Saudi stampede: Taraba Emir, wives, nine Sokoto pilgrims dead, Gombe declares five missing as death toll rises to 769

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The Taraba State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has confirmed the death of the state’s Amirul Hajj for the 2015 pilgrimage, Alhaji Abbas Ibrahim, the First Class ruler of Zing.
The chairman of the board, Alhaji Hamman-Adama Tukur, confirmed the incident in a telephone interview from Saudi Arabia.
Tukur explained that the Emir died on Thursday during a stampede that claimed the lives of more than 700 pilgrims.
The victims, among others, were at the site of the Jamrat, where they were to fulfil one of the Hajj rites of a symbolic stoning of the devil.
Tukur said that the body of the traditional ruler had been recovered and buried in Makkah on Friday.
He disclosed that many indigenes of Taraba were still missing, while a few others, whose names he did not mention, but who sustained injuries, were receiving treatment in some Saudi hospitals.
Alhaji Hassan Mijinyawa, Chief Press Secretary to Taraba Governor, also confirmed the death of the monarch.
He, however, said that consultation was still ongoing between the State Government and the Zing Traditional Council, before a formal pronouncement would be made.
Meanwhile, the Zing Traditional Council has also confirmed that the Emir died along with two of his four wives during the stampede.
The Tafidan Zing, Gurama Bawa, who confirmed the death of the wives, said the late emir was aged 62 and had been on the throne for 19 years.
He left behind, two wives and 13 children.
Also, nine Sokoto pilgrims have been confirmed dead in the stampede.
In Gombe, five pilgrims have been declared missing.
The Executive Secretary, Gombe State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Usman Gurama, told newsmen in Mina, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday that the pilgrims could not be located since Thursday.
He said that members of the medical team had been checking hospitals and mortuaries with a view to locating them or their remains.
He, however, said that for now, it had not been confirmed as to whether they were among those who died as a result of Thursday’s incident at the Jamrat (stone throwing venue) where over 700 pilgrims died.

Gurama confirmed that seven pilgrims from the state were injured at the scene of the incident and were responding to treatment.
Meanwhile, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State on Saturday gave the state pilgrims 585,300 riyals (about N32.7 million) as Sallah gift.
Each pilgrim received 300 riyals (N16,800).
Addressing the pilgrims shortly after presenting the gift, Dankwambo urged them to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari to enable him to deliver the dividends of democracy.
He commended the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board and the Amirul Hajj and his team for doing a good job.
In his remarks, the State Amirul Hajj, Alhaji Abdullahi Mai-Kano, thanked the governor for his commitment toward ensuring the success of the exercise.
He also commended the pilgrims for their cooperation.
The death toll has risen to 769, Saudi Arabia said on Saturday, as arch-rival Iran said Saudi officials should be tried in an international court for what it called a crime.
“The latest statistics up to this hour reveal 769 dead. That is an increase of 52 on the previous figures,” Saudi health minister, Khalid al-Falih, told a news conference.
“Those are the ones who died in various hospitals since the event,” he said, adding that 934 people were wounded.
Shi’ite Muslim Iran, which is locked in a series of proxy wars in Arab countries around the Sunni Muslim kingdom, says that at least 136 Iranians are among the dead, sparking protests and outrage in the Islamic Republic on Friday.

Over 300 other Iranians remain unaccounted for, including former ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, Fars news agency reported.

“We will urge international courts and circles to start the trial of the Saudis for their crimes against haj pilgrims,” Iran’s Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisi was quoted as saying by student news agency ISNA on Saturday
“This is not incompetence, it’s a crime,” Raisi told state broadcaster IRIB.
At the U. N. General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used his address to the summit to demand an investigation into the crush.

Protecting the visitors to mosques at the holy cities of Mecca and Medina is a key pillar of legitimacy for the Saudi royal family, and the king has the title of “custodian of the two holy mosques.”

Speaking to the country’s crown prince Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, top Saudi cleric Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said he did not hold authorities responsible for the disaster.

“You are not responsible for what happened. You dealt with the beneficial factors that were in your hands and within your ability. As for the things that humans cannot control, you cannot be blamed for them. Fate and destiny are inevitable,” Al al-Sheikh, known as the Grand Mufti, said in a televised statement.

Al al-Sheikh also appeared to deflect criticisms of the kingdom from outside as a product of “envy.”

“Many are envious of the kingdom for its religion, leadership, economy and the cohesion of its members, and for the great blessings it has experienced, unlike many other countries,” he said.

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