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04.01.2007 General News

Ghanaian pilgrims stranded in Mecca

By MJOL
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Disappointments of Ghanaian participants in this year's pilgrimage to Mecca appear not to be over yet as another group of stranded pilgrims call for help from far away Jeddah.

The over one thousand pilgrims say they are stranded in the Holy City after the Hajj ended on Tuesday, with no official of the National Hajj Council available to tell them what was going on.

According to the pilgrims, they were expected to travel to Medina in Saudi Arabia to perform their farewell rights before returning to Ghana but had not been told of arrangements to that effect.

A spokesperson for the Pilgrims, Hajia Ramatu said the National Hajj Council had neglected them. Speaking to Joy News from their base at Nuzah in Saudi Arabia, she called on the Council to provide them with information on travel arrangements back to Ghana.

“I don't know whether to say we are frustrated but we are just waiting and we don't know what we are doing right now. We've finished with the Hajj, we have to go to Medina and up till now nobody has communicated with us. They are supposed to have buses attached to the Ghanaian contingent and there is no us here and even from Medina to Mecca some of us have to walk to Mecca so I just don't know what is happening. We are praying that they come back to tell us something and then we come back to Ghana.”

Another Ghanaian pilgrim who spoke to Joy News, Zeinab Atta Nantogmah said she wanted to return home immediately since the Hajj itself had ended.

She said she felt homesick and wanted to come home but there was no Ghanaian official to address their concerns.

“Ideally they should have representatives. Personally I think they should always have an advance party like their agents who should come earlier to take care of the situation until they also come.

“I understand that they usually come after the last pilgrim has come but this time round they didnt have the opportunity and I don't know what problems they have in Ghana But they should have had an advance party in Mecca taking care of us so that if even they didnt come, they could have taken care of us which has not been done. So we only have some task force guys around. They are helping though, they are trying but it looks like it is not their real job so they also have their constraints.”

The Holy City of Mecca hosted over 2.5 million Muslims from around the world. However about 700 of Ghanaian pilgrims could not make the trip as a result of the failure of the Council to provide them a flight.

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