139 Bangladeshis rescued from Mediterranean unwilling to return

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 00:56, May 09,2021 | Updated: 13:08, May 09,2021


The Libyan authorities rescued at least 139 Bangladesh nationals along with several thousand people from other countries from the Mediterranean in April while trying to cross the sea to reach Europe through Italy, diplomatic sources said quoting the International Organisation for Migration’s Libya office.

The rescued people have said that they are unwilling to return to Bangladesh when approached by IOM teams for sending them back home, said IOM officials. 

The rescued Bangladesh nationals were among more than 1,000 people from various countries, mainly African, who were intercepted and rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard in April, they said.

The Libyan authorities have kept the rescued people in detention centres to send them back to their home countries.  

They and the IOM have apprised the Bangladesh embassy in the country about the state of the rescued persons, Gazi Md Asaduzzaman Kabir, charge d’ affairs of the embassy, told New Age over phone.

At least 130 people of various nationalities reportedly drowned in the sea off Libya recently as their rubber boat capsized due to the rough sea while at least 500 other migrants have drowned or gone missing on central Mediterranean routes, according to an IOM update for April.

The number of people trying to cross to Europe is likely to increase in the summer months while rescue capacities remain extremely limited, the IOM said.

Over 20,000 migrants have died in the Mediterranean since 2014, according to the IOM.

One hundred and sixty Bangladeshi workers safely returned home from Benghazi of Libya last week with support from the government and the IOM.

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