Hajj stampede: At least 717 killed in Saudi Arabia

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

BBC

Dead bodies stretch as far as my eyes can see, one BBC employee in Mina said. AFP Picture
Dead bodies stretch as far as my eyes can see, one BBC employee in Mina said. AFP Picture

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.

It is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.

King Salman has ordered an urgent review of this year’s Hajj plans “to improve the level of organisation”.

The supreme leader of Iran, which lost at least 95 of its citizens in the crush, has criticised Saudi Arabia’s preparedness.

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

Accounts from BBC staff in Mina

During the Hajj, 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.

People were going towards the direction of throwing the stones while others were coming from the opposite direction. Then it became chaotic and suddenly people started going down.

There were people from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Senegal among other nationalities. People were just climbing on top of others in order to move to a safer place and that’s how some people died.

People were chanting Allah’s name while others were crying, including children and infants. People fell on the ground seeking help but there was no-one to give them a helping hand. Everybody seemed to be on their own.

It affected some members of our group. I lost my aunt as a result of the stampede and at the moment, two women from our entourage -a mother and her daughter-are still missing.

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.

Photographs showed the bodies of dozens of pilgrims on the ground, some piled high.They were all dressed in the simple white garments worn during the Hajj.

4 Comments

  1. I equate Islam to war, chaos and deaths. This religion is something else. I may be offending somebody but its true, anybody who has worked with a Moslem can testify they are nuts.

    1. Maita..that is what you think or perceive? I do not agree with what you are saying coz i have stayed with Muslims for a long time nothing i have learnt non except good moral..Perhaps if you perceive Islam to war then you are lost. You need time to know the difference between Islam, a Muslim and culture. In brief, a Muslim can portray what Islam teaches but errors done on personal capacity should set aside from region of Islam. Similarly, in Christianity acts by a christian might not resemble all the teachings of Christianity but also errors of a person named a Christian. Therefore, there should be a clear line when one talk about these two words. Everything done by a Muslims does not necessarily mean it’s allowed in Islam. Culture also comes into play my dear, how many people are still reluctant or resistant to leave the salient rituals and beliefs pinged from their culture whilst antagonistic with religious fundamentals? Violent cultures are prevalent in the east based upon their social, economic , political affiliations probably at cross with westerners. This affected the acceptance of Islam as a religion of peace since some of the Muslims did not abandon their affiliation but rather attached both hence caused diffusion and confusion about Islamic teachings. The best way of understanding Islam is to first pre-empty preconceived ideals, find a learned Muslim scholar and especially here in Zimbabwe or study the Holy Qur’an and search if really Islam promotes terrorism, violence or anything that violates human rights..

  2. Tinehurombo nezvaitika kumachawa aya.

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