Special Assistant to the Vice President and a member of the Sierra Leone National Hajj Coordinating Committee, Alhaji Salieu Mansaray, has they have been making preparations for this year's hajj since they returned from last year's pilgrimage.
Speaking to this reporter, Mr. Mansaray said a two-man delegation headed by Alhaji M.S. Kargbo and himself has just returned from Saudi Arabia on a two-week preparation for this year's hajj. He said they visited Mecca and Madina to inspect and choose the houses where the pilgrims will be staying. They also met with the Saudi authorities to provide feedback for last year's hajj and to obtain information for this year's program.
Mansaray said at the meeting with the Saudi authorities the Sierra Leone Hajj Mission was commended by the head of the establishment for non Arab Islamic countries, Abdel Burhan, for being last year's winner of the best Hajj Mission from Sub-Saharan Africa. He maintained that the Hajj Mission has completed preparations in Mecca and Madina for housing and transportation for between eight hundred (800) to one thousand (1,000) pilgrims.
Mr. Mansaray said the mission is calling on all intending pilgrims for this year's hajj to contact the Hajj Secretariat in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs for information. He disclosed that pilgrims for this year's hajj are expected to depart Sierra Leone on the first week of October and return on the first week in November.
He added that due to concerns about the elections, all pilgrims shall return to Freetown on time to take part in the November 17 polls. He said the final date as well as the fare for this year's hajj shall be communicated in a press release.