Aged Four and Scarred for Life: The Children Who Survived the Indonesian Church Attack

Photo Credit: Open Doors USA

(World Watch Monitor) Two-year-old Anita Sihotang cannot bear the sound of her father’s motorbike because it reminds her of the noise of the explosion last November, when a petrol bomb was thrown into a church park where children were playing, killing one child and seriously injuring Anita and two four-year-olds. Whenever her father turns the key in the ignition, she runs away.

“It was so heartbreaking to see them on that dreadful night,” recalls Anita’s father, Jackson. “We felt so powerless.”

Anita, and four-year-olds Alvaro Sinaga and Trinity Hutahaean, had been playing after Sunday school in the grounds of their church in Samarinda, East Borneo, on 13 November 2016. The suspect, Juhanda bin Muhammad Aceng, reportedly threw the bomb into the church grounds as the children waited for their parents to come out after the end of the service. He was reportedly wearing a black t-shirt with the message, “Jihad Way of Life.”

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