Jokowi to talk with Saudi government about haj safety

An ambulance evacuates victims following a crush caused by large numbers of people pushing at Mina, outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
PHOTO: Reuters

In an effort to prevent further incidents in the haj pilgrimage, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will talk with the Saudi Arabian government about the safety of haj, a presidential official says.

"The government, indeed, needs to discuss with the Saudi government to better guarantee pilgrimage management, and to ensure the security and safety of our pilgrims," said Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki in Jakarta on Friday as quoted by tempo.co.

The President has also called on the Indonesian haj pilgrims to carefully anticipate all possibilities that may endanger themselves such as temperature changes, dehydration or any endangering disorders during the pilgrimage, according to Teten.

Meanwhile, Religion Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said in Mecca that the ministry's Haj Management Committee (PPIH) in Saudi was still working to identify one of three Indonesian victims. The unidentified victim laid in the Al-Jisr hospital in Mina. He did not have any documents nor a bracelet with his name on it.

The two identified victims are Busyaiyah Sahrel Abdul Gafar from Pontianak, West Kalimantan, and Hamid Atwi Tarji Rofia from Probolinggo, East Java.

"Our officers are working 24 hours a day, communicating with several hospital in Mina and Mecca to identify the victim," he said in press release, as quoted by Antara news agency.

The committee, he continued, is also digging up information on why the victims were on the deadly route, since it was not in the Indonesian pilgrim's schedule to participate in the stone-throwing procession at the time of the incident.

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