Saudi stampede

Appeal court Judge, Abdulkadir Jega, was among the 717 people who died in Thursday’s stampede at Jamrat in Saudi Arabia.

Confirming the death to our correspondent in Mina, Saudi Arabia, Kebbi State deputy governor, Samaila Yombe, said the Appeal court Judge was caught up in the tragedy while on his way to perform the ritual of stoning.

“Yes, Appeal court Judge, Justice Abdulkadir Jega, has died as a result of the incident that occurred while on our way from Muzdalifa to Jamra to perform the first ritual of stoning the Jamratul Akbar (the big Jamra),” he said.

Although details of whether the Appeal court Judge died on the spot is not known, the deputy governor stated that the Amirul Hajj and Emir of Argungu, Samaila Mera, Speaker of the State House of Assembly and his deputy, Governor Atiku Bagudu’s family were among pilgrims who survived the incident.

The deputy governor, however, insisted that the incident at Jamra was not a stampede, adding, “whoever said it was a stampede either does not know the meaning of a stampede or he is not saying the truth.”

“What actually happened was that the entire pilgrims scheduled to throw Jamrat at that time, were channeled to follow one particular street.

“At a time, we got to a certain point at 8:00am, where military vehicle was set across to create a barrier. And then some of the Saudi soldiers were standing by, suggesting that, you cannot pass beyond that point.

“About 5,000 people coming from same direction were not aware of the road in front, which resulted to a ‘sardining’ so to speak, which made it very difficult for us to even stand. So, we continued to squat to make room for fresh air while the temperature was about 47 degrees Celsius.

“Pilgrims, in an effort to get fresh air, attempted to scale fences of tents on both sides of the road. Very few succeeded, while most people just succumbed to the situation.

“It was at this juncture that we started seeing dead bodies piled up around us,” he said.
Mr. Yombe added that apart from the Appeal court Judge who was confirmed dead from bodies deposited at the mortuary, the whereabouts of two pilgrims was still not established.

He said the missing pilgrims were likely among those who missed their way, and may later be found.

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