Monday, 28 September 2015

MURIC Blame Saudi Authorities For Hajj Stampede

The Islamic group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has blamed Saudi authorities of for the stampede that occurred on Thursday, September 24, in Mina during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, Premium Times reports.

An ambulance drives towards the camp city at Mina, near the holy city of Mecca September 24, 2015. Reuters/Ahmad Masood

The stampede resulted in the deaths of over 769 people during the devil stoning right performed by Muslims who traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.

Fifty-four Nigerians have been confirmed dead from the stampede by National Hajj Commission of Nigeria’s (NAHCON) with many more yet to be accounted for.

MURIC whose officials were in Mina during the incident, in a statement on Saturday, September 26,  said the failure of adequate planning for the event was “criminal negligence” and “the Saudi authorities must be held accountable.”

Ishaq Akintola, the group’s director, in the statement urged the Nigerian government to support NAHCON’s stand on this.

The director said: “Nigeria must demand compensation from the Saudis for families of the bereaved. We should also task the Saudis to involve the world Muslim Ummah in the planning and implementation of the annual hajj exercise in view of the emerging scenario of complacency on the part of the Saudi authorities.”

Iranian officials have also blamed Saudi authorities for the stampede, calling them incompetent and asking them to take responsibility for the tragic incident.

Middle East rival, Iran, has the most casualties from the Saudi stampede hence being the most vocal in the criticisms so far. Iran lost 131 persons to the incident.

Saeed Ohadi, the head of Iran’s Hajj organisation, said: “Today’s incident shows mismanagement and lack of serious attention to the safety of pilgrims. There is no other explanation. The Saudi officials should be held accountable and the Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, revealed that they would summon a Saudi diplomatic envoy over the incident.”

Saudi Arabia’s head of the central Hajj commitee, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, had earlier blamed the incident on “some pilgrims with African nationalities”.

Corroborating Prince Khaled’s claims, the country’s health minister, Khaled al-Falih, who was quoted to have said: “many pilgrims move without respecting the timetables [set by authorities, which was the] principal reason for this type of accident. If the pilgrims had followed instructions, this type of accident could have been avoided.”