Somalia ends dispute on Hajj service, says diplomat
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A Somali diplomat says the country’s ministry of religious affairs and Endowment has solved the dispute on the issue of the transfer of Somali pilgrims this year to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Garowe Online reports.
Farhan Sheikh Mohamud who is in charge of pilgrimage at Somalia’s Embassy in Riyadh confirmed the end of the standoff after 5 private airlines cleared to transport Hajj passengers travelling to Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to the local media, Mohamud announced that the delayed transportation of the pilgrims from Somalia to will commence soon since the gridlock between the ministry and airline firms is now over.
The move breaks Daallo and Jubba Airways’ long-running Hajj monopoly and gives chances for new airline companies, namely Ocean, Freedom and East Africa to compete for the lucrative business.
This year, the Federal Government of Somalia has announced downward review on the extortionate Hajj fare package for 2018 pilgrimage, a step that has been greatly welcomed by the pilgrims in the country.
The pilgrims are paying $3,300 for the expenses incurred on air passage, accommodation, local transport within Saudi Arabia and food in Madina, according to Somalia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Mohamud added that the companies will offer services to over 9,300 Hajj pilgrims.
Early this month, July 9, Somali PM Hassan Ali Khaire has sacked his Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowment Hassan Moallim Hussein. He was only less than two months in office.
According to the sources, the decision to dismiss the Minister came after he allegedly failed to implement Government policy to expand competition between companies providing Hajj services to pilgrims.