THE SUDAN: Pilgrims Ordeal

Once every year the Fellata quarter of Port Sudan, on the west coast of the Red Sea, fills up with Arab pilgrims. Their objective: to reach the Holy Land before the start of Ramadan (May 15, this year), and to visit Mecca. They come from all parts of Africa, crossing from one country to another without trouble—until they hit Port Sudan.

Less than 200 miles of water separates Port Sudan from the Saudi Arabian port of Jidda, which is a 50-mile walk from Mecca. But before the pilgrim may have his passport stamped to cross the Red Sea, he must...

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