From Java to Sulawesi, officials prepare for Idul Fitri exodus
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Officials from Java to Sulawesi are readying for an onslaught of millions of travellers who will mudik, or return to their hometowns, for the Idul Fitri holiday.
Central Java’s top cop said that officers would not hesitate to shoot criminals on sight to ensure the safety of travelers during the annual exodus.
“We will shoot when a life is threatened,” Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Didiek Sutomo Triwidodo said in Semarang, on Friday.
Didiek said that snipers from the Central Java Police Criminal Investigations Directorate (Direskrimum) were in place as of Friday to protect people in crime-prone areas.
Direskrimum commander Sr. Comr. Bambang Rudi Pratikyo said that the snipers would exercise discretion and follow standard operating procedures, despite the orders to shoot on sight.
However, criminologist Budi Wisaksana of Diponegoro University in Semarang said that the use of deadly force was only authorized when officers faced an emergency situation to protect people’s lives. “It is done to give a chilling effect,” he said.
In West Java, meanwhile, police have installed 68 closed-circuit television cameras to monitor traffic along the province’s northern and southern highways during the exodus.
Teams would be deployed to disperse traffic jams detected by the cameras, West Java Police Deputy Chief Brig. Gen. Hengkie Kaluara said.
“We have prepared 100 motorcycle teams to deploy when the traffic starts to back up,” Hengkie said in Bandung, on Friday.
The West Java Police would not deploy snipers this year, Hengkie said.
He said the Idul Fitri operation would cost the police Rp 5 billion (US$530,000) in 2012, half of which would come from the state budget and the remainder from the provincial budget.
In Cirebon, West Java, local public order officers have been cracking down on hundreds of seasonal traders and becak (pedicab) drivers blocking the streets at markets along the regency’s northern traffic roads.
The traders and vendors typically congregate along the road, which runs several hundred kilometers from Jakarta to West Java to Central Java. During the peak of the exodus, traffic can be backed up for as much as
10 kilometers long.
Backups are also expected on both sides of the Sunda Strait, as passengers and vehicles wait to make trips between Merak Port in Banten on Java and Bakauheni Port in South Lampung on Sumatra.
Subadrayani Moersalin, the chairwoman of the Lampung branch of the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI), said long lines at Bakauheni Port would still be a problem despite a relatively smaller number of damaged bridges this year.
“There are many travelers who prefer to spend the night at the port over fears of continuing their travels because of the rampant crime that frequently happen on board night buses serving the Bakauheni to Rajabasa route” Subadrayani said on Friday.
In Makassar, South Sulawesi, officials are set to deploy 5,780 police officers and Indonesian Military (TNI) troops to secure holiday travelers.
The South Sulawesi Police also announced plans open 141 security and service posts.
South Sulawesi Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mudji Waluyo told travelers to be careful out there and to follow the rules of the road while on the way home.
“We security officers will secure conditions and help smooth the travel. However, travelers must be cautious and careful to prevent accidents,” Mudji said in Makassar on Friday.
A similar sentiment was also expressed by South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo.
“Take a good care during the exodus so you will be able to celebrate Idul Fitri together with your family members,” Yasin said.
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