|Indonesia: Tentena Bombing; What’s Next for Christian Victims?
13 June 2005
CBN.com - An Indonesian community, devastated by violence, is struggling to recover. The two bomb blasts, recently in May, ripped without warning through a Christian marketplace in Tentena , Indonesia . It was the worst since the Bali bombing of 2002.
We went quickly to Tentena to bring this exclusive story to Christian World News, and to discover how the Christian community there is coping in the blasts’ aftermath.
Pandemonium broke loose at a local market in Tentena when the first bomb exploded at around 8 in the morning on the busiest market day of the week.
Four persons were instantly killed including a mother and her 3-yr-old son.
Many people ran to the scene to rescue the injured. One of them was Berni Tungkanan.
Bernie planned to help the victims but 10 minutes later, he himself became a victim as a second bomb exploded. It took 17 lives, including Berni’s.
The sound of weeping was everywhere.
Berni left behind 4 children and a wife pregnant with their 5th child.
A day or so later CWNews caught up with his widow Lince Tungkanan at her husband's grave.
Lince said to us, "I am still in shock. I have four children and I am pregnant. I think about how I can raise them. I sell fish in the market so I can feed them and send them to school. My children always ask about their father."
Both Leni Lengkono’s parents were also victims of the bombing. Their store was near the bomb site.
Leni told us her father didn't make it; her mother survived, but suffered severe damage to her left leg and it had to be amputated.
Leni said, "I hope all the victims will be strong, in facing this reality. I pray that this time the government will solve the problem. There have been many violent incidents in the past but they remain unsolved."
Most of the residents in Tentena believe the violence was triggered by upcoming local elections slated for July.
Political analyst, Mona Sorainsong, serves as Coordinator for the Crisis center. She said political corruption is the major reason the bombings occurred—corrupt government officials benefit when crises occur.
Sorainsong explained, "When everything is calm and we are at peace, there's no funds. And also, everyone has to seek to support themselves, make their own living. But when there is conflict, there is extra money coming in, there's also lots of funds coming from foreign aid."
Coordinator Sorainsong also believes the attacks were incited by jihad forces working in areas which are predominantly Christian.
Pastor I. P. Lambe is a senator from south Sulawesi , and spoke with concern about the town of Poso . He is concerned about how the Christian minority will respond to the Tentena bombings.
Pastor Lambe said, "We're very much concerned about the situation here, because the people here in Poso feel they are treated like ‘a second class’ in Indonesia . They feel like they are being neglected."
Muslim senator Faisal Mahmud says the federal government needs to take “more comprehensive action” in central Sulawesi to prevent future acts of violence.
Mahmud said, "Special attention should be taken by the government regarding the problems here."
As for the surviving Christian victims, some have forgiven. Leni Lengkono said, "I just pray for the people who have done this thing that they will repent and God will forgive them."
By Jay Esteban -
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