First 500 pilgrims leave for Hajj; new security measures introduced

By MyJoyOnline
General News First 500 pilgrims leave for Hajj; new security measures introduced

President John Dramani Mahama is expected in Tamale later Friday afternoon for the official opening of Hajj 2016 and to bid the first batch of 500 Pilgrims on board the flight farewell.

Three flights are scheduled to fly from the newly refurbished Tamale International Airport from August 19-21. A total of 1,500 pilgrims with 500 passengers on board each flight will be flown to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to embark on this year's Hajj pilgrimage.

The Tamale flight is a pilot project which the Hajj Committee is trying out so other Regions would soon be added.

This is a drive to ease the pressure on the Kotoka International Airport and the Hajj Village in Accra, which has over the years witnessed a lot of chaos in terms of flight scheduling and living conditions of pilgrims.

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Deputy Communications Director of the Board, Mohammed Amin Lamptey told Joy News organisers of the Hajj in Saudi Arabia have introduced a means of providing every pilgrim with a gadget which identifies them.

Coming off the back of last year's Hajj disasters where a crane, as well as a stampede, killed over 2,000 pilgrims, the gadget also shows their country of origin of the pilgrim, the language they speak and also monitor the pilgrim as they go about their Hajj activities.

A stampede that killed hundreds and perhaps thousands of Hajj pilgrims made the 2015 disaster the deadliest on record for the world’s largest Islamic gathering.

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The Saudi Press Agency described the water-resistant bracelets as GPS-linked devices containing personal identification and medical records that Saudi officials and security forces could access via smartphone, according to BBC News.

Ghana is expected to fly some 5424 pilgrims with 11 flights in total.

Story by Ghana | | Abubakar Ibrahim | Email: [email protected]

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