At Least 548 Killed in Ramadan Road Exodus

JAKARTA ~ At least 548 people died and 702 were seriously injured on Indonesian roads during an annual mass exodus to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, police said on Tuesday.
Every year millions of people in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation head from cities to hometowns and villages to celebrate the Idul Fitri holidays that mark the end of the fasting month.
“There were a total of 1,181 road accidents during the week before and after Idul Fitri involving 2,121 vehicles,” national police spokesman Abubakar Nataprawira told reporters.
“Most of the 548 killed were motorcycle drivers and passengers,” Nataprawira said.
Motorcycles, readily available through cheap credit schemes, have become one of the most popular means of travel during the annual exodus.
Most of the accidents took place on choked roads on the densely populated main island of Java, Nataprawira said.
Nataprawira said police would monitor road accidents until the end of the week, when the official migration period has ended and most holidaymakers are expected to have returned to the cities.
“I hope until the end of this week the figure will not exceed last year’s deaths,” he added.
According to police figures, 789 people were killed in road accidents during last year’s Idul Fitri, three-quarters of them on motorcycles.
Muslims consider Idul Fitri a day of victory over worldly passion. Families visit neighbors and relatives to ask for each other’s forgiveness for past mistakes.

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