Two Nigerian pilgrims from Kaduna State are believed to be among the 107 pilgrims who died after a crane fell on Friday in the holy mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Though no official statement was given by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria about the deaths of Nigerians in the tragedy, it was learnt that two pilgrims from Kaduna State were among the dead.
A pilgrim from Kaduna State told our correspondent that Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board on Friday night confirmed that two of its pilgrims died in the accident.
This was as Saudi Authorities yesterday began the process of identifying the 107 victims of Friday crane accident at the holy mosque in Kaabah.
There has been apprehension in the Nigerian camp on whether any Nigerian pilgrim was affected. But Saudi authorities said they had begun the process of identifying the victims before they would be buried in the holy land. They promised to contact all countries that might have lost any citizens in the crane accident.
Parts of the Grand Mosque remained sealed yesterday around where the crane crashed but government officials said the annual pilgrimage would go on as scheduled. There was little mourning around the site as pilgrims continued to snap pictures of the wreckage and offered prayers for the dead.
A pilgrim from Egypt told newsmen that he wished he “died in the accident as it happened at a holy hour and in a holy place.” Already, an investigative committee has begun searching for the cause of the collapse of the crane.
NAHCON Chairman, Mallam Abdullahi Mukhtar, confirmed that three Nigerian pilgrims sustained minor injuries in the crane crash in Mecca’s Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia. Mukhtar, who stated this known at a news conference in Abuja, said the victims were responding to treatment in the holy land.
Mukhtar, who did not name the victims, however, said that two were from Kaduna and one from Gombe. He expressed deep shock over the sad incident but assured that it would not affect this year’s exercise in any way.