Guarantee of peaceful Christmas in Indonesia sought

Guarantee of peaceful Christmas in Indonesia sought
Christians hold candles during a Christmas mass prayer at Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 5, 2015. Picture taken December 5, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) chairman Ignatius Suharyo has said that Christians want to celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in peace without the fear of a terrorist attack.

"I hope nothing will happen. If something happens, it will tarnish the image of our country," said Ignatius after meeting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the State Palace on Tuesday as reported by kompas.com.

He expressed optimism that the government would do its best to protect people, including Christians, from any threats.

During the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), Jokowi promised that the holiday season would be secured so that it could be enjoyed by people across the country.

"I would like to reassure people that the government can guarantee that Christmas and New Year's will be secure," said chairman of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) Bambang H Widjaja.

Bambang said the President had instructed security personnel from various law enforcement agencies to anticipate security disturbances, including attempted terrorist attacks during Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Jokowi, Bambang added, did not want Indonesia's image tarnished by something bad happening.

The National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad arrested nine people in a number of places in Java and Sumatra over the weekend. They were suspected of planning to carry out attacks over the holiday season. The police are hunting down another suspected terrorist.

The police learned of planned attacks on houses of worship, high-ranking police officers, government officials and Densus 88 agents from those arrested.

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