Connect with us


Hajj disaster: 717 killed in Saudi Arabia



Spread the love


Disaster, best described the calamity that befell Saudi Arabia Thursday as at least, 717 people were feared killed in a stampede at the on-going Hajj pilgrimage near the Islamic holy city of Mecca.

Over 863 others were injured in the incident at Mina, which was said to have occurred as over two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite.

Saudi official said Thursday’s stampede is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.

Agency reports pointed out that most of the victims are people from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Senegal among other nationalities, claiming that people were just climbing on top of others in order to move to a safer place and that’s how some people died in their scores.

During the preparations for the 2015 Hajj, a crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque early this month, killing 109 people.

Today’s incident happened when pilgrims travel to Mina, a large valley about 5km (3 miles) from Mecca, to throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which represent the devil. The pillars stand where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.

It was learnt that people were going towards the direction of throwing the stones while others were coming from the opposite direction, and suddenly it became chaotic and people began to fall down while others trampled upon them.

Reports indicated that people were chanting Allah’s name while others were crying, including children and infants seeking for help but there was no-one to give them a helping hand. .

The Saudi Civil Defence Directorate said the stampede occurred at around 09:00 local time as pilgrims were walking towards the five-storey structure which surrounds the pillars, known as the Jamarat Bridge.

Maj Gen Mansour al-Turki, a spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry, said the crush occurred when two large groups of pilgrims converged from different directions on to one street.

Dead bodies were said to have stretched as far as ones’ eyes can see while tens of ambulance were deployed to carry both the dead and the injured to the hospital in Mina.

Hajj has a long history of disaster during the pilgrimage but not as deadly as witnessed Thursday. It would be recalled that in 2006, 364 pilgrims die in a crush at foot of Jamarat Bridge in Mina while in 1997 about 340 pilgrims were killed when fire fuelled by high winds sweeps through Mina’s tent city.

Also, in 1994, not less than 270 pilgrims die in a stampede during the stoning ritual while in 1990 about 1,426 pilgrims, mainly Asian, died in a stampede. In 1987, about 402 people died when security forces break up an anti-US demonstration by Iranian pilgrims

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.