The grim figures keep rising and is expected to keep rising as scores of pilgrims still are unaccounted for. The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has disclosed that the number of Nigerian pilgrims who died as a result of the September 24 Hajj stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia, has gone up to 222 even as Sokoto and Kano states still top the list of casualties.
Speaking all the way from Saudi Arabia on Sunday, NAHCON official Dr. Ibrahim Kana, said 355 Nigerians were affected in the tragedy, Daily Trust reports.
“By the latest figures we have so far identified 222 bodies, 130 missing and three recuperating in the hospital. We are not leaving any stone unturned until we account for all Nigerians, dead or alive. Majority have been buried in Makkah. We have all the records of graves of Nigerians. The idea is that
we would share this with relations who may want to visit and pray for them.
“But the DNA analysis that we would be carrying out in Nigeria in the coming weeks would provide identity for everyone. The DNA kits that we collected from the Saudi authority would be used on relations back in Nigeria. The DNA analysis would be conducted in Riyadh and we would go round the country to take blood samples from the victims’ relationships either father, mother, son or daughter,” Kana, who is the commissioner in charge of Health for the Hajj 2015, said.
He said two female pilgrims who became unconscious due to the stampede had since regained consciousness. Though they were formerly tagged unknown, they had now been found to come from Kano State, he said.
As at October 21, the death toll from the stampede was put at 2097, based on tallies by French news AFP.
However, Saudi Arabian Authority has yet to provide an updated death toll from the 769 it earlier mentioned.