Morocco holds public funeral for boy who died in well, thousands attend

A public funeral has been held for a five-year-old boy who fell down well in Morocco, prompting large-scale but ultimately unsuccessful rescue efforts.

Large crowds gathered in the village of Ighran to mourn the boy, Rayan Oram, who was trapped in the hole for several days as rescue crews attempted to dig deep into difficult terrain.

Messages of support, concern and grief for the boy and his family poured in from around the world as the news of Rayan’s death spread late on Saturday.

On Monday, hundreds of mourners climbed the hilly, unpaved road leading to the cemetery in Ighran in Chefchaouen province in northern Morocco, where they waited for hours for the funeral to observe the Muslim burial rituals.

“I am over 50 years old and [have] never seen as many people in a funeral. Rayan is the son of us all,” one villager said.

There were so many mourners that they could not all fit into the village cemetery and prayer site. Two large tents were erected in front of the grieving family’s house, where mourners could stop to offer condolences.

On Saturday, condolences to the parents also came from King Mohammed VI, Pope Francis, French President Emmanuel Macron, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and others.

Egyptian and Senegalese football players held a minute of silence on Sunday before the kickoff of the final of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.