Sorrowful hajj pilgrims return as they mourn 24 killed at Mecca

The total number of Ghanaians who lost their lives at this year’s holy pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia now stands at 24 after some of those deemed missing were identified to be among the dead in last month’s deadly stampede at Mina, The aL-hAJJ has gathered.

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Most of the casualties were as a result of the stampede in Mina which claimed over thousand lives, while others were said to have died through natural.

Hajj
Hajj
The latest death toll, sources at the Pilgrims Affairs of Ghana told this paper was arrived at after substantial number of the 29 Ghanaian pilgrims declared missing were eventually identified. Other affected Ghanaians, officials of the Pilgrims Affairs noted, are on admission at hospitals.

The last returned flight for this year’s Hajj from Jeddah touched down at the Kotoka International Airport on Friday, October 23, 2015.

This was after the first returned flight to Ghana, which was scheduled to come off on Thursday, October 8 but was postponed to Saturday, October 10, and that was not also to be until Monday, 12 October 2015 when the flight touched down at about 3pm Ghana time. This was followed with a flight each day until the 12th flights returned to Ghana last week.

This year’s hajj witnessed one of the deadliest incidents in 25 years, where more than 1000 pilgrims lost their lives and over 900 injured during the last rituals of the Hajj at Mina.

The stampede occurred during a ritual called “stoning the devil”, with some pilgrims saving their entire lives in order to participate. The event was held in the tent city of Mina about two miles from the holy site in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca. More than 2 million pilgrims attend the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

A total of 5424 Ghanaian Muslims participated in this year’s annual hajj rituals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Initial report on the death toll for Ghanaian pilgrims was scanty as 29 Ghanaian pilgrims were said to have been missing. This was after the Pilgrims Affairs had announced that seven Ghanaians lost their lives in the deadly stampede at the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina, eight others died through natural cause while six pilgrims were reported on admission.

However, the figure has now moved up to 24 deaths, with assurance from officials of the Pilgrims Affairs of Ghana led by its Chairman, Alhaji Abdul Rauf Tanko that everything was being done to calm the situation.

For the past three years, Hajj operations under the guidance of Alhaji Rauf Tanko has seen remarkable improvements compared to previous hajj operations, a development that earned him and his committee commendation from not only President John Dramani Mahama and his vice Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, but also the head of Muslims in Ghana, Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu.

Source : Al-Hajj

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