127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims are ready to perform Hajj this year

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Bangladeshi Muslim pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Bangladeshi Muslims go to passport control upon their arrival at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Bangladeshi Muslim pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
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Bangladeshi Muslim pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport in the Saudi capital on July 14,2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. (AFP)
Updated 21 July 2018

127,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims are ready to perform Hajj this year

  • According to the Hajj agreement with Saudi Arabia, this year a total of 126,798 Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to perform the Hajj.
  • Authorities in Dhaka have organized special flights to carry the pilgrims to Makkah.

DHAKA: The intended Hajj pilgrims of Bangladesh are now busy with their final preparations to take their flights to Makkah. According to the Hajj agreement with Saudi Arabia, this year a total of 126,798 Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to perform the Hajj.
Authorities in Dhaka have organized special flights to carry the pilgrims to Makkah.
Mohammad Saiful Islam, director of the Hajj office in Dhaka, told Arab News that the Bangladesh government will send 6,798 pilgrims through its own management and the other 120,000 will be managed by the 1,200 private Hajj agencies.
“We have completed all the preparations to send the pilgrims to holy Makkah and special Hajj flights started from Dhaka to Makkah on July 14,” said Islam.
The religious affairs ministry of Bangladesh has provided orientation training to all the pilgrims in 64 districts of Bangladesh. Here they were taught all the basics of Hajj and other formalities while staying in Saudi Arabia, he said.
He added that a 40-member team comprising doctors and nurses are in Saudi Arabia now to look after the Bangladeshi pilgrims. Besides, a significant number of administrative officers who were sent from Dhaka are also working round the clock along with the Bangladesh Mission staff to meet the queries and problems of the Bangladeshi pilgrims.
In any emergency situation the pilgrims will be able “to reach the hotline numbers where the Bangladeshi Hajj associates will be attending them,” Islam said.
Before taking the Hajj flights, Bangladeshi pilgrims gather in a permanent Hajj camp at Ashkona near the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka to complete the final preparations.
“I am very happy and grateful to the Almighty Allah as I have got the chance to perform the holy Hajj. Here everything is going fine. Now I am counting the days till that auspicious moment ” said Abdur Rahman, 72, a pilgrim waiting for his flight on Saturday at Ashkona Hajj Camp, Dhaka.
Hajjera Khatun, 59, another pilgrim, said: “From my early days I dreamt of performing the holy Hajj. Now, I am feeling lucky as Allah has given me the ability to perform it.”
Every year, Hajj Agencies of Bangladesh (HAB), the private Hajj operators, send the majority of the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
“We have already sent 35,000 pilgrims. And our Hajj flights will continue till Aug. 16,” said M. Shahdat Hossain Taslim, secretary-general of HAB.
Taslim conveyed his gratitude to the Saudi embassy officials in Dhaka for their relentless effort and support to HAB in managing thousands of Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims.
He said Biman Bangladesh Airlines (the official carrier of Bangladesh) and Saudi Airlines are both carrying the Bangladeshi pilgrims through special Hajj flights to Saudi Arabia.
The return Hajj flights are scheduled on Aug 27.


36 people missing after boat sinks in Congo river: DRC police

Updated 15 September 2019

36 people missing after boat sinks in Congo river: DRC police

  • Seventy-six people survived after the vessel went down overnight on the outskirts of the capital

KINSHASA, Congo: Thirty-six people are missing after a boat sank in the Congo river on the outskirts of Kinshasa, DR Congo police said on Sunday.

The vessel, which was travelling to the capital, went down overnight in Maluku commune, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the centre of the city. Seventy-six people survived, police wrote on Twitter.

"The cause of the accident is not yet known," police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu told AFP. Lake and river transport is widely used in Democratic Republic of Congo as the highway system is poor, but accidents are common, often caused by overloading and the unsafe state of vessels.

The boat involved was called a "baleiniere" or "whaler" - a commonly-used flat-bottomed vessel between 15 to 30 metres (50 to 100 feet) long by two to six metres wide.

In the vast majority of accidents, passengers are not equipped with life jackets and many cannot swim.