Christians Threatened with “Bloody Christmas”

24 December 2002

Islamic militants in Bitung, Sulawesi, have threatened a “Bloody Christmas” 
warning that they will detonate bombs at key sites, including churches, in the 
town, according to a local newspaper:

“Threat of ‘Bloody Christmas’ in Bitung”
“The group that planned the Makassar bombing has threatened to explode bombs in 
Bitung as part of their plan to execute a “Bloody Christmas".  A number of 
terrorists have already taken up their positions in the town.  Also a number of 
youths have been specially “trained” by this terrorist group.  The police chief 
in Bitung, the Mayor and the head of the city council separately confirmed that 
they had discussed the threat and were taking concrete steps to prevent it.  
They are guarding the petroleum depot (Pertamina), the telephone and electricity 
depots, places of worship and other important facilities over the Christmas, New 
Year period.”

“It is strongly suspected that those planning the bombings are part of the 
Suryadi network.  Suryadi, one of the Makassar bombing suspects, is involved as 
a trainer with the Moro Liberation Movement and has been delegated by Jemaah 
Islamiyah to destroy North Sulawesi through Bitung.  If Bitung can be targeted, 
especially if the petroleum depot is hit, the whole of North Sulawesi will be 
shaken. There are reports that 5 bombs have been hidden in preparation to hit 
vital targets.”

Taken from Komentar, a local newspaper in Manado, Sulawesi, 19 Dec 2002

Pray
As you celebrate Christmas this year, please remember to pray for Christians and 
others in Bitung who face an uncertain and fearful holiday season.  Pray for 
protection, that no bomb blasts or attacks will occur.  

Pray too for peace and reconciliation in the town (home to 10,000 Christian 
refugees) where tensions have grown over the past year.  Local Christians report 
a dangerous atmosphere and a town which doesn’t “feel safe” anymore.


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