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05.01.2005 General News

Stranded Hajj Pilgrims Go On Rampage

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Accra, Jan. 5, GNA - Hundreds of Hajj pilgrims stranded at the Elwak Stadium in Accra on Wednesday embarked on a demonstration in protest against the Hajj Board's failure to transport them to Mecca. They marched through the 37 Military Hospital inter-section, but were stopped by the police who also halted about one hundred of them who attempted to go to the President's house.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Mohammed Benson, one of the leaders of the protestors, said although members of the Hajj Board had assured them of their travel to Mecca on January 1, they had been camping at the Elwak Stadium since December 31, last year without any signs of travelling.

He said the pilgrims had already paid 1,690 dollars to the Hajj Board to cater for their flight as well as hotel expenses in Mecca. Mr Benson said although they had often attempted to meet the Hajj Board members, they were always told that they were not in whenever they went to their offices, thus frustrating their efforts.

He said conditions at the Elwak Stadium were unbearable and added that the pilgrims who were in their hundreds lacked access to adequate water, food as well as other basic facilities.

"We only need the Hajj Board to be more accurate and truthful about the real state of affairs. We have already started spending our money, which we are supposed to be spending in Mecca."

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