The first batch of 528 pilgrims from Gombe State on Thursday returned from Saudi Arabia, through Max Airline, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Confirming the safe return of the batch to newsmen in a telephone interview, the Executive Secretary of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Malam Usman Gurama, said that 530 pilgrims were supposed to be in the batch, but that two pilgrims could not be traced.

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Gurama said the two pilgrims were among the five earlier declared missing after the Hajj tragedy in Mina at the Jamrat stone throwing venue.

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He said that pilgrims for the second flight had started preparing to leave, adding that other flights would also follow according to the schedule.

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Over 1943 pilgrims from Gombe State performed this year’s pilgrimage from the state, out of which four female pilgrims died as a result of the collapse of the crane in Mecca, while five others were declared missing after the Mina stampede.(NAN)

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