Over 2,400 killed in September Saudi hajj stampede, crush

December 10, 2015 12:09 pm

 

The
AP figures establish the Sept. 24 crush at Mina as the deadliest in the
history of the annual pilgrimage. Photo / Getty Images

The September stampede during the hajj in killed at
least 2,411 pilgrims, a new Associated Press count shows, three times
the number of deaths acknowledged by the kingdom three months later.
The
AP figures establish the Sept. 24 crush at Mina as the deadliest in the
history of the annual pilgrimage. It occurred just weeks after a fatal
crane collapse in Mecca.
Saudi Arabia rebuffed criticism from its
regional Shiite rival Iran and efforts by other countries to join a
probe into the deaths. And while King Salman ordered an investigation
into the tragedy almost immediately, few details have been made public
since.
The AP count is based on state media reports and
officials’ comments from 36 of the over 180 countries that sent citizens
to the hajj. Hundreds of pilgrims remain missing. The official Saudi
toll of 769 people killed has not changed since Sept. 26, and officials
there have yet to address the discrepancy.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency has not mentioned the
investigation into the disaster since Oct. 19, when it reported that
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also the kingdom’s interior
minister, was “reassured on the progress of the investigations.” The
crown prince is the next in line to the throne and any blame cast on the
Interior Ministry, which oversees safety during the hajj, could reflect
negatively on him.

The ruling Al Saud family maintains its
major influence in the Muslim world through its oil wealth and its
management of Islam’s holiest sites. Like Saudi monarchs before him,
King Salman has taken the title of the Custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques.
Authorities have said the Mina crush and stampede
occurred when two waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow road,
suffocating or trampling to death those caught in the disaster. Saudi
Arabia has spent billions of dollars on crowd control and safety
measures for those attending the annual five-day pilgrimage, required of
all able-bodied Muslims once in their life, but the sheer number of
participants makes ensuring their safety difficult.
The hajj this
year drew some 2 million pilgrims, though in recent years it has drawn
more than 3 million without any major incidents.
Iran was most
affected by the disaster, according to the AP count, with 464 Iranian
pilgrims killed. Mali said it lost 305 people, while Nigeria lost 274
and 190 pilgrims from Egypt were killed.
Others include
Bangladesh with 137 pilgrims killed; Indonesia with 129; India with 120;
Cameroon with 103; Pakistan with 102; Niger with 92; Senegal with 61;
Ethiopia with 53; Ivory Coast with 52; Benin with 50; Algeria with 46;
Chad with 43; Morocco with 42; Sudan with 30; Tanzania with 25; Burkina
Faso with 22; Kenya with 12; Somalia with 10; Ghana, Tunisia and Turkey
each with seven; Libya and Myanmar with six apiece; China with four;
Afghanistan, Djibouti, the Gambia and Jordan with two each; and Lebanon,
Malaysia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka each with one.
The
second deadliest incident at hajj was a 1990 stampede that killed 1,426
people. The Sept. 11 crane collapse at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, which
preceded the Mina disaster, killed 111 people.

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