Presidential Hajj Taskforce, in person of the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Alhaji Mohamed Haji-Kella has issued warning to family members who are expecting their relatives (Pilgrims) to return from the 2023 Islamic pilgrimage at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

This comes after announcement that the first batch of Sierra Leonean pilgrims are to return to the Freetown International Airport by 1:00pm on Sunday, the 23rd July, 2023.

Relatives and family members of Pilgrims have been asked to wait at the Government Warf Ferry Park in Freetown to receive them. Haji-Kella warned that no relatives must go over to Lungi to receive their pilgrims but should assemble at the aforementioned spot and wait for the authorities to hand over their relatives to them.

The Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It’s a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey.

Every year, Muslims from different countries including Sierra Leone eagerly undertake this journey to submit to their lord and cleanse their souls of all worldly sins.

According to Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) reports for the 2023 Hajj, a total of One Million Eight Hundred and Forty-five thousand and forty-five (1,845,045) pilgrims are performing this rite.

A total number of 652 Pilgrims from Sierra Leone participated in this year’s Hajj, according to the Sierra Leone’s Press attaché in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Among them are 2 medical doctors, 1 pharmacist, 2 nurses, 7 government officials and 12 officials, appointed by the Sierra Leone authorities to accompany and assist pilgrims throughout their journey in the foreign land.