Libya killings: Bangladesh demands culprits’ punishment, compensation for victims’ families | The Daily Star
07:25 PM, May 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:41 PM, May 29, 2020

Libya killings: Bangladesh demands culprits’ punishment, compensation for victims’ families

Migrants mostly from Madaripur, Bhairab of Kishoreganj, Gopalganj and Magura districts

Bangladesh has demanded that the Libyan authorities quickly investigate the killings of 26 Bangladeshis, alongside four Africans, and punish those involved in the brutal incident which took place on Thursday.

Bangladesh also demanded compensation for the families of those were killed and injured, said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in a statement today.

The Bangladeshi migrants killed in the incident were mostly from Madaripur, Bhairab of Kishoreganj, Gopalganj and Magura districts.

They went to Libya recently amid the global Covid-19 pandemic hoping to change their fortunes by crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, ASM Ashraful Islam, labour counsellor at Bangladesh Mission in Tripoli, told The Daily Star this evening.

The official said they learnt the identities of the dead after talking to the injured Bangladeshis.

Meanwhile, Momen said the Libyan interior ministry has already ordered investigation into the matter and arrest of the killers.

Bangladesh's foreign ministry said the Bangladesh Mission in Tripoli confirmed that there were 38 Bangladeshis and some Africans held hostage by the Libyan militias, who could be human traffickers, at a town called Mizda, about 180 kilometres south of the capital Tripoli.

On Thursday, they were being brought to the capital. On the way, the traffickers demanded large amounts of money from the victims who had earlier paid up to $10,000 each.

A heated negotiation then followed.

At one stage, an altercation broke out and the gang leader of the traffickers died. In retaliation, the other gang members opened fire on the Bangladeshis and Africans, killing the 30. Also, 11 Bangladeshis were injured in the attack.

One Bangladeshi, however, fled and took shelter at a residence of a Libyan national. He later contacted the Bangladesh mission and informed in details about the incident.

The Bangladesh embassy there then contacted hospital authorities in Mizda and arranged primary treatment of the 11 survivors. Later, they were transferred to a hospital in Tripoli.

Of the 11, six are now doing well, three have undergone surgery and the two others will also have to do so, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The dead bodies have been kept at a hospital in Mizda town.

Bangladesh Embassy in Tripoli is working to get the identities of the Bangladeshis.

Foreign Minister Momen said it is suspected that the Bangladeshis and Africans were taken to Tripoli for trafficking to Italy through the Mediterranean Sea.

He said there were a number of incidents earlier too when Bangladeshis, among other nationals, drowned in the Mediterranean.

"We had collected names of traffickers and police also arrested some then. We would again get the names of these traffickers [involved in the shooting] and bring them to book," the minister said.

The Bangladesh government also contacted the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for providing assistance in whatever way it can in this regard, he added.

"We have just learned of this tragedy and are following up to get more details and provide assistance to survivors," said Safa Msehli, Libya spokeswoman for the International Organisation for Migration.

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.

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