Four Christian men were beheaded in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
It is believed to have been carried out by Islamic extremists belonging to the terrorist group, East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT).
The attack is the second in the last six months after four other Christians were killed at a Salvation Army outpost in Sigi, Central Sulawesi in November 2020.
Graphic video footage of Tuesday’s killings has emerged showing one victim’s decapitated body being retrieved.
Open Doors’ local partner in Indonesia Ari Hartono* says it is not clear at this stage whether the attack in Kalimago Village, Poso Regency was religiously motivated.
“Central Sulawesi locals are still traumatised from the terrorist attack in Sigi last November and have not recovered yet.
“We’re not sure if the attack is religiously motivated even though the victims are Christians.
“It could be an act of survival. After the Sigi incident, the terrorists in Central Sulawesi have been increasingly pressed by the police and the army.
“Their logistics is exhausted. The only way to survive is to rob people of food. 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.”
All four of those killed were Christians – two victims were members of the Mamasa Toraja Church, another from Toraja Church, and one from a Catholic Church in the area.
According to local media reports, Central Sulawesi Police have confirmed the attack.
The terrorists are also believed to have taken five million Indonesian rupiah (IDR) – about £250 belonging to one of the victims.
Initially, it was reported that two people had been killed, but after the Madago Raya Task Force combed the area, they discovered the bodies of two others. The victims, all men, were aged between 42 and 61.
Local partners of Open Doors are now trying to reach out to the families of the victims.
Calling for prayer Ari said:“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.
“Pray for protection over God’s people in Poso and Central Sulawesi. As long as these terrorists are not caught, the threat lingers.
“People are afraid to go to their field, therefore they cannot work and produce crops. This will affect their economic situation.
“The Madago Raya Task Force are hunting this terrorist group. We pray for their protection, strength and wisdom to do their job, and pray that they will catch these perpetrators.”
*Name changed for security reasons