7 Somalis were among 717 people killed here when Haj pilgrims jostled their way to perform the symbolic stoning of the devil in the second worst ever tragedy to hit the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Ahmed Adan Digaale has confirmed the death of Somalis to VOA Somali service saying that they have so far confirmed the death of 4 Somalis from Kenya and 3 from Somalia taking the death toll of Somalis to 8 after one Somali pilgrim lost his life in the earlier incident involving a crane collapse.
800 people injured in the tragedy thought the number Somalis injured is yet not known.
“The exact number will be known after confirmation by Saudi authorities,” he further said.
The second biggest tragedy to hit the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia took place yesterday at 9 AM local time (1130 IST) due to a sudden surge in the number of pilgrims heading to Jamarat for symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing pebbles against three stone walls.
Other sources say that 7 were killed in the stampede which occurred at the intersection of two streets leading to Jamarat, about five kilometres from Makkah.
This is the second worst tragedy to hit the Haj after 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside a tunnel leading to holy sites.
Saudi Arabia has launched a probe into the incident.
Meanwhile UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the deaths of more than 700 Hajj pilgrims in a stampede near a holy site in Saudi Arabia Thursday.
“I wish to join the president of the General Assembly in expressing my deepest condolences to many hundreds of people who died,” Ban said.
“My deepest condolences to the families and friends, and governments and people of those affected. And I sincerely hope that under the leadership of Saudi Arabia, there will be immediate necessary assistance for those people, and hope that injured people will get a speedy recovery.”