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With heavy hearts from unrest at home, where ongoing conflict has led to deteriorating security and economic conditions, Sudanese pilgrims left Saudi Arabia after completing hajj rituals.

Taking different routes to the holy places in the Kingdom, the journey of Sudanese pilgrims started at N’Djamena International Airport in Chad and Port Osman Digna in Sudan.

They crossed barren deserts and remote wildernesses, traveling with silent tears in their eyes and faces heavy with sorrow. Their hope was choked by the desire for a homeland of peace and security.

From El Geneina in West Darfur, Sudan, Mohammed Issa Adam embarked on an arduous and exhausting pilgrimage with a group from the Sudanese Hajj Mission.

Their journey lasted several days and involved various modes of transportation: donkey carts, four-wheel drive vehicles, and buses.

They traveled to Chad’s capital, flew to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and eventually landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Adam, 46, described to Asharq Al-Awsat how Sudanese pilgrims left for the kingdom via Chad due to security concerns.

“Departing from El Geneina in western Sudan, instead of the usual route east to Port Sudan, was unexpected,” he said.

“Despite road closures and security concerns, the determination of Ahmed Serr El-Khatim, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Hajj and Umrah, allowed pilgrims to complete their rituals,” he added.

“We packed up and traveled west by truck to the border, about 20 miles away.”

“After going through the entry procedures and paying the fees, we traveled in groups using donkey carts to Adre, before switching to four-wheel drive vehicles for the next leg. There were buses waiting for us on our journey to N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, where we arrived after a challenging journey,” Adam continued.

“From there we flew through the airport to King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah,” he noted.

Speaking with a heavy heart and hesitant words, Adam expressed concern about the security situation in Sudan and said: “Security instability undermines civilian life, crucial for all Sudanese. As pilgrims, we see the safety of Sudan as our collective responsibility.”

Reflecting on the pilgrimage, Adam said: “From entering Saudi territory to completing the Hajj rites, we were warmly welcomed and graciously received, which eased the fatigue and hardship of our journey.”

“Arriving at Jeddah Airport, procedures went quickly and we were welcomed with warmth and efficiency.”

“The Hajj was carried out smoothly and without any major problems; everything was accessible, with excellent services. In Arafat we prayed for the well-being of Sudan, hoping that peace will restore the country to its former glory.”

Adam also praised the rules for this year’s Hajj: “The campaign to ensure pilgrims have permits has been well implemented.”

“From the moment we arrived at the airport, we noticed strict enforcement. We received identification bracelets, accommodation cards and ritual cards, all closely monitored.”

“The campaign significantly facilitated the movements of pilgrims during rituals, ensuring their comfort with excellent services and efficient organization.”

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Al-Sadiq Al-Hilou, coordinator of the pilgrim campaigns in East and West Darfur states, reported that the number of Sudanese pilgrims who performed Hajj this year reached 8,533.

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