Noviana Malewa, after treatments to minimize scarring from the machete attack
In many ways Noviana Malewa is like any other teen-aged Christian girl in Indonesia. But it is her eyes – which reveal a sadness and strength far beyond her years – that are different, and give evidence of the emotional and mental trauma of her own experience with radical Islam, a new report concludes.
That, and the machete chop scar that runs from her cheek bone across her face down onto her neck, says the report from Voice of the Martyrs.
As WND has reported, Noviana and three of her friends were walking on a school path Oct 29, 2005, when they were assaulted by radical Islamic jihadists wielding machetes. Noviana was the only survivor, and suffered the massive slash across her face and neck; the other three girls were decapitated.
VOMedical, a division of the outreach to persecuted Christians worldwide that deals with medical issues, eventually was able to arrange transportation for Noviana to a hospital in Surabaya, and officials are planning to continue follow-up physical treatment.
“Though Noviana’s physical scars are beginning to heal, she still struggles with the emotional and mental scars from witnessing the brutal murder of her three friends. Yet, she remains steadfast in her faith,” the group confirmed in its report.
Noviana and her friends had been taking a small footpath on their way to their Christian high school in Poso, Indonesia, when radical Islamists dressed all in black jumped suddenly from the jungle and began slashing the girls with machetes.
VOM reports that Noviana fought back as she was struck, then fell to the ground and rolled down into a ravine. Above, she heard her friends screaming.
Just as she was about to lose hope, a van of soldiers appeared and the attackers fled. The soldiers then took her to a hospital.
But she had to be hidden in a Christian village and guarded by police because her testimony was needed in court, and the radical Muslims who had killed her friends still were hunting her. At that point it was too dangerous even to leave her in a hospital, but after months of negotiations to guarantee her safety, arrangements were made for her to be in the Surabaya hospital, VOM said.
She’s had successful surgery and VOM is working on continuing care, officials said. She suffered from an involuntary tick in her eye and another near her mouth because of the nerve damage from the slash, and she also suffered other nerve damage and a dislocated jaw.
Surgery was used to help repair the damage from the attack from Ils
Earlier reports said daily massages are being used to stimulate nerve repair and skin salves must be given daily. Plastic surgery also was obtained to reduce the scarring.
Authorities said Theresia Morangke, 15, Yarni Sambue, 15, and Alfita Poliwo, 17, were killed in the attack. Their heads were found in bags on the steps of a church and along a road, carrying a message, “We will murder 100 more Christian teenagers and their heads will be presented as presents.”
The Pakistan Christian Post reported that Noviana recalled streaming with blood.
“All I could do was pray to Jesus for his help,’ she said.
According to a subsequent report in The Jakarta Post, the Islamic suspects in the deaths have confessed to the fatal attack. Authorities reported that the suspects have ties to Noordin Top, who is considered a key leader of the Al-Qaida-linked group Jamaah Islamiyah.
There also have been reports that the defendants told authorities they planned the murders as a “gift” to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
VOM is a non-profit, interdenominational ministry working worldwide to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith, and to educate the world about that persecution. Its headquarters are in Bartlesville, Okla., and it has 30 affiliated international offices.
It was launched by the late Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who started smuggling Russian Gospels into Russia in 1947, just months before Richard was abducted and imprisoned in Romania where he was tortured for his refusal to recant Christianity.
He eventually was released in 1964 and the next year he testified about the persecution of Christians before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, stripping to the waist to show the deep torture wound scars on his body.
The group that later was renamed The Voice of the Martyrs was organized in 1967, when his book, “Tortured for Christ,” was released.