By Aliyu Dangida
DUTSE – Thousands of intending pilgrims from Jigawa and Niger states were held hostage for several hours on the way back to Mecca from Mina by African thugs residing in Saudi Arabia known as Agullah.
The unfortunate incident occurred when the Agulles or Tukaris blocked the road from Mina to Mecca and were reported to have seized over 1,000 roasted rams belonging to Jigawa and Niger state pilgrims on Monday night along Makka – Mina road from the two state officials of their pilgrims’ boards.
A competent source told newsmen in a telephone chat that over 1,500 members of Agullah or Tukari thugs invaded Mina road around 2.00 in the morning and forced the two state officials to surrender all their roasted rams ready for sacrifice.
The attack frightened the officials of the two states, a situation which made it easy for the thugs to take over all the rams while dancing and chanting saying it is “Sabil, they are liars”, adding that immediately they collected all the rams, they disappeared to unknown destination.
The source further explained that all the Agullah members were black Africans from Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Togo, Mali , Somalia, south Africa, cameroun and Burkina Faso.
According to the source, all the thugs were carrying dangerous weapons, and blocked the road intimidating people and snatching pilgrims’ properties along the way and the two states officials found themselves in their midst.
One of the officials who narrowly escaped from the hands of the Agullah thugs spoke on condition of anonymity, and said majority of the thieves spoke Arabic fluently, explaining further that most of them live in Arab areas like Sudan and Chad.
The official said, in trying to explain to the attackers that the rams were belonging to pilgrims of Jigawa and Niger states, the thugs started shouting on him saying: ‘sabil ,sabil’ meaning sadaqat or alms, it is free. They even tried to beat him up, a situation which made him to take to his heels.
He therefore advised the two states officials and Saudi Government to deploy maximum security along Arafat – Mina road during prayer period in Mina and Arafat because even last year, such groups of people snatched property of pilgrims and took away sallah rams from the officials.
He also called on the Nigerian Government to take measures to guard against future occurrence.