Pastor shot dead in pulpit

By WND Staff

Four masked men shot dead a Presbyterian pastor as she spoke from the pulpit at her church in Central Sulawei, Indonesia.

According to the Barnabas Fund, which assists persecuted Christians around the globe, the killers arrived by motorbike at the Presbyterian Christian Church during last Sunday’s 6 p.m. service. They opened fire on the Rev. Susianty Tinulele and members of the worship team.

The group says Tinulele was shot in the head and died instantly. Four teenagers were hospitalized with serious injuries and one, a 17-year old girl, has since died.

Tinulele is the latest victim of what appears to be a campaign to assassinate Christian leaders in Central Sulawesi that began in November. She had taken food to a fellow pastor, Rinaldy Damanik, in prison two days before her death, and her support for him may be one reason she was targeted, Barnabas Fund reported.

Central Sulawesi’s police chief, Brig. Gen. Taufik Ridha, believes the campaign to kill prominent Christian figures may be an attempt to disrupt this year’s elections in Indonesia. When police arrested suspected Jemaah Islamiah militants last year they found detailed descriptions of church services and lists of Christian officials.

Violence is also directed against Sulawesi Christians who are not church leaders, according to the monitoring group. The night before Tinulele’s death, Mrs. Helmy Tombiling, 35, died from nine stab wounds to her chest and stomach, which were inflicted by attackers outside her home in Poso.