150,000 police officers have been dispatched to the North Sumatra province of Indonesia to guard churches during the Christmas season. WORLD Magazine reports the officers were ordered to protect the churches in response to growing concerns of Islamic terrorism in the region.
Police commissioner Hamam Wahyudi said that the officers have been in place since mid-December. Riot police are also on alert.
According to WORLD, Christmas attacks have previously occurred in the region. A series of Christmas Eve church bombings killed 18 people in 2000; Islamic terror group Jemaah Islamiyah was suspected to have orchestrated the attacks.
Christians are a minority population in Indonesia and Christian persecution is common. However, Indonesian pastors report Christianity is on the rise despite the constant risk of persecution.
Publication date: December 22, 2015