13 more Bangladeshis hostage in Libya

Third-country visas used for trafficking migrants

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury  | Published: 00:35, Jun 04,2020 | Updated: 00:35, Jun 04,2020


Most of the 26 Bangladeshis killed in Libya used Indian visit, medical and pilgrimage visas to get out of the country towards European destinations with the help of the traffickers.

Traffickers have kept at least 13 more Bangladeshis as hostage in an unidentified place in Libya for collecting ransom from their relatives, according to the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli.

This was said in an inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday held for assessing steps to be taken for containing trafficking in the context of recent massacre in war-torn Libya.

Sixteen of the Bangladeshis killed in shooting in Mizdah of Libya left the country with visit, medical and pilgrimage visas issued for travelling to India, a senior immigration official said with reference to the meeting.

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen presided over the virtual meeting joined by senior officials from different ministries and departments including home, expatriate welfare and civil aviation ministries, Armed

Forces Division, Police and elite force Rapid Action Battalion. Bangladesh ambassador to Libya Sk Sekander Ali also joined the meeting from his workplace.     

Ambassador Sekander said the embassy has requested the Libyan authorities to identify the location of the warehouse where 13 Bangladesh people are kept as hostage, and rescue them.

The meeting recommended stringent actions at home for containing trafficking at source, bringing foreign travel with visit visas under scrutiny, launching campaign including holding public hearings in trafficking hotspots like Madaripur, Shariatpur, Faridpur, Kishoreganj, Noakhali and Sylhet districts.

Foreign secretary Masud said divulging identities of trafficking agents in Bangladesh and arresting them should not be difficult. ‘We must arrest them at the earliest.’

Local and foreign traffickers also use UAE-Libya, KSA-Libya and Kenya-Libya routes for transferring their target people to European countries, the meeting was apprised. 

Meanwhile, the Libyan government claimed that Khaled Al-Mishai, a militiaman, was killed in a drone strike by Libyan air force south of Gharyan on Tuesday, according to The Libya Observer.

Mishai was allegedly responsible for the murder of 26 Bangladeshis and 4 African migrants in Mizdah town.

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