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Indonesian churches get extra security for Christmas

Major effort to ensure a safe festive season

Indonesian churches get extra security for Christmas

File photo shows Indonesian police on a security operation

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

December 23, 2013

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Indonesian police have stepped up security at churches, particularly those that frequently experience interference, to prevent a possible terror threat during Christmas.

Police spokesman Ronny Franky Sompie said on Sunday that a total of more than 144,000 combined personnel will be deployed nationally to ensure a safe, secure Christmas.

"We ask for citizens’ cooperation to report any suspicious individuals around them," Sompie told reporters.

The news was welcomed by Father Paul Dalu Lubur CICM, parish priest at St. Bernadette Church in Ciledug, Tangerang province.

"We've asked for more police personnel to maintain security at our church,” he told today. “Since September radical Muslims have been protesting against our Sunday services.”

St Bernadette, which has about 11,000 parishioners, has obtained a government permit to erect a church but has been consistently hampered by Muslim opposition.

For this Christmas they will hold services in a large tent on the land where parishioners hope their church will one day stand.

Pastors in Jakarta called on their congregations on Sunday to help police work by not carrying any suspicious materials when they come to the church during the Christmas period.

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