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22.12.2006 General News

Stranded Hajj pilgrims protest

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Hundreds of pilgrims attending this year's Hajj as well as their relatives on Friday besieged the main road of the Aviance Cargo Village near the Kotoka International Airport in Accra in protest against the delayed departure of pilgrims to Mecca.

On two separate occasions they blocked the road with sticks, boulders and other objects.

The police cleared the obstacles almost immediately after which the crowd blocked another part of the road. The action resulted in traffic jam and the police presence was reinforced.

None of the Hajj Board members was available to clarify the situation.

Most Hajj members as well as their relatives grew impatient and blamed the Hajj Board for their continued delayed flights. They said after paying 20 million cedis per person for the trip they had ended up being given excuses that flight to send them on the pilgrimage was not available.

The pilgrims, who were being housed at the premises of the Aviance Cargo Village complained that the conditions they found themselves in was horrible.

A man, who gave his name as Salia said he had been waiting for almost a week, during which he took his bath only once. The GNA said all its efforts to contact the members of the Hajj Board proved futile, as their mobile phones would not ring.

Meanwhile the pilgrims threatened to hold a protest march to the offices of the Hajj Board if a plane was not made available for them on Saturday to embark on the journey to Mecca.

Source GNA

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