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Mali families criticize Saudi response to Mina tragedy

17 February 2016 9:42


A group of families in Mali, who lost their loved ones in the last September Hajj tragedy, are planning to file complaints against Riyadh.

Marcel Ceccaldi, the lawyer for the families of the victims, has criticized Saudi Arabia’s response to the deadly human crush which took place in Mina, near the Saudi city of Mecca.

Also rapping the response of the Mali government to the crush, Ceccaldi said on Tuesday that the families are considering filing complaints against Riyadh in Mali and with the European Union.

Some 320 pilgrims from Mali lost their lives in the Mina disaster which took place on September 24, 2015 when two large masses of pilgrims were directed by Saudi authorities toward one another and fused at a crossroads in Mina. The pilgrims were on their way to participate in the symbolic stoning of Satan in Jamarat.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials with Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including 465 Iranians, lost their lives in the tragedy.

The AP record says 2,426 pilgrims died in the incident.

Saudi Arabia has come under harsh criticism over its role and handling of the Mina incident.

Iran says Riyadh’s incompetence in handling safety at the rituals caused the deadly incident.

The Mina disaster came days after a massive construction crane collapsed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people and leaving over 200 others wounded.

Separately, a fire at a 15-story hotel in Mecca on September 21, 2015 forced the evacuation of some 1,500 people. A fire also broke out at another hotel in the city days earlier, which left a number of foreigners injured.

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