Jamarat: Saudi Arabia threatens to prosecute disobedient pilgrims

The Saudi Arabian government has said that any pilgrim who violates the schedule put in place for the stoning of the devil ritual at Jamarat will be arrested and prosecuted.

The government is taking measures to avoid the kind of stampede that occurred last year at Mina, which led to the death of over 2000 pilgrims.

Abour145 of the victims were confirmed to be Nigerians.

At a meeting with officials of Nigeria and other African countries in Mina on Monday, the Saudi Arabia Hajj Ministry representative, Sheikh Mohammed, said arrangements had been concluded to assign guides who will lead a group of 250 pilgrims at a time to the Jamarat and back.

“Any pilgrim seen alone in Jamarat will be arrested and will face the highest punishment,” the Saudi official said.

He said each group would be led by a Saudi guide and another nominated by a group.

The official, who spoke through an official of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Aliyu Tanko, as interpreter, said the government was adopting the kind of schedule used for airlines at the airport.

“No flight arrives or departs the airport until it’s time is due. We intend to apply the same procedure for Jamarat,” he said.

Mohammed also said apart from the arrest and prosecution of an erring pilgrim, state officials responsible for the pilgrim would also face sanction.

“Take this schedule and timing as seriously as the time for prayers,” he said.

Mohammed said records of all groupings would be taken at the departure from tents and back. He said guides would be held responsible if they fail to return with the exact number of pilgrims they took to the Jamarat for the stoning ritual.

He also said pilgrims must only go with their assigned batch and time.