Outspoken Christian Pastor Shot Dead in Indonesia

An outspoken Christian pastor, the Rev Irianto Kongkoli, was shot in the back of the head twice while shopping in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province of Indonesia.

Indonesians mourn near the body of Christian pastor Irianto Kongkoli in Palu, in Indonesia’s central Sulawesi province, October 16, 2006. An unidentified gunman shot dead Kongkoli on Monday in Indonesia’s central Sulawesi province, officials and church groups said, sparking fears of a return to sectarian fighting that once gripped the region. (REUTERS/Bayu Mazki)

The BBC reports:

The Rev Kongkoli was buying construction materials at a shop when he was targeted, a spokesman for the provincial government’s information bureau said.

“He had finished bargaining for some tiles when someone called him back into the store. When he entered, two shots were fired at the back of his head,” Jethan Towakit told Reuters news agency.

Central Sulawesi governor Bandjela Paliudju told reporters he believed the killing may have been linked to last month’s executions.

“He was an outspoken priest who many times led Christian protests against the executions,” Mr Paliudju said.

A police investigation is underway. “We need to make sure such killings do not happen again,” national police chief Gen Sutanto said.

Fabianus Tibo, Marianus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva were killed by firing squad on 22 September, despite a plea for clemency from the Vatican and concern at the fairness of their trial by human rights groups.

The Rev Kongkoli spoke out against the execution of 3 Christians that was carried out in late September:

Central Sulawesi Protestant Church (GKST) Synod secretary Rev. Irianto Kongkoli said that Fabianus Tibo’s disclosure of the identities of several people believed to have masterminded the Poso violence received very little response from the authorities, and instead three innocent men were to be executed.

“I don’t believe a farmer could have masterminded the conflict. They are only victims. The one who should be severely punished is Arief Patanga,” Kongkoli said.

Arief Patanga was the Poso regent from 1992 to 1997. The Poso conflict began toward the end of his term. There have been allegations that in an attempt to win reelection he mobilized supporters, which eventually flared into religious violence.

In related news, a poll was released this weekend claiming 1 in 10 Indonesian Muslims back jihad. The murder of Rev. Irianto may be a sign of this.
“19 million for jihad”

Michelle Malkin has an update on this tragedy.
Rusty Shackleford calls on bloggers to make a stand.

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