There is no record yet of any Ghanaian among the hundreds who died in Thursday’s stampede which left over 700 pilgrims dead in Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
Ghana’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Said Sinare, who confirmed this following the panic among Ghanaians both home and abroad, says Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia is keenly monitoring events.
The stampede occurred when the pilgrims were going through a ritual known as stoning the devil.
Scores of pilgrims were also injured in the process. In an interview with Citi News, Alhaji Sinare said the embassy will continue with its checks as the death toll rises.
“We’ve not had any confirmation yet, and we will not be able to confirm yet until tomorrow morning or in the afternoon. It’s too early for now, but so far we’ve not had any incident. Initial checks have been done, but we are doing some follow up to make sure that the information is 100% percent. But so far we know that over 700 people have been confirmed dead, but for now we can’t confirm whether any Ghanaian is involved until later in the afternoon”.
Two million pilgrims are taking part in this year’s Hajj. Thursday’s stampede is the deadliest incident to occur during the Hajj in 25 years.
The pilgrimage on yearly basis records casualties.
Preparations for the Hajj were marred when a crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque this month, killing 109 people.
Since 364 people were killed during the stoning ritual in 2006, the Saudi authorities have worked on improving transport and other infrastructure in the area in an attempt to prevent such incidents.
For Muslims, the Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam.
It is the journey that every able-bodied adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it.
Hajj: Deadly incidents according to the BBC
2015: 107 people die after a crane collapses into the Grand Mosque
2006: 364 pilgrims die in a crash during the stone-throwing ritual
1997: 343 pilgrims killed and 1,500 injured in fire
1994: 270 killed in stampede
1990: 1,426 pilgrims killed in stampede inside tunnel leading to holy sites
1987: 400 people die as Saudi authorities confront pro-Iranian demonstration