Muslim pilgrims from different parts of the world who came to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj have been converging on Muna since the early hours of Wednesday in preparation for Arafat day. The pilgrims moved in their white robes for Muna, about five kilometres from Makkah.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigerian pilgrims from Kaduna, Bauchi, Borno, Nasarawa, Kogi and Kano led the movement from Makkah and got to Muna in the early hours of Wednesday. The movement of Nigerian pilgrims was expected to be completed before sun set, about 4 p.m. Saudi Arabian local time.
The pilgrims would spend the day at Muna before proceeding to Arafat on Thursday, about 22 km East of Makkah and also spend the whole of Thursday on the plain of Mount Arafat, also known as mount of mercy, being the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah, also known as Arafat day.
Staying at Arafah is one of the essential components of Hajj, hence, the religious journey will be invalid if a pilgrim fails to spend the required time at the plain. The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Statistics (GAS) on Wednesday stated that 1,891,352 pilgrims entered Makkah up until midnight on Tuesday.
GAS also stated that the number of domestic pilgrims stood at 138,695, consisting of 81,284 Saudi men and women and 57,411 non-Saudis. It added that as many as 20,044 buses and cars transported the pilgrims by land to Makkah from in and outside the Kingdom.
The Spokesman of Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry, Maj.-Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, said more than 10,000 security guards were engaged in providing security to pilgrims, stressing that the major mission of the ministry was to ensure the safety of every pilgrim in the Kingdom to perform the Hajj.
Commander of the Civil Defence Forces in Muna, Brig. Hamoud Al-Faraj, told NAN “we are ready to deal with any emergency situation during the Hajj in Makkah, Madina and other holy sites.’’
Meanwhile, Amb. Salisu Umar, the Charge ‘d’ Affairs of the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh, had advised pilgrims to drink a lot of water and to desist from wandering about unnecessarily to avoid dehydration.
The Saudi Arabian Defence and Safety Corps were seen on constant patrol and warning pilgrims who used mobile phones with Saudi numbers against misuse of sockets and electric appliances to guard against fire outbreaks.
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