Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomePress Releases500 Sierra Leonean Pilgrims Arrive Safely In Saudi Arabia

500 Sierra Leonean Pilgrims Arrive Safely In Saudi Arabia

500 Sierra Leonean Pilgrims Arrive Safely In Saudi Arabia

The first batch of Five Hundred (500) Sierra Leonean pilgrims arrived safely at the Prince Mohamed Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport, Medina on board a special chartered Royal Air Maroc Flight in the early hours of Monday, 1st November, 2010.  (Photo: From L-R: H.O.C Yilla, Hon. Minkailu Mansaray, and Ambassador Munu happily looking at the pilgrims as they cross immigration)

On arrival, the proud pilgrims accompanied by the Chairman of the National Hajj Coordinating Committee, Hon. Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray who also doubles as the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security were warmly received by officials of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh led by H.E Wusu B. Munu and a good number of Sierra Leonean nationals resident in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Hon. Minkailu Mansaray in the midst of pilgrims at Immigration

From L-R: Information Attache, Alhaji Jalloh and Hon. Minkailu Mansaray talking to immigration officers

Unlike previous years hitches connected with airport royalties, accommodation, transportation, etc., this year, the movement of the pilgrims was generally smooth with the exception of some queries raised by the Saudi Immigration authorities on why Sierra Leonean pilgrims were using two passports (ECOWAS and the national passports.)

They also raised concern why the Hajj visas were issued in three different locations – Freetown, Conakry and Casablanca. Before raising these queries, the Saudi Immigration authorities had already given entry clearance to 408 pilgrims, out of the 500.

Male pilgrims behind Immigration counters awaiting passport processing

Female pilgrims behind Immigration counters awaiting passport processing

However, these queries were adequately addressed by Honourable Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray, Ambassador Wusu B. Munu and a member of the 2010 Hajj Mission, Sheik Abubakar Conteh.

Asked how it was addressed, Hon. Minkailu said they took time to explain to the Saudi Immigration and Customs officials that both the ECOWAS and the Sierra Leone national passports were authentic documents. Secondly, that the visas issued on these documents were also authentic because they were all issued by Saudi Foreign Ministry officials.

The minister emphasized the fact that all what the Saudi officials wanted was clarification on the queries they raised.

Like any part of the world, the minister noted that, the Saudis are very conscious of their national security, especially during the period of Hajj.

However, they were satisfied with the clarifications provided by both the Sierra Leone Embassy and the Hajj Mission which led to the amicable resolution of the impasse.

Female pilgrims in their bus heading for their hotel

The Chairman of the National Hajj Coordinating Committee further informed that the 500 pilgrims are now happily housed at Qurban Nazil Hotel, close to the second most revered place of worship for Muslims around the world,“Al – Masjid Annabawy” ( Prophet’s Muhammad’s Mosque).

Another batch of 150 pilgrims is expected to arrive at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Tuesday, 2nd November, 2010.

The Hajj will officially commence in mid November with over two million Muslims around the world expected to join in the pilgrimage.

Pilgrims alighting from their buses outside the hotel

Pilgrims entering their hotel

In another development, the Sierra Leone Embassy has temporarily relocated to Jeddah, over 900 kilometers away from the Kingdom’s national capital, Riyadh.

The Head of Chancery, Ibrahim S. Yilla says:  “The temporal relocation of the Embassy will facilitate its operations, shuttling from Jeddah to the holy sites of Medinah, Mecca, Mina and Arafat during the Hajj period.”

Sierra Leonean flag displayed outside the hotel

The Hajj, considered the largest annual pilgrimage in the world is an Islamic religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia’s holy land of Mecca where the religion’s most sacred site, Kaaba, is located. The Hajj is a religious duty that every able-bodied Muslim performs at least once in his/her if they have the means to do so.

Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, Riyadh – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2010, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
No Comments

Leave A Comment