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War Complicates Route to Hajj for Sudanese Pilgrims

As thousands of pilgrims have started arriving in Makkah for hajj, pilgrims from Sudan are facing increasing difficulties to make hajj this year due to the ongoing military conflict in the country, since April 15 between the army and a paramilitary force.

The conflict has resulted in the death of hundreds, the displacement of thousands, and of course the damage of communication infrastructure in different parts of the country.

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Hajj has also become part of the casualties, as many Sudanese who want to perform the pilgrimage have faced difficulties in completing their documents and securing their flights.

Habib Ali, secretary of the administration of Hajj and Umrah in West Darfur, said that only 20 out of 560 people from his state have managed to get their documents done.

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“The crisis we are going through caused communication networks to go out of service,” Ali told Radio Dabanga.

“We have been isolated for a whole month and this hindered dozens of people who want to perform Hajj from completing their documents.”

Hajj is an important event in the Islamic calendar as millions of Muslims gather every year in Saudi Arabia city of Makkah to perform the life-time journey.

The rituals of Hajj will occur this year between Monday, June 26 and Saturday, July 1. Furthermore, `Eid al-Adha will start on June 29.

Sadly, only 20 pilgrims have arrived so far in Nyala, capital of South Darfur. They will head to Ed Daein, capital of East Darfur, and from there to El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan. After that, they will go to Port Sudan, and then to Saudi Arabia on June 26.