The first batch of this year’s pilgrims,numbering 435 has left the Tamale international airport aboard a Saudi airline Flynas, flying airbus A330.
It took off at about 2:31 pm and is believed to land Medina in about six hours. The second flight was expected to take off at about 1:pm with 237 pilgrims.
In all, over 2 thousand six hundred and seventeen (2617) pilgrims will leave Tamale for this year’s annual Islamic spiritual activities in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Addressing the media at the airport, the National Hajj Board Chairman, Sheikh I.C Quaye told journalists that the government has cleared all the debt left by the previous NDC government. Sheikh I.C Quaye said all Ghanaian pilgrims will be fed at Medinah, Mecca and Jeddah airport.
The government he said has paid 31 million Ghana cedis debt left behind by the previous NDC government to make last year's and this year's Hajjs possible.
Sheikh Quaye said 452 pilgrims who paid in 2016 but did not go has also been catered for by the government this year.
This he said was to demonstrate how government was committed to hajj affairs in the interests of Ghanaian Muslims.
Minister for Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery admonished the pilgrims to conduct themselves very well while they are in Saudi Arabia because they are the face of Ghana.
The interior minister while addressing the first batch on board reminded them that they are ambassadors of Ghana and anything they do must be positive.
The president, Nana Akufo-Addo, the interior minister said, was very sensitive and cautious about Ghana's image abroad.
He urged the pilgrims to ensure that they obey local laws and their behavior portrays discipline and respect for the rule of law in Saudi.