Posted by News Express | 25 September 2015 | 5,114 times
Several Nigerians were among the hundreds of pilgrims trampled to death yesterday at the 2015 Muslim Hajj in Saudi Arabia, a Nigerian journalist at scene has reported. This was even as the death toll shot up to at least 753 and at least 800 injured – up from the 717 killed as at the time of the last update by News Express yesterday evening.
The stampede that took place near the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi officials.
The stampede occurred in the town of Mina, located roughly five kilometres east of Mecca, shortly after pilgrims had performed a ritual in which they threw stones at a structure representing the devil.
Speaking to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Saudi officials said the crush had happened after hundreds of pilgrims converged on a single escalator.
On Thursday evening, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz – who also serves as deputy premier, interior minister and chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Higher Committee – met with security officials to discuss the deadly stampede, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
At the meeting, the news agency reported, the crown prince had ordered the formation of a fact-finding committee tasked with investigating the accident’s causes, the findings of which will be referred to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Meanwhile, a correspondent for Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper at the scene has confirmed that several Nigerian pilgrims also died in the stampede. He said that officials of Nigerian delegation are already taking stock of Nigerians and will soon come out with the number and identities of those pilgrims involved.
A Vanguard report this morning quotes a source as saying: “I saw a couple of bodies being moved away and I know they were Nigerians but I cannot confirm the number now. It was not difficult to know the identity of any pilgrim because each pilgrim always wears a band which indicates where he comes from. Authorities are still collating the number of Nigerians killed and injured in the stampede.”
News Express reports that the tragedy comes less than two weeks after total of 110 people were killed – six of them Nigerians – and at least 235 injured when a massive crane collapsed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque on September 11.
•Photo by Garba Ahmed shows Nigerian officials praying during a condolence visit to families affected by the Makkah Grand Mosque collapse of September 11 in which six Nigerian pilgrims also died.
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