5 Ghanaians feared missing in Hajj stampede

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832158448_54867Five Ghanaian Muslim pilgrims were said to be missing at the Ghana camp at Mina in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as of Friday.

A source at Mina told the Daily Graphic that the Pilgrims Affairs Office of Ghana (PAOG) could not confirm whether the missing Ghanaians, including a Hajj agent, were killed or injured in last Thursday’s stampede which resulted in the death of more than 700 pilgrims in Mina.

“Five Ghanaians are confirmed missing but cannot be pronounced dead at this moment,” the source said.

The source indicated that the Chairman of the PAOG, Alhaji Abdul Rauf Tanko, with the support of Ghana Embassy officials and the Saudi Hajj authorities were moving round hospitals to ascertain whether there were any Ghanaians there.

“The Chairman of the Pilgrims Affairs Office, Alhaji Tanko, is making frantic efforts to establish the whereabouts of the missing Ghanaians,” it said.

A total of 5,309 Ghanaian Muslims are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia performing this year’s pilgrimage. In all, about two million Muslims from across the globe are performing the pilgrimage.

Pilgrims Affairs

Meanwhile, a statement posted by the Deputy Director of Communications of the PAOG, Alhaji Aminu Lamptey, on his Facebook page said the Chairman of the PAOG had, with dispatch, established a search team “to help search and locate Ghanaian pilgrims who got missing or involved in any accident after the stampede at Jamarat on Thursday.”

It said so far, information available indicated that no Ghanaian was captured in the latest news from the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj with regard to the stampede.

The search team, it said, combed all hospitals for vital information, offices connected to the hajj 2015 security operations and the Muhasasa, the office in charge of Africa Hajj affairs.

The statement said earlier more than 20 aged pilgrims, who were missing, were brought back to the Ghana camp in Mina later last Thursday, and indicated that they were screened by the medical team.

Calm in camp

Some of the pilgrims told the Daily Graphic that calm had returned to the camp of the Ghanaian Muslim pilgrims in Mina.

One of the pilgrims, Alhaji Seth Ibrahim, a programme producer at Metropolitan Television (METRO TV), said news of the stampede created worry and anxiety in the Ghanaian camp.

He also said people started calling their relatives and friends to make sure that they were safe.

Alhaji Ibrahim added that some of the pilgrims who could not be reached on phone appeared later in the day and that people were now going about their normal religious rites, as if nothing had happened.

According to him, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, the running mate to Nana Akufo-Addo, had visited the Ghanaian camp after the stampede.

Other Ghanaian dignitaries performing this year’s Hajj are the National Chief Imam, Sheik Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu and the Chief Imam of the Ahlussunna Wal Jama’a, Sheikh Umar Ibrahim.

Stampede

At least 717 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage have been killed in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca, according to Saudi Arabian officials.

Another 863 people were injured in the incident at Mina, which occurred as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite.

Last Thursday’s stampede was the deadliest incident that has occurred during the pilgrimage in 25 years.

King Salman has ordered an urgent review of this year’s Hajj plans to improve its organisation.

It is the second disaster to strike Mecca in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque, killing 109 people.

– Daily Graphic

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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