Tragedy struck in Saudi Arabia yesterday as a crane collapsed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, killing at least 107 people.
According to BBC, the huge red crane crashed into a part of the Grand Mosque as it was filled with worshippers, less than two weeks before the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The Grand Mosque, known as the Masjid al-Haram, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam’s holiest place, the Kaaba.
Officials say the fall was as a result of strong winds and heavy rains. However, there have previously been concerns about safety on Saudi construction sites.
At least 230 people were injured in the incident. It is unclear how many people were hurt by the collapse or the stampede that followed it.
Victims include Indonesian, Indian, Iranian and Egyptian citizens.
The head of Saudi Arabia’s civil defence agency, Lt Sulayman Bin-Abdullah al-Amr, said an investigation was being carried out to assess the damage, and the “extent of the safety of these sites”.
Following the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to ensure the security and well-being of all Nigerians currently on pilgrimage in the holy land.
The president equally commiserated with his Majesty, King Salman, the people of Saudi Arabia and the worldwide Islamic community over the tragic loss of lives.
He enjoined Nigerians to pray for the safety of their compatriots who are currently in Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj and prayed that Almighty Allah will receive the souls of all those who died in the incident and grant the injured speedy recovery.
Up to two million people are expected to arrive in Mecca for the Hajj from all over the world later this month.
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