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Haj and Umrah force tasked with Makkah crowd control

MAKKAH: All arrangements to ensure the security and safety of Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque are in place, according to Brig. Gen. Ali Al-Ghamdi, commander of the Special Haj and Umrah Security Forces.

“The main task of the force is to maintain security of the central area of Makkah, particularly the Grand Mosque and its courtyards. The forces are also lending a helping hand to the Haram Security Force, traffic police, patrol units, as well as forces engaged in search operations and monitoring duties,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Al-Ghamdi said the soldiers had improved their efficiency in discharging the designated duties since the formation of the force three years ago. “This year, the force has been entrusted with the task of crowd control.”

Members of the force were also provided with training to use sign language to help foreign pilgrims who only know their languages.

The training has been given in major languages such as English, French, Persian and Urdu, according to Brig. Gen. Al-Ghamdi.

“We are keen to enable the soldiers to acquire skills in other major languages so that they can take advantage of them while engaging in field duty,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Al-Ghamdi said that there was an operation room for the forces in the Grand Mosque to monitor the security situation inside the mosque and its courtyards.

“There is also a control room to receive and pass instant messages to the field teams, so that they can act swiftly in accordance with the information. They also catch pickpockets who generally target worshippers at crowded places at the Grand Mosque, its courtyards, as well as at public transport stations,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Al-Ghamdi noted that all the security agencies had worked out their detailed Ramadan plan in line with the proposals and suggestions of workshops held prior to the start of the holy month.

Source: Arab News