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Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 17:03 GMT
Hajj pilgrims stranded in Africa
Pilgrims in Tanzanian airport
Most of those stranded in Tanzania have managed to leave
Thousands of African pilgrims heading for next week's annual Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, are stranded across the continent.

Around 3,000 are in Ghana, where a plane arrived on Thursday but was unable to take off.

Nearly 6,000 Nigerians have also found it impossible to make the journey, despite having airline tickets for Saudi Arabia.

However, some 1,100 pilgrims have now been able to travel from Tanzania.

African pilgrims have frequently complained about the difficulties of attending the Hajj, one of the duties of every Muslim, if they can afford it and are physically able.


Some 1,500 pilgrims from Tanzania, the Comoros and Democratic Republic of Congo had feared they would miss the Hajj after spending 10 days at Dar es Salaam airport.

But the third and final batch of 379 pilgrims left at 1100 local time (0800 GMT) on Friday for Medina, from where they will be ferried by coach to Mecca.

Jeddah international airport was closed on Thursday night.

Some 400 of them, especially the old and the sick, have decided to cancel the trip and returned to their homes.

They say that this is Allah's test during this period and that they will not raise their anger against those responsible for the delay.

They are disappointed and say they will be demanding compensation from the government.

Every year about 2m Muslims converge on Mecca - the holiest place in Islam - for the Hajj.

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