Six Kenyans die in Saudi Arabia stampede

The number of Kenyans who died in the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia city of Mecca has risen to six while nine others are still missing, a Muslim umbrella body said on Tuesday.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) chairman Abdulghafur El-Busaidy told journalists in Nairobi that some of the more than 4,900 Kenyans who were attending the Hajj have already started returning into the country.

“We expect all pilgrims to be back in the country within two weeks, and we will embark on seeking to know what took place to occasion the tragedy,” he said.

El-Busaidy called on the Kenyan government to review the rules and regulations governing the security of nationals in other countries.

He also urged the Saudi Arabian government to compensate all those who lost loved ones during the stampede, in the same way it did for families of those who died following the crane collapse.

The Saudi Arabian government said investigations are ongoing amid reports that the pilgrims were at fault.

The stampede occurred last week in Mecca’s neighborhood of Mina, a large valley where about two million Muslims are performing annual hajji pilgrim. According to Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense Service, the stampede has claimed about 769 lives and left over 800 pilgrims injured.

The tragedy was the worst to befall the pilgrimage since July 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims were crushed to death in a tunnel near Mecca.