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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Indonesia police shoot sword-wielding man who attacked church

Four people were injured by the attacker, including a priest

Police officers investigate inside St Lidwina Church in Sleman following an attack there on February 11, 2018. Slamet Riyadi / AP
Police officers investigate inside St Lidwina Church in Sleman following an attack there on February 11, 2018. Slamet Riyadi / AP

Indonesian police have shot a sword-wielding man who attacked a church congregation during Sunday mass, injuring four people.

Around 100 people were attending the mass at the church in Yogyakarta province when a man barged in with a one-metre-long sword and began attacking people seemingly indiscriminately.

"Four people have been injured in the incident — quite seriously — but we still cannot determine the perpetrator's motive," Yogyakarta police spokesman Yulianto said of the attack in the town of Sleman.

According to one member of the congregation, Andhi Cahyo, a few minutes after the mass started another congregation member barged into the church with a bleeding head. A young man holding a sharp weapon was chasing him.

"Everybody started panicking and screaming, I was scrambling to save my wife and children," said Mr Cahyo.

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People in the church ran out through another door and the assailant pursued them while also destroying church property.

He also attacked a priest who was standing at the altar.

Police arrived on the scene shortly after the attack and fired a warning shot into the air to subdue the perpetrator, who refused to surrender.

"After the warning shot was fired, the attacked charged towards the officer with his sword. The officer then shot him below his stomach, but he managed to injure the cop before being subdued," Mr Cahyo said.

All victims have been taken to hospital for treatment.

The incident was the latest attack against a minority group in Muslim-majority Indonesia, which is home to significant numbers of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

In 2016 several children were injured after a man allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at a church during a Sunday service.