General News of Saturday, 20 August 2016
The first batch of 500 would-be Ghanaian pilgrims arrived at the Medina International Airport in Saudi Arabia barely 10 hours after departure for the 2016 Hajj.
The first flight for this year’s Hajj was historic as it departed the Tamale International Airport directly to Saudi Arabia.
The flight, Boeing 740-400 series, was seen off by President John Dramani Mahama and the Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Shaributu.
The second and third batches are scheduled to depart Tamale for Medina before those in Accra will be airlifted to the Kingdom for the Islamic rite.
After arrival on Friday, the 500 Ghanaians were checked in into their hotel. The would-be pilgrims were taken through strict rules guiding this year’s rite by the Pilgrims Affairs Office of Ghana (PAOG).
Before going aboard the Saudi Arabia government-owned Nas Airline flight, they had been screened by officers of the Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Airport Company, the military, National Security and other auxiliary staff.
A special prayer service was held for all those embarking on this year’s Hajj Friday morning.