ANOWAR Hossain and Helal Uddin are two Bangladeshis among other foreign nationals who have been taken hostage by the Islamic State or some other militia group in Libya. In a case of mistaken identity, Anowar who was thought to be Sudanese ended up in this militant outfit's grasp. Whatever may be the circumstances of their kidnapping, the question is what steps authorities are taking to obtain their release from this murderous group which only recently decapitated more than 20 captured Egyptian Coptic Christians.
It is the first time that Bangladeshi workers have been taken hostage by militants. This should alert our missions abroad as to the risks involved in areas where they have made inroads. Why are Bangladeshi workers ending up in conflict zones like Libya that has become a hotbed for militias and radical Islamists fighting over land and oil? At the recruitment stage, we have to ensure that as far as practicable our workers are not put in harm's way. Now that some have been, it has become imperative that the Bangladeshi mission makes coordinated energetic efforts to secure release of our captive workers.
The authorities can launch a public relations campaign to warn our nationals about the risks of working in conflict regions like Libya. Efforts should be made by authorities to get the employing companies involved in negotiations with kidnappers to arrange for the release of the captive men.