There are no reports of any Africans injured or killed by a crane which collapsed onto Mecca’s Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia on Friday killing 107 people, the Muslim Judicial Council said.
“According to some of our networks, we have established that at this moment in time there is no report of any Africans, but in the next few hours we will follow the news and keep our families and the pilgrim families informed here in South Africa,” MJC President Ihsaan Hendricks told broadcaster eNCA.
The cause of the crane’s collapse was due to the heavy sandstorms across the Middle East which had been experienced in the past few days.
“…And particularly at 18:00… we saw a sandstorm in Mecca and particularly the holy shrine, that is what has caused the collapse of the crane in the compound which has caused the extensive amount of injuries and sadly a number of the pilgrims have passed away,” Hendricks said.
The incident takes place weeks before the annual Muslim Haj pilgrimage, where Saudi authorities go to great lengths to prepare for the millions of Muslims who converge on Mecca.
Last year, the kingdom reduced the numbers permitted to perform Haj for safety reasons because of construction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque.
Hendricks said the incident would not deter people from attending the pilgrimage.
“It will definitely not affect the actual pilgrimage and I think the Saudi authorities will take the necessary precautions and preparations for that. We are quite confident that in the next few days preparations will be [conducted] speedily for the pilgrimage,” he said. News24