The number of Nigerians who died from the 2015 Hajj stampede and crane collapse came to 288 ; also some 43 are still unaccounted for; that is missing. This is contained in the report just submitted by the Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to the Federal Government through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The stampede occurred on the third day of the hajj during the ‘stoning of the devil’ rite
Pilgrims blamed the stampede on police road closures and poor management of the throng, during searing temperatures.
“People were trying to manoeuvre to the front for safety but police were saying ‘Go back ! Go back!’” said Nigerian Abbas Tijani, who escaped with injuries.
Earlier on in the 2015 hajj, a massive construction crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque in the nearby holy city of Mecca days beforehand, killing 109 people, many of them pilgrims.
‘Stoning the Devil’ is a ritual performed by all pilgrims on the third day of the Hajj.