A few Nigerian pilgrims coming through Murtala Muhammed worldwide Airport, Lagos, who were returning from this year’s hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia, have narrated the circumstances that led to the death of 64 Nigerians and 240 still missing in the stampede that killed 717 people. Fourteen crew members aboard the ship were arrested, including the captain, identified as Bakhsh Jakal, it said.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Saudi Arabia to apologise for the deadly stampede and warned of “harsh” measures if the kingdom fails to promptly repatriate the bodies of Iran’s dead.
Mar’ashi added that now 14 Iranian pilgrims are hospitalized in Saudi Arabia and 6 other bed-bound pilgrims were transferred to Iran on Wednesday.
Relations between Shiite Iran and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia were already severely strained by conflicts in Yemen and Syria, and an worldwide agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme.
‘We are after transparency urge Saudi Arabia to acceptance responsibility of the tragedy, ‘ he said during a special meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
It came as Tehran almost doubled its death toll to 464, giving up hope of finding missing pilgrims alive.
Traditional hajj pilgrimage undertook an estimated number of 2 million people.
“The future of the country is in the hands of its youth, who must recognise their strength and help tomorrow’s Iran be more capable, powerful, and influential in the region and the world“, Khamenei said.
Iran has laid the blame for the stampede at Saudi Arabia’s door, saying that those responsible for the security of pilgrims failed to follow adequate procedures.
Preparations for the Hajj were marred when a crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque this month, killing 109 people. The statement, however, does not include the number of Iranians injured in the September 24 stampede. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told the AP on Tuesday that the photos are of those who died during the entire pilgrimage from a variety of causes and not just at the disaster in Mina.
India has reported 51 deaths, while its neighbour Pakistan gave a figure of 46 dead and more than 40 of unaccounted for.
“Vehicular movements were restricted in parts of Mecca on Arafat and Jamarat days all in an effort to have hitch-free movement to the stone throwing site“.