By Aruna Turay
A total of 950 Sierra Leonean pilgrims have finally departed Sierra Leone for the holy land of Makkah to perform the 5th Pillar of Islam, Hajj. Yesterday, 7th July 2022, the final batch of 270 Sierra Leonean pilgrims departed the Freetown International Airport in Lungi on board Ethiopia Airways.
This figure will be added to the 680 Sierra Leonean pilgrims, who have already safely landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia last Friday and Saturday respectively.
Unfortunately, a total of 130 Sierra Leonean Pilgrims do not make it to this year’s hajj and are expected to return back to their various homes across the country frustrated, disgusted and humiliated.
Despite the many challenges faced by the Saudi authorities in facilitating this year’s Hajj for Muslims across the globe, the Government of President Julius Maada Bio has worked assiduously to ensure that all the batches of Sierra Leonean pilgrims departed the country and are expected to safely land in Makkah with no major immigration issues.
Reports are that Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh since 1st July, 2022 virtually moved his office from Freetown to Lungi to help supervise the entire Hajj process.
Unlike some Guinean pilgrims who were deported just after they landed in Saudi Arabia, the 15 Sierra Leonean pilgrims that earlier had immigration issues at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah were cleared to perform this year’s Hajj following the intervention of Ambassador Dr. Ibrahim Jalloh and his team at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi Arabia.