Law enforcement agencies said on Monday they have arrested at least three people for alluring some of the 37 Bangladeshi youths to travel to war-torn Libya with a promise to transfer them to Europe.
The police and its specialised unit Rapid Action Battalion in separate drives in Dhaka and Madaripur arrested the three suspected members of trafficking gang - Kamal Uddin, 55, in Dhaka, and Dina, 30, and Julhas Sarkar, 45, in Madaripur.
Twenty-six Bangladeshis were shot dead and 11 others severely injured in a gun attack carried out by Libyan human traffickers in Mizdah, a desert town 180 kilometres away from Tripoli, on May 28, leading Bangladeshi law enforcement officials to launch a fresh crackdown against human trafficking.
The police investigators in Madaripur told New Age that Dina’s husband Nazrul Mollah in Libya was involved in human trafficking and supposed to send at least three of the victims to Italy in exchange of Tk 7.5 lakh while Julhas played a role in Madaripur as a representative of the Libya-based Bangladeshi human traffickers.
‘As Julhas tested COVID-19 positive, he was kept isolated in presence of police,’ said Madaripur police superintendent Mahbub Hasan. He said victim families filed three cases - one with Madaripur police station and two others with Rajoir police station until Monday.
Madaripur police station officer-in-charge Kamrul Islam said Dina’s husband Nazrul, who is based in Libya, allured three youths - Shamim and Zakir, who were killed in Mizdah, and Firoz, who was injured-collected Tk 7.5 lakh from each of them for their travel to Italy from Libya crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat.
He said they were looking for one Shahadat Hossain, who was also part of the trafficking racket as Tk 2.5 lakh from each of the three victims were deposited to his bank account, and Dina collected Tk five lakh cash from each of the three families.
The families so far named nine individuals, in two cases, including one Amir Hossain in Libya for alluring the victims, Rajoir police station officer-in-charge said.
In a press conference in Dhaka, RAB-3 commanding officer lieutenant colonel Rakibul Hasan, meanwhile, announced the arrest of Kamal Uddin, who helped at least two of the trafficking victims to travel to Libya.
The RAB investigators said that Kamal used to send manpower through the formal channel until 2009 and later started sending Bangladeshis to Libya and also to Europe through the Indian cities of Kolkata and Mumbai, then Dubai in the UAE and Egypt and Benghazi and finally to Tripoli before their dangerous boat journey to European countries.
RAB said they have arrested Kamal from Shahzadpur in the capital’s Gulshan at about 5:00am on Monday.
Lieutenant colonel Rakibul said that Kamal confessed to having sent at least 35 to 40 Bangladeshi to Libya and at least two of them were affected in the recent shooting.
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