Six Kenyans dead in Saudi Arabia stampede

Nairobi, Sep 29 (IANS) The number of Kenyans who died in the haj stampede in Saudi Arabia has risen to six, while nine are still missing, a Muslim umbrella body said on Tuesday.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) chairman Abdulghafur El-Busaidy told journalists here that some of the more than 4,900 Kenyans who were attending the Haj have already started returning into the country.

“We expect all pilgrims to be back in the country within two weeks, and we will embark on seeking to know what took place to occasion the tragedy,” he said.

El-Busaidy called on the Kenyan government to review the rules and regulations governing the security of nationals in other countries.

He also urged the Saudi government to compensate all those who lost loved ones during the stampede, in the same way it did for families of those who died following the crane collapse.

The Saudi Arabian government said investigations are ongoing amid reports that the pilgrims were at fault.

The stampede occurred last week in Makkah’s neighbourhood of Mina, a large valley where about two million Muslims were performing annual haj pilgrim.

According to Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defence Service, the stampede has claimed about 769 lives and left over 800 pilgrims injured.

The tragedy was the worst to befall the pilgrimage since July 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims were crushed to death in a tunnel near Makkah.

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