Hajj stampede: Nigeria death toll rises to 168
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said that the number of Nigerians confirmed dead in the September 24 stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia has risen from 145 to 168.
Spokesman of the commission, Uba Mana said last night in Makkah that the number of injured remained 35, while those missing had reduced from 165 to 144.
“Seven of our pilgrims are on admission and responding to treatments while others that were injured have been discharged,” Mana said.
Daily Trust reports that those missing are feared dead though not yet identified among hundreds of bodies at hospital morgues. But the commission has insisted they could not be declared dead until certified or identified by the finger prints or DNA matchings.
The Commissioner of Operations of the commission, Alhaji Ibrahim Modibbo Saleh on Sunday in Makkah said: “Those declared missing cannot be declared dead, since their corpses have not been identified and there are ongoing efforts to locate them or identify their remains among the dead.”
Meanwhile, the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II and leader of the Central Coordinating Committee of this year’s hajj told newsmen in Kano shortly after he returned from Makka yesterday that: “About 168 Nigerians were identified and confirmed to have been killed in the stamped and also over 140 are still missing which we assumed to have also died in the stampede as well.
“If you count the number of those that were confirmed to have died and those that were still missing and could not be traced, you will have over 300 Nigerians that are killed in the stampede,” he said.