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17 June 2011

Church: Woman Abducted By Men in Islamic Clothing

god-n-guns.jpgChurch elders on Friday claimed a woman from their congregation in East Java had been kidnapped by suspected Islamic hard-liners .

Rev. Yessaya Malino, head of the Pentecostal church in Situbondo, told the Jakarta Globe that church member Aprilia Dyah Kusumaningrum had disappeared on Wednesday night after a church service.

Rev. Nico Lamboan, Aprilia’s former teacher, said the 22-year-old had texted her mother at 9 p.m. and told her she had been forced into a car by a group of unknown men.

“Her mother called me and forwarded her message,” Nico said.

“It said: ‘Mom I’m really scared, I’ve been forcefully taken into a car by some men in white robes and headscarves, I don’t know where they’re taking me.’ ”

She added that family and friends had tried to call Aprilia’s cellphone immediately after receiving the message, but the number was already unreachable. They also went out to look for her, but to no avail.

“She’s new at the Pentecostal church,” Nico said. “She told me she really loved her job, but she never mentioned anything about a kidnap threat.”

Yessaya confirmed the church had never received any threats or intimidation from any parties prior to Wednesday’s incident. He added there had also been no ransom demands since Aprilia’s disappearance.

“This is very unexpected and we still don’t know what’s going on,” he said.

He added he had reported the case to the Situbondo Police.

“We’re obviously very concerned, but I think it’s a little too early to confirm this is a kidnapping. Hopefully it’s not.”

When the Globe first attempted to confirm whether a police report had been filed, Adj. Comr. Sunarto, the Situbondo chief of detectives, denied receiving any reports of a kidnapping.

However, a local journalist speaking on condition of anonymity said that a church representative had indeed gone to the police station to file a report. The journalist added that officers had prohibited reporters from taking any pictures at the time.

Sunarto later acknowledged that the Pentecostal church had filed a report. “We’re still investigating the case,” he said. “We just want to be extra careful because it’s related to religious issues, so please try to understand.”

The incident, if confirmed to be a kidnapping by Islamic hard-liners, would be the latest in a disturbing trend of intolerance.

Theophilus Bela, secretary general of the Indonesian Committee of Religions for Peace, said recently that while police were on high alert for such incidents in large cities, smaller towns, where security measures were lax, were prone to outbreaks of intolerance.

However, Hendardi, who chairs the human rights Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, warned against concluding that Aprilia was kidnapped as a result of religious intolerance. “With limited information about the case, we should not accuse anyone,” he said.



05:23 Posted in Indonesia | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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