TEMPO.CO, Mecca - As many as 116 Indonesians were arrested during a raid by Saudi Arabian authorities at the Misfalah area in Mecca on Friday night of July 27. Some of the Indonesians had work visas while a number of them entered the country with umrah and pilgrimage visa.
According to a team member from the Indonesian consulate general in Jeddah, the 116 Indonesians were at Mecca to conduct the Hajj pilgrimage.
According to Safaat Ghofur, the consulate’s citizen services and protection coordinator, most of the Indonesians originate from Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. “They intend to conduct the hajj pilgrimage,” said Ghofur on Wednesday, August 1.
According to one of the arrested that refused to be identified, some of them have entered Saudi Arabia prior to the Ramadan month in June and intended to return home to Indonesia through Tarhil after conducting their hajj pilgrimage.
“The people here paid dues to the travel agents up to Rp50 – Rp60 million,” said the person. As soon as they arrived in Mecca, they were asked to pay additional costs to retain their passports from travel agent guides.
“After arriving in Mecca, they were let loose and has no connections with the travel agent,” said Tolabul Amal, the Indonesian consulate staff.
Tolabul said that the Indonesians with proper legal documents were also taken into custody for staying in the same location as the illegal ones.