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First Batch Of Pilgrims Arrive In Accra   
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The first batch of 333 pilgrims out of 2,804 pilgrims who were airlifted from Accra to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj safely returned on Monday.

They were bused from the Kotoka International Airport to the Hajj Village with cheers from relatives, friends and sympathisers.

Mr Henry Quartey, the Deputy Minister of the Interior on behalf of the Government welcomed the pilgrims and thanked the Almighty Allah for bringing them back home safely.

He said the holy journey of the pilgrims to Mecca and back was “so far so good and we can say that Allah has been merciful to us” and that all things they sought for; the blessings, favours and interventions from God for themselves and the nation should come to pass.

He commended the Hajj Board headed by Sheik I.C. Quaye for the successful organisation of this year’s Hajj and however said four pilgrims were recorded dead and that the detail account of whatever happened during the religious exercise would be given when the Board return from Mecca.

Mr Quartey prayed for Allah’s continuous blessings and protection for Ghanaians and for those who passed on a peaceful rest.

Hajia Mariam Sissy, the Deputy Communication Director of the Hajj Board briefing the journalists said a total number of pilgrims airlifted from Accra and Tamale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was 5,700 and the numbers expected to return for both sides were 2,804 and 2,622 respectively.

“When you do the calculation, you realise the figure is not up to the 5,700 because we have pilgrims who decided to buy their own return tickets,” she said.

She said originally, the pilgrims were supposed to start arriving in Accra on September 14, but because of the concerns Sheik I.C. Quaye has for the pilgrims, he negotiated for the early take off of flights from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the last batch would arrive on September 19.

Source: GNA

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