JAKARTA —- A man wielding a sword attacked several churchgoers in the city of Yogyakarta on the main island of Java before being shot by the police on Sunday (Feb 11). The man is said to have stabbed a priest and three others, including a police officer, before slashing at the statues of Mary and Jesus. The condition of the victims are not immediately clear.
The man was shot in the stomach and is being treated at a local hospital. The police have yet to determine a motive, and cannot confirm if it was a terror-related incident. Investigations are ongoing. About 100 people were attending the mass at the church in Sleman town when the man barged in wielding a 1m-long sword and began attacking people seemingly indiscriminately, AFP reported.
A congregation member Andhi Cahyo said a few minutes after the mass started, a congregation member barged into the church with a bleeding head. A young man holding a sharp weapon was chasing him. “Everybody started panicking and screaming, I was scrambling to save my wife and children,” Cahyo told AFP.
People in the church ran out through another door and the assailant pursued them while also destroying church property. He also attacked a priest who was standing at the altar. Police arrived on the scene shortly after the attack and fired a warning shot into the air to subdue the perpetrator, who refused to surrender.
“After the warning shot was fired, the attacked charged towards the officer with his sword. The officer then shot him below his stomach, but he managed to injure the cop before being subdued,” Cahyo said. All victims have been taken to Panti Rapih hospital for treatment.
The incident was the latest attack in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country against a minority group in Indonesia, which is home to significant numbers of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. In 2016 several children were injured after a man allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at a church during a Sunday service.