By Abubakarr Bah, Information Attaché-Saudi Arabia
This medium has confirmed that a total of 9 intending pilgrims from Sierra Leone who were part of the third and final batch landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia last Thursday (July 7, 2022) at 23:50 KSA time have been repatriated to Sierra Leone.
The Saudi immigration office at the Jeddah Airport informed that the 9 intending pilgrims were returned to Sierra Leone on the next flight that was available on Saturday morning, July 10 2022.
The Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh said the Embassy staff and the Hajj Committee members did their best to rectify the visa and immigration challenges regarding the affected pilgrims.
However, the absence of key Saudi authorities (as most of them are on Eid vacation) as well as time constraint (since their arrival was on the dawn of Arafat) thwarted the considerable effort of the embassy and committee in clearing the affected Pilgrims.
Both Ambassador Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh, the Minister of Social Welfare, Hon. Haja Baindu Dassama, the Head of Chancery at the Embassy, Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba and members of the Hajj Committee visited the affected pilgrims at the King Abdulaziz Airport on Friday and had discussions with them before they were repatriated.
The Ministry of Social Welfare that is responsible for Hajj Affairs in Sierra in a Press Statement on Thursday, July 7 apologized to the intending pilgrims and their families noting that it would further engage them for the way forward.