Libya intercepts 164 Bangladesh nationals at sea

407 intercepted in Mediterranean Sea in 3 weeks

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 23:24, Jun 13,2021 | Updated: 00:12, Jun 14,2021


Libyan authorities detained 407 Bangladesh citizens over the past three weeks after they were intercepted while crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boats to reach Europe in illegal ways along with several thousand people of different nationalities.

Of them, 164 people were intercepted on Saturday and 243 people between May 27 and 28 and about 70 in the first half of May, according to diplomatic sources.

Bangladesh embassy officials would visit the 164 detainees at the shelters managed by the Libyan authorities, Asaduzzaman Kabir, charge de affairs of the Bangladesh embassy in Libya, told New Age on Sunday afternoon.

The embassy officials already talked to some of the people who were intercepted and detained on May 27 and 28, he said.

Most of the detainees were reluctant to disclose their identities as they were unwilling to return home, he said, adding that they often get annoyed seeing embassy officials at the detention centres.

The Libyan coast guard intercepted about 2,000 people of different nationalities in the sea in three days starting from June 10, International Organisation of Migration spokesperson Safa Msehli said in tweets.

Extorted and abused by traffickers, these Bangladeshi job-seekers ended up in appalling conditions as did about 11,000 others this year. There were people of various nationalities who met with the same fate. 

Safa Msehli added that more people have been intercepted and were forced to return so far in 2021 than in the whole of 2020.

There is, however, no account on how many people went missing at sea.

‘Journeys to Europe continue to claim hundreds of lives each year. The vast majority of people disappear at sea, their remains never recovered. Others have been buried, unidentified, in unnamed graves, said Safa Msehli.

Some 70 people were also intercepted at sea and detained in Libya and Tunisian shelters by authorities of the two countries, according to officials.

A few of them already took several attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, according to IOM officials.  

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