News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Saudi Arabia says 2016 Hajj successful

Saudi Arabia pilgrims from Nigeria

Saudi Arabia has declared  this year’s Hajj  a big success as millions of pilgrims depart after performing related rituals.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud congratulated Saudi Crown Prince and Supreme Hajj Committee, Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the success of the season in a statement released through the Saudi Press Agency.

The number of pilgrims exceeded 1.8 million, of which 1.3 are foreigners, Saudi authorities said on Monday.

The country took strict security measures to protect the holy sites from potential terrorist attacks.

The Saudi health ministry declared on Wednesday epidemic-free hajj season, through certain steps, including the compulsory vaccinations for all pilgrims.

Last year, many pilgrims died during the pilgrimage, first after a crane fell on worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

A few days after, no fewer than 2,400 people also died in a stampede  in Mina. The stampede was the deadliest Hajj disaster in history.