4 children become orphans in Surabaya, Sidoarjo bombings

Police stand guard at police headquarters following a suicide attack in Surabaya, Indonesia May 14, 2018.
PHOTO: Reuters

At least four children belonging to two of the three families behind the string of bombings in Surabaya and Sidoarjo, East Java, on Sunday and Monday, became orphans after their parents were killed in the explosions.  

In the blast at the Wonocolo low-cost apartments (Rusunawa) in Sidoarjo, AR and two of his younger siblings, FS, 11, and GA, 10, lost their father Anton Ferdiantono, mother Puspitasari and eldest brother HR, 17.

Anton apparently mishandled highly sensitive explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and triggered an explosion that instantly claimed the lives of Puspitasari and HR. Anton died later after police officers gunned him down to prevent him from triggering another bomb. Police believe that the TATP explosives were going to be used by Anton, who was later known as a member of terror network Jamaah Ansharud Daulah (JAD), to launch another attack in the city. 

The youngest in Anton's family, GA, will have to undergo intensive medical treatment at the Bhayangkara Ngagel Hospital for burns. 

Like AR, FS, and GA, who suddenly became orphans, Ais, 8, the daughter of alleged suicide bomber Tri Murtiono, 50, also lost parents and two brothers during the suicide attack that involved two motorcycles at the Surabaya Police headquarters on Monday. Tri, his wife Tri Ernawati, 43, and their other sons, MDA, 16, and MDS, 14, died instantly in the motorcycle bombing. Luckily, Ais survived the blast and was saved by a police officer who happened to be close to the blast site. She was rushed to the nearest hospital to receive treatment. 

Local media reported that National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian saw the Sidoarjo bombing orphans on Monday. 

Tito said it was the first time that terrorists in Indonesia had taken along children in their suicide bombings. 

“In Syria, [terror network] the Islamic State has used children several times in their attacks,” Tito told reporters in the press conference. “But, this is the first time it happened in Indonesia.”

East Java Police have reportedly asked for a helping hand from several psychiatrists to assist the orphaned children in dealing with their psychological trauma.

In the suicide bombings on three churches in Surabaya on Sunday, an entire family of six were killed. The suicide bombers are identified as Dita Oepriyanto and wife Puji Kuswati, along with four children, YF, 18, FH, 16, FS, 12, and PR, 9. Dita is known as the JAD leader of the Surabaya chapter.

13 dead, 40 injured in Indonesia church attacks

  • A family of six including two young daughters staged suicide bombings at three Indonesian churches during Sunday services,
  • killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.
  • The bombings at three churches in Surabaya were Indonesia's deadliest for years, as the world's biggest Muslim-majority country grapples with homegrown militancy and rising intolerance towards religious minorities.
  • The church bombers -- a mother and father, two daughters aged nine and 12, and two sons aged 16 and 18 --
  • were linked to local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) which supports IS, said national police chief Tito Karnavian.
  • Local media reports say they may have returned from Syria, where hundreds of Indonesians have flocked in recent years to fight alongside IS in its bid to carve out a caliphate ruled by strict Islamic law.
  • The mother, identified as Puji Kuswati, and her two daughters were wearing niqab face veils and had bombs strapped to their waists as they entered the grounds of the Kristen Indonesia Diponegoro Church and blew themselves up, Karnavian said.
  • The father, JAD cell leader Dita Priyanto, drove a bomb-laden car into the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church while his sons rode motorcycles into Santa Maria church, where they detonated explosives they were carrying, Karnavian said.
  • Karnavian said Sunday's church attacks may have been revenge for the arrest of some of JAD's leaders and for the prison crisis which eventually saw the surrender of the radical inmates.
  • President Joko Widodo called for Indonesians to "unite against terrorism". "The state will not tolerate this act of cowardice," he told reporters in Surabaya.
  • East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera confirmed the deaths of 13 people in the church bombings, with about 40 injured in the coordinated attacks

At least 25 people died and 55 others were wounded in the bombings in Surabaya and Sidoarjo. 

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks, it said via its propaganda agency Amaq.

The group has also claimed responsibility for the riot at the National Police's Mobile Brigade headquarters (Mako Brimob) in Depok, West Java, which led to the deaths of five members of the police’s elite counterterrorism squad, Densus 88, and a 36-hour standoff between terror inmates and security forces.