By Abubakarr Bah, Information Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone
The third and final batch of Sierra Leonean pilgrims in Lungi are checking-in to depart the Freetown International Airport (FNA) for the Holy land of Makkah, to perform Hajj, the fifth Pillar of Islam.
Already, about 680 Sierra Leonean pilgrims, who safely landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia on Friday and Saturday respectively, have successfully performed Umrah and are now comfortably waiting in Mina for the third and final batch to join them in the Hajj journey to Arafat to fulfil one of the major pillars of Hajj.
Despite the many challenges faced by the Saudi authorities in facilitating this year’s Hajj for Muslims across the globe, the Government of His Excellency President Dr. Julius MaadaBio has worked assiduously to ensure that all the batches of Sierra Leonean pilgrims arrive safely in Makkah with no major immigration issues.
Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on the 1st July, 2022 virtually moved his office to Lungi to help supervise the entire Hajj process.
Unlike some Guinean pilgrims who were deported just after they landed in Saudi Arabia, the 15 Sierra Leonean pilgrims that had immigration issues at the King AbdulazizInternational Airport in Jeddah were cleared to perform this year’s Hajj following the intervention of Ambassador Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh and his team at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the Minister of Social Welfare, Hon. BainduDassama, assured the last batch of Sierra Leonean pilgrims in Lungi that the Government of Sierra Leone has successfully negotiated with the Saudi Authorities for an extension of the stipulated deadline to ensure that they are flown to Saudi Arabia to perform the 2022 Hajj.
Sources from the Lungi International Airport say the Ethiopian Aircraft that would fly the third and final batch of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia has already landed at the Lungi Airport and would depart with the pilgrims shortly.
A total of 1,080 pilgrims from Sierra Leone are expected to perform this year’s Hajj in the Muslim Holy Land of Makkahin Saudi Arabia.
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