Fury as Saudi’s hajj chief blames African pilgrims for stampede that killed 700 – as country’s top cleric says it was ‘beyond human control’
The head of the committee which oversees the hajj pilgrimage has sparked outrage by blaming pilgrims of ‘African nationalities’ for the stampede which killed more than 700 people.
In what was the worst disaster in a quarter-century to strike the annual
event, 769 people died two days ago when the stampede broke out in Mina, about three miles from Mecca, during the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual.
The inflammatory comments come as authorities were heavily criticised for a perceived lapse in safety measures at what is one of the world’s largest pilgrimages.
Adding further offence, Saudi Arabia’s top religious leader has now stated the disaster was beyond human control.
According to various news outlets, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV reported that the head of the central Hajj committee, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, blamed the stampede on ‘some pilgrims with African nationalities’.