Cameroon Mourns Pilgrims in Mecca Deaths


Cameroon has observed a national day of mourning for 76 of its citizens who died among several hundred Hajj pilgrims in last month’s stampede in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

 The country’s president, Paul Biya called on Cameroonians to observe this Friday, 16 October 2015, as a day of mourning in respect of scores of compatriots who were killed in the September 24, stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Seventy six Cameroonian pilgrims were confirmed death in last month’s stampede, 15 injured and 28 others are still missing, according to Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

Mr Bakary told reporters in the capital, Yaounde that 15 of the pilgrims died at the scene of the stampede while 61 bodies were later identified in the hospital.

“The situation called for systematic search of pilgrims who were first considered as missing or unaccounted for following the stampede,” he said.

While presiding over a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, shortly after appointing new ministers, President Biya, requested that the national flag be hoisted at half-mast throughout the national territory this October 16, to pay homage to the fallen pilgrims.

Mr Bakary said the 15 injured Cameroonian pilgrims received adequate medical attention in Saudi Hospitals, adding that the bodies of the deceased pilgrims had already been buried on the spot in Saudi Arabia, according to Muslim tradition.

He said Mr Biya had donated FCFA 70 million ($121,529) for distribution to families of the victims.

This September’s stampede is the deadliest incident to occur during the muslim pilgrimage in 25 years. Saudi authorities have put the total death toll at 717 but foreign media reports and officials say well over 1,000 people died.

By Blaise Whumo

Edited by Jude Fuhnwi

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