EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Gambia’s president Adama Barrow earlier this morning returned from the Holy land of Makkah where he joined over two million Muslims from around the to perform Hajj.
Visiting the Holy land is second in the five pillars of Islam. He performed the last rites of the Hajj on Sunday at Makkah. On Sunday morning, President Barrow along with his delegation performed the last of the three Jamraat at Mina before leaving for the last Tawafu around the Kaaba in Makkah.
President Barrow congratulated Gambian pilgrims for performing all their Hajj rites. He delivered the message through the Gambian Amirul Hajj, Alhajie Ousman Jah who visited him at Mina. President Barrow apologized on behalf of the committee for any shortcomings and urged Gambians to forgive each other, especially during this festive period of Eid.
The President commended King Salman of Saudi and his government for the security and facilities provided to his delegation and prayed for all to return home peacefully.
The Gambian Amirul Hajj, Alhajie Ousman Jah earlier during his visit briefed the President on the situation of the pilgrims, the processes, the new conditions and policies the Saudi set for the Hajj this year. Mr Jah said despite the new conditions, The Gambia succeeded to have 1424 Gambians issued Hajj visas. He also informed the President about some of the challenges they had regarding their stay in Mina and the efforts to avert such in the future.
Aside from performing the Hajj rituals at Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa, President Barrow made a courtesy call on the Sudanese President, Omar El Bashir at his Arafat tent. Some Kuwati officials who were also on Hajj also called on the Gambian President at the Royal hotel in Mina.
On Saturday, President Barrow honored a Royal invitation from King Salman of Saudi Arabia for a Royal lunch at the Mina palace. During the lunch, they discussed the importance of unity among the Muslim Ummah, and the role of Saudi Arabia as the headquarter of Islam. President Barrow told the King that despite the size of The Gambia, it has over 90 percent Muslims and he would like to build on the relationship between the two countries. The Gambian leader also met the Crown Prince of Saudi, Muhammad Bin Salman.
Among the Presidential delegation were his two wives, First Lady Fatou Bah and Lady Sarjo Mballow, Chief Justice, Hassan B Jallow, Foreign Affairs Minister, Honourable Ousianou Darbo, Interior Minister, Honourable Mai Ahmad Fatty and Tourism Minister, Honourable Hamat Bah. The Gambian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, His Excellency, Omar G Sallah and his staff were also among the Saudi delegation with the President.