September 29, 2015 – Mina Hajj Stampede Survivors Say Saudi Arabia Medics Are Racists, Ignored Injured Blacks & Rescued Whites
One of the fortunate survivors of last week’s high-casualty hajj stampede has revealed that paramedics who came to rescue survivors were racially favoured “to whites over blacks”.
An indigene of Osun state Nigeria, but based in Warri, Delta state, the survivor who spoke to TheCable, said he was stuck in the midst of dead bodies for more than two hours, but there was no help from paramedics, who “favoured whites over blacks”.
“I tried to escape, but it was impossible. I was stuck in the midst of many dead bodies; some people were climbing over me to find an escape. I struggled to get myself up to the waist level. “From my toe to my waistline, people were all over, I could not get up. I just sat up to avoid further stampede. Almost everyone around me was dead. “I was calling the Saudi police and paramedics on the scene to help me, they didn’t respond. I was stuck there for more than 2 hours; they were busy helping whites, with no response to my plea. “They left black people and were carrying whites; I begged them for a long time, but to no avail.” PAIN, TRAUMA, SURVIVAL Having been to Umrah (lesser hajj) four times, he was attending the main hajj for the very first time and found it eventful.
“One of the men at the scene of the incident was moving with his wife, but she was deeply involved in the stampede and had died just beside my legs, while he sustained injuries,” he said. “The man who was hit by the rude shock of his wife’s death said I should wake his wife up; we kept waking her together but she was dead. Her husband began crying and in his trauma, he bit her with his teeth. But she was gone. “The husband began beating me to wake his wife up, I was shocked. It almost resulted in a skirmish between us but I understood he was in deep shock and pitiable trauma.”
While waiting for help, other pilgrims helped him and some others by pouring cold water on them to prevent dehydration. He said: “One pilgrim threw his phone to me, so I could place a call to anybody who could be of help. The phone fell on a dead body; I picked it up, but there was no one to call. And I couldn’t have called Nigeria.” The survivor (pictured close to rescue workers) seated atop dead bodies After hours without help, he eventually passed out but woke up to find himself at a hospital in Arafat. “As I woke up, I saw drip (intravenous fluid) on my body.
I was fed and dressed up, well-treated at the hospital. I saw more than 80 people – including a Yoruba woman residing in Sokoto – at the hospital with various degrees of injuries.” A businessman in the oil industry, he was glad to have survived the unfortunate event, especially as his worried son called him from the US after seeing a footage of him in the midst of many dead people. PROBES, AFRICANS AND COMPENSATIONS A lot has been said about Africans being the cause of the second worst tragedy in hajj stampede history, but nothing has been said about compensating families involved.
Though President Muhammadu Buhari’s has said through Garba Shehu, his special assistant on media and publicity, that “it is not within our powers to question the will of God”, the survivor wants the government to probe the issue. “I heard them say we Africans caused it, but that’s not true. The whites who faced us, because they said the Prince was coming their way, were the ones who caused the tragedy.” “For Nigerians who died in the stampede, it’s only God who understands all.
It’s left for the Nigerian government to look into this. Iranians have been protesting due to their mass death, over 100, but we don’t know Nigeria’s death toll yet.” On compensations, he said: “No talks on compensations yet. Just the crane accident victims have been said to get compensated”.
As at Monday, it had been confirmed that at least 54 Nigerians were killed in the stampede, trailing behind Iran, which has lost over 140 citizens.