Killing of 26 Bangladeshis in Libya: Dhaka for quick probe, punishment of killers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 AM, May 30, 2020

Killing of 26 Bangladeshis in Libya: Dhaka for quick probe, punishment of killers

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday said the government demanded the Libyan authorities quickly investigate and punish those who killed 26 Bangladeshis and four Africans in a "revenge attack".

Dhaka also demanded compensations for the families of those killed and injured, he said in a statement.

Momen said the Libyan interior ministry has already ordered an investigation and arrest of the killers.

Meanwhile, officials at the Bangladesh mission in Tripoli said the Bangladeshi migrants, who were killed at the hands of suspected human traffickers in a Libyan city on Thursday, were taken to the North African country en route to Italy via the Mediterranean Sea.

They landed in Libya early this year prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.The country was being used as a transit point to reach Italy, said officials.

According to Bangladesh foreign ministry sources, 24 of the deceased have been identified so far. They are Zakir Hossain, Syadul, Jewel, Feruj, Jewel, Manik, Asadul, Ainal Mollah and Monir from Madaripur, Rajon, Shakil, Shakib, Shohag and Rahim from Kishoreganj, Sujan and Kamrul from Gopalganj, Rakibul from Jashore, Arfan from Dhaka, Lal Chand from Tangail, and Shamim, Akash, Mohammad Ali, Sajib, and Shahin.

The injured are Firoz Bepari, Shamrat Khalashi and Mohammad Ali from Madaripur, Sajid from Faridpur, Janu Mia, Sajal Mia, and Shohag Ahmed from Kishoreganj, Omar Sheikh from Gopalganj, Tariqul Islam from Tangail, and Bakul Hossain and Bappi from Chuadanga.

The bodies were kept at a mortuary in the Libyan city of Mizdah and the injured were admitted to Tripoli Medical College Hospital, said ASM Ashraful Islam, labour counsellor at the Bangladesh mission in Tripoli.

Reuters, quoting Libya's internationally recognised Government of National Accord, reported on Thursday that the family of a Libyan human trafficker killed 30 migrants, including 26 Bangladeshis, in revenge for his death.

Libya has long been a destination for migrants because of its oil-funded economy, but is also an important way-station for people attempting to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, said the report.

Labour Counsellor Ashraful said the incident took place between 4:00am and 5:00am on Thursday (Libyan time) near Mizdah, some 200 kilometers away from the capital.

He said those wounded and tortured were newcomers to Libya. The victims were taken to the spot after being blindfolded, he added.

Ashraful said the injured Bangladeshis were abandoned on a road. Seeing them, some locals sought help from law enforcers to rescue and send them to hospital.

In the statement yesterday, the Bangladesh foreign minister said the government also contacted the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for providing assistance in whatever way it could be done.

The foreign ministry said the Bangladesh mission in Tripoli confirmed that 38 Bangladeshis and some Africans were held hostage by the Libyan criminals, who could be human traffickers.

They were being brought to Tripoli on Thursday. On the way, the traffickers demanded high amount of money, although the victims had earlier paid up to $10,000 each. There were hot negotiation between the traffickers and the victims.

At one stage, the main trafficker was killed by an African. In return, other members of the trafficking gang fired shots abruptly at the Bangladeshis and Africans.

However, one Bangladeshi managed to flee and take shelter at the house of a Libyan family. He contacted the Bangladesh mission and informed it about the incident.

ENSURE PUNISHMENT

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) yesterday expressed deep concern over the killing of the Bangladeshi migrants in Libya.

The commission in a statement called upon Bangladesh foreign ministry to take required measures to communicate with the Libyan government for ensuring exemplary punishment of the perpetrators and compensations for the victims' families.

The NHRC also urged the authorities to ensure treatment of the injured.

In separate statements, Brac and Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) also expressed deep concern and shock over the deaths of the Bangladeshi migrants and demanded the perpetrators be brought to book.

If required, the Bangladesh government has to take assistance from different international organisations to this end, Brac said in its statement.

Shariful Hasan, head of Brac Migration Programme, said taking advantage of Libya's civil war, human traffickers have been active there for a decade.

The traffickers in the name of sending people to Europe take money equivalent to Tk 3 to 4 lakh from each person. Later, they hold the migrants hostage in different bordering areas and send them in small boats on perilous sea journeys to reach Europe, Shariful said.

The ASK in its statement called upon the government to launch diplomatic efforts to ensure exemplary punishment of those involved in the killing.

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