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Saudi moves against stampede as 3m pilgrims set for Hajj



Saudi moves against stampede as 3m pilgrims set for Hajj
  • 55, 000 Nigerians journey to tent city for rites Sunday


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has heightened moves against stampede as about 3 million pilgrims are expected to begin Hajj rites. 55, 000 Nigerian who are among the pilgrims would be move to Muna, the tent city, for Hajj rites beginning on Sunday. Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al- Faisal, who revealed plans to stop stampede among pilgrims for this year’s Hajj, said that he was extremely impressed by the high level of coordination among various government and private bodies involved in the pilgrimage service.

The prince was, according to Saudi Gazette, addressing a press conference at Muzdalifah after inspecting the arrangements made for the guests of God in the holy sites. As at Tuesday –one week before Arafat, as many as 1,570,054 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom from abroad by air, sea and overland, he said.Prince Khaled, who is also chairman of the Central Haj Committee, said the largest contingent of pilgrims came from Indonesia, followed by Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Iran. A total of 224,655 Haj permits, he stated, were issued to pilgrims within the country, maintaining that 87 phony Hajj offices were busted and their owners handed over to the Public Prosecution.

The emir said 2,760 people, consisting of Saudis and expatriates, were caught transporting pilgrims without permits and all of them would be put on trial. He also revealed that 355,453 violations of Haj regulations were detected while 157,335 cars without permits were turned back from police checkpoints on roads leading to Makkah and the holy sites. Stating that the Hajj Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport receives more than 40,000 arriving pilgrims daily, Prince Khaled said that every year more than 3 million pilgrims assemble in Makkah and the holy sites. The masses move between the holy sites six times over a period of five days. The emir began his tour of the holy sites by a visit to the field hospital of the armed forces in Arafat.

The hospital has 50 beds, an operations room, an X-ray lab and other facilities. He also reviewed projects implemented by the Authority for the Development of the Holy Sites including the expansion of roads, the shading of pedestrian passages and the separation of the paths for pedestrians and vehicles.

The emir also reviewed the Haj plan of the municipality, which has established 27 civic centers and employed more than 23,000 workers and cleaners for the Haj operation. Meanwhile, Commander of the Haj Security Forces Maj. Gen. Khaled Bin Qarar Al-Harbi said his forces would be using maximum potentials and resources to ensure the safety and security of the pilgrims.

“There are enough soldiers and civilian cadres to meet all the requirements of safety and well being of the pilgrims,” he added. Director of Civil Defense Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Amr said so far there were no cases of environmental pollution in Makkah or the holy sites.

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