Three members of a human trafficking syndicate have been arrested in connection with the boat capsize incident in the Mediterranean Sea on May 9, Rapid Action Battalion says.
The arrestees are Abdur Razzak Bhuiyan, 34, Akkach Matubbar, 39, and Anamul Haque Talukdar, 46. They were arrested from different places of Dhaka, a Rab official said while briefing journalists at Rab’s Karwan Bazar centre this noon.
Of the arrestees, Anamul Haque was engaged in human trafficking for 10 to 12 years, said Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan, Rab’s legal and media wing director.
Anamul is owner of Yahia Oversees of Zindabazar in Sylhet, and Razzak is a close associate of his syndicate, the Rab official added.
Besides, Akkach belongs to another syndicate, he further said.
Further details about him will not be made public as drive to nab the rest members of Akkach’s syndicate is on.
“We have come to know that the syndicates usually take around Tk 8 to Tk 9 lakh from the fortune seekers and tried to send them to Europe through using three routes,” he said.
The suspected traffickers either take the fortune seekers to Istanbul from Bangladesh first on road-way and then take them to Libya and send them to Europe via Tunisia.
Or, they take the illegal migrants to India and then send them to Sri Lanka and Istanbul and later send them to Europe through Libya.
Also, the syndicate members take Bangladeshi people to Dubai first on air way and send them Amman and Benghazi and Europe via Libya, the Rab official said quoting the arrestees.
They have used the second route for the last trip that met the tragic end in the Mediterranean Sea on May 9, he said.
They collect Tk 4 to 5 lakh from the fortune seekers before leaving Bangladesh while the rest money as per agreement after reaching in Libya, Rab official Mufti said.
They also forced the fortune seekers to engage in different types of jobs in Libya to meet their living and food demands.
HOW DID THE BOAT CAPSIZE?
Survivors told the Red Crescent that the tragedy unfolded after some 75 people who had left Zuwara on the northwestern Libyan coast late Thursday on a large boat were transferred to a smaller one that sank off Tunisia, reports AFP from Tunis.
The boat sank 65 km off the coast of Sfax, south of the capital Tunis. Fishing boats rescued 16 people and brought them to shore in Zarzis, according to the Red Crescent.
It said the bodies of migrants would take days to surface.
The IOM called it the deadliest migrant boat sinking since January.
According to survivors, the Italy-bound boat had on board only men, including 51 Bangladeshis, three Egyptians, several Moroccans, Chadians and other Africans.
Fourteen Bangladeshis, including a minor, were among the survivors, said the Red Crescent.
The IOM says as many as 443 migrants either died or went missing in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe in boats as of May 8 this year. The figures were 2,299 in 2018 and 3,139 in 2017.
The UN agency says 21,645 migrants, including 17,000 via sea and the rest via land, arrived in Europe as of May 8 this year. The figures were 390,432 in 2016, 186,768 in 2017 and 144,166 in 2018.
According to European Union, there are some 100,000 undocumented Bangladeshis in Europe.