF allegedly set the firecrackers on the side of a road outside the church, which is located on the Semarang-Yogyakarta highway.
“Sixteen pieces of evidence, including firecrackers and used supplement drink bottles, have been confiscated. Our personnel will further investigate the case,” Central Java Police spokesperson Djarod Padakova said.