The crush happened in Mina, a large valley about 5km from Mecca that has been the site of past stampedes. At least 54 Nigerians are known to have died in Thursday’s stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage near Mecca, says Nigeria’s National Hajj Commission.

It was the deadliest incident to hit the Hajj in 25 years. At least 769 pilgrims died in the crush, more than 200 of whom are believed to be from Africa.

The crush appears to have been caused when pilgrims converged at a junction in Mina, near Mecca, in Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning. The pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite – throwing stone at pillars called Jamarat, where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.

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The chairman of Nigeria’s National Hajj Commission Abdullahi Mukhtar confirmed the numbers but said some pilgrims were missing, meaning the final death toll could rise.

The nationality with the highest number of deaths, with at least 140 dead, is Iran.

African deaths at Hajj stampede.

Morocco: 87 (media reports)
Egypt: 55
Niger: 22
Cameroon: 21
Ivory Coast: 14
Chad: 11
Somalia: 8 (media reports)
Algeria: 8
Senegal: 5
Tanzania: 5, about 50 missing
Libya: 4
Kenya: 3
Burkina Faso: 1 (Muslim association report)
Burundi: 1
Tunisia: 1