The Rab yesterday claimed to have arrested an alleged ringleader of the human trafficking gang that kidnapped and murdered some of the 26 Bangladeshi workers in Libya on Thursday.
Kamal Uddin alias Haji Kamal, 55, has trafficked more than 400 people to Libya over the last decade, said Lt Col Rakibul Hasan, commanding officer of Rab-3, at a press briefing at his Tikatuli office.
The Rab team arrested Kamal in the capital's Shahjadpur area in the morning after the victims' families complained.
Some of the Bangladeshis killed and injured in the firing were sent by Kamal, and their families paid ransom to him when the victims were held captive and tortured, the CO said.
During primary interrogation, the arrestee claimed he had sent a portion of the money to his counterpart abroad through Hundi, an illegal channel of money transaction.
A diary recovered from Kamal during the raid testified to his crimes and also revealed names and other information of at least 10 of his local and foreign agents, Rab said.
Kamal's local agents lured the poor in different districts with high-paying jobs abroad.
Kamal, a tiles contractor, also used to "inspire his co-workers" to go abroad, Rab officials said.
He would ask his clients to first pay "only" Tk 1-3 lakh and then Tk 4 lakh after landing in Libya.
Those who accepted the offer began facing ordeals as soon as they left Bangladesh, Rab said, adding that the gang used to manage travel documents for them in the process.
Bangladesh-Kolkata-Mumbai-Dubai-Egypt-Benghazi-Tripoli (Libya) was the latest among the routes they used. The gang's foreign agents would deal with the migrants and confine them for days at each stop.
Once they reached Libya's Tripoli, some Bangladeshis received and handed them over to local gangs, who tortured them for money and filmed it to send clips to the victims' families back home through different messaging apps for money, the Rab said.
Sometimes, the hostages were allowed to call their families and beg their families to pay the money, Rab said, quoting the arrestee and family members of the victims.
Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, Lt Col Rakibul said, "We have proof that families of two Bangladeshi victims -- Lalchan and Tarikul -- first paid Kamal Tk three lakh before the two left Bangladesh. After they reached Libya, each family gave Kamal another Tk four lakh each.
That Thursday, 38 Bangladeshis and some Africans were held hostage by the criminals, who are alleged human traffickers, Rab officials said, adding, the traffickers demanded a high amount of money, although the victims had earlier paid up to $10,000 each.
There was a heated argument between the traffickers and the victims, when at one stage, "the main trafficker" was killed by an African migrant. In return, other members of the trafficking gang fired shots at the hostages, leaving 26 Bangladeshis dead, Rab said.
The crime-busters claimed they recovered passports of at least 31 people during the raid and said the passports belonged to people who were about to go to Libya through Kamal.
Libya has condemned the killing of the 26 Bangladeshis by kidnappers in Mizdah on May 27 and vowed to bring the killers to book.
In a condolence message to Bangladesh, Libya's foreign ministry yesterday said the killing of Bangladeshis and others was an act of cowardice and they (the criminals) must face trial for this.