Kenyan family mourns loss of dad in Mecca stampede


Grief engulfed a family of Bulla Mzuri in Garissa after news broke on Sunday that one of those who died on Thursday during the stampede that occurred during the religious ceremony of “Stoning the Devil” in Mina, Saudi Arabia was one of their own.

The family of the late Mahat Ijaib, who was a former Chief of Waberi location in the outskirts of Garissa town, is yet to come to terms with the tragic event that befell them.

According to his son Issa Ijaib, the deceased had turned 60 recently and had communicated to them early Wednesday before heading to conduct the ritual of stoning the devil.

“My father was the only pillar of income and the family depended on him,” he said.

“His demise might subject us to suffering since most of the other children are still in school and needed support,” he added.

He appealed to the government to offer employment to one of the sons so as to provide for the family and to enable the rest of the siblings finish their secondary school education.

The former administrator, who served for eight years as Waberi Location Chief, has since been buried in Saudi Arabia, leaving behind six children and a widow.

The crash happened at a holy site in Mecca’s neighborhood of Mina, which traditionally provides temporary accommodation for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and about 2 million Muslims were performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a condolence message to the Saudi Arabian Government and the Muslim Community at large.

“We mourn with you and are filled with grief at this great loss,” said the president

“On my behalf and on behalf of the government and people of Kenya, am sending to you and through you to the Muslim fraternity this message of hope and encouragement following the stampede tragedy.”

Millions of Muslims travel from around the world to go to Saudi Arabia to complete the Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca.

It is the fifth and final pillar of Islam and takes place in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.

Just two weeks ago over a hundred people were killed in Mecca when a construction crane fell on the crowded Grand Mosque.

There have been numerous tragedies at the Hajji but the stampede is the deadliest in the last 25 years.

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Story By Gathoni Jemimah
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