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3 travel operators sue govt, hajj commission

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By Tabora Bojang

Three travel operators have filed a suit at the High Court in Banjul against the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government, National Hajj Commission and the Ministry of Justice for depriving them of participating in the 2024 hajj services.

The three applicants are Musdalifa Travels and Tours, American Hajj, Umrah and Travel Agency and Jatamang Travel and Tours. They are represented by Lawyer Isatou K Jallow-Suwareh.

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The respondents want an order from the court quashing the decision and press release made by the Government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs on 27 September, 2023, depriving the applicants the right to participate in the 2024 hajj services.

The applicants also beg the court to give any further orders it may deem fit in the circumstances of the case.

The matter was called before Justice Ayoola of the High Court yesterday with state counsel Sohna Jawara representing the 1st respondent [Ministry of Lands and Religious Affairs, 2nd respondent [Hajj Commission] and 3rd respondent [Ministry of Justice] respectively.

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The parties were served with the case processes and the matter adjourned to 22 May.

Last September, the Ministry of Religious Affairs approved 13 travel operators to transport pilgrims to and from Saudi Arabia for the 2024 pilgrimage. The list did not include the three plaintiffs.

In the statement, at the time the Ministry said Gambia International Airlines, GIA, and private operators which were licensed by the Hajj Commission for the 2023 hajj will be retained for the same services for the 2024 hajj in view of the limited quota allocated to the country.

It advised intending pilgrims and those acting on their behalf to engage with only the travel agencies licensed by the ministry.

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