Age limits set for wheelchair assistants in Makkah's Grand Mosque

Pushing wheelchairs is one of the most common jobs undertaken to serve pilgrims.
Updated 17 January 2018
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Age limits set for wheelchair assistants in Makkah's Grand Mosque

MAKKAH: Only people aged between 25 and 60 years will be allowed to push the wheelchairs of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, said the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques.
The age limit is to ensure the health of pilgrims and visitors, and because people outside the age group may have difficulty reaching the elevations of Safa and Marwa while pushing a wheelchair, said the director of mobility services at the presidency, Saleh Hossawee.
“Many Umrah and Hajj pilgrims complained about the inability of some wheelchair pushers to reach the end of the tracks between the mountains of Safa and Marwa,” he told Arab News.
“When these complaints were repeated, the presidency issued a decision to prevent those over 60 years of age from doing the job.”
Pushing wheelchairs is one of the most common jobs undertaken to serve pilgrims and improve the living conditions of those who are unemployed.


Saudi Arabia to release 1,000 Ethiopian prisoners

Ethiopian immigrants returning from Saudi Arabia arrive at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport in this December 10, 2013 photo. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Ethiopians were sent home in 2013 but they have apparently been replaced by new arrivals in the succeeding years. (AFP file photo)
Updated 20 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia to release 1,000 Ethiopian prisoners

  • Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Ethiopian migrants were repatriated from Saudi Arabia in 2013.
  • Officials in Riyadh are in the process of deporting more than 500,000 Ethiopian migrants this year.

ADDIS ABABA: Saudi Arabia has agreed to release 1,000 Ethiopian nationals who have been in prison in the Gulf state for a variety of offenses, Ethiopian state-affiliated media said on Saturday.

The decision was made following a request by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was in Riyadh on an official visit this week, Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The agency said among the detainees were 100 women. It did not disclose what the charges were. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian nationals live in the Gulf region, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

Officials in Riyadh are in the process of deporting more than 500,000 undocumented Ethiopian migrants.

So far, 160,000 have arrived back in the Horn of Africa country.

During his recent visit to Riyadh, Ahmed met with leaders of Ethiopian community and discussed setting up a strong partnership between the government and the community to address challenges they are facing.

The trip is his first outside Africa after three visits to neighbouring countries. The East African nation secured thousands of exit visas for its nationals and flew them back home.

Established diplomatic relations in 1948, Saudi Arabia is among the first Arab countries to open embassy in Addis Ababa.