Stranded in the Mediterranean: 15 more Bangladeshi migrants return | The Daily Star
02:52 AM, June 26, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:56 AM, June 26, 2019

Stranded in the Mediterranean: 15 more Bangladeshi migrants return

Fifteen more Bangladeshis of the 64 migrants, who were stranded in the Mediterranean Sea off the Tunisian coast of Zarzis for nearly three weeks, returned home yesterday afternoon.

“They came on a Qatar Airways flight in the afternoon and were provided with food…,” said Abdul Kader, deputy assistant director of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, posted at the Probashi Kalyan Desk at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Of the 15, seven are from Brahmanbaria, five from Madaripur and one each from Gazipur, Sylhet and Moulvibazar, he said.

Seventeen others of the same group returned home from Tunisia on June 21, bringing the total number of returnees to 32.

The Bangladesh government, in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), are working to repatriate them.

A foreign ministry official told The Daily Star that 24 more migrants are scheduled to fly home today.

On June 18, Bangladesh Ambassador to Libya Sheikh Sekander Ali had travelled to Tunisia and journeyed to the stranded migrant boat, which had seventy-five migrants, including the 64 Bangladeshis, to convince them to return home.

Earlier, the Bangladeshis stranded at sea refused to return home or even to Tunisia, but instead wanted to go to Europe.

Since the civil war began in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the North African country has become a major route of human trafficking or smuggling to Europe.

On May 9, a boat carrying around 65 migrants, including 40 Bangladeshis, capsized in the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Tunisia.

According to the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya, some Bangladeshis and people of other nationalities were also rescued from boats in the sea on their way to Europe in recent weeks.

The embassy is processing their repatriation, said ASM Ashraful Islam, labour counsellor of the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya.

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