Twenty-five Nigerians ostensibly in Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s Haj have been arrested over theft. The thieves, whose identities were not disclosed, “all with prior criminal records, have been arrested in Makkah,” according to Saudi Gazette, quoting Makkah Police spokesman Lt. Col. Abdul Mohsin Al-Maiman.
“The thieves robbed pilgrims inside the Grand Mosque and broke into several shops and houses in Makkah. Several members of the gang were nabbed red-handed and they guided the police to other members who were hiding in an old building on Al-Mansour St. 80 cell phones and over SR50,000 in currency was seized,” the report said.
About 1.38 million pilgrims from Nigeria and 117 other countries are performing the Haj this year, according to Saudi Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee Prince Muhammad Bin Naif.
Saudi Gazette quoted Prince Muhammad as saying that of the 1,379,531 foreign pilgrims, 752,424 were men representing 55 percent and 627,107 women forming 45 percent.
“The number of foreign pilgrims this year was less by 377,439 (21 percent) compared to last year,” the paper said. “The number of pilgrims who arrived by air was over 1.29 million. Over 72,000 pilgrims arrived here by sea and 14,898 by land,” it added.