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Last flight for Ghanaian pilgrims leaves today

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Alhaji Alhassan Benne, Chairman of the National Hajj Committee (NHC), on Friday said the last flight for Ghanaian pilgrims would leave Ghana on Friday October 12, 2012 to Madina, Saudi Arabia.

He said NHC this year signed an agreement with Egypt Air to airlift 5,700 Ghanaians pilgrims on 18 return flights from Ghana to Saudi Arabia.

“Egypt Air lifted 317 pilgrims on daily basis, from September 29th and we are ending on October 12, 2012”, Alhaji Benne told the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

He said some people could not make it the pilgrimage this year because they fulfilled their financial obligations after the deadline given by the committee, adding, “The committee should not be blamed for any inconvenience.”

Alhaji Benne said the Government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under late President John Evans Atta Mills and now President John Dramani Mahama was concerned about the welfare of Ghanaians pilgrims and that the leadership early this year had put in measures in support of the committee to avert the inconvenience.

He said Islam is a peaceful religion and the fact Ghanaians were law abiding, pilgrims who were airlifted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were asked to respect the laws and citizens of the country.

Alhaji Benne s said pilgrims were also asked to pray for peace in Ghana as the nation prepares for polls in December to elect a president and parliamentarians.

According to the official timetable obtained by GNA, Hajj is expected to fall between October 24and 29. Hijri dates for 1433H (2012) Hajj and Umrah seasons as follows:

The first day of arrival in the Kingdom for pilgrims is September 27, whilst the last date for arrival of pilgrims in the Kingdom by air at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, or at the Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz International  Airport, Madina, is October 20.

The  last date for pilgrims to travel from Jeddah to Madina by bus is October 11 and last date for pilgrims to travel from Jeddah to Madina by air is October 18, while the last date for pilgrims to travel from Madina to Makkah by bus (before Hajj) is October 21.

The last date for pilgrims to travel from Madinah to Jeddah by air (before Hajj) is October 22, with the final date for departure (return trip) being November 29.

The Hajj village was relocated to the Kotoka International Airport area following the Allied Air Cargo Boeing 727-200 crash at the original village near the Elwalk Sports Stadium. The village was empty during the crash.

Source: GNA

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