Tunisia Boat Capsize
39 Bangladeshis identified: Foreign Minister
Over 40 more still missing
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Wednesday the Tripoli Embassy identified 39 Bangladeshis who died in Friday's Mediterranean Sea boat capsize.
Of them, 22 are from greater Sylhet.
He said 14 Bangladeshis were rescued alive from the capsized boat. Four of them are receiving treatment in a Tunisian hospital. The Foreign Minister disclosed the information during a press briefing at his ministry office on Wednesday afternoon.
He said over 40 Bangladeshis are still unaccounted for in a migrant boat capsize in the Mediterranean Sea off Tunisia and chances of finding them are 'almost zero'.
Quoting ASM Ashraful Islam, Labour Counselor at the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya, Momen made this comment.
"The government has uncovered a human trafficking ring responsible for sending overseas the Bangladeshis," Momen said.
Momen said Bangladesh does not have a consulate in Tunisia. We sent our official from the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya and they made the list.
The survivors provided information about five members of the racket, including its leaders, to Bangladeshi official in Tunisia, the Foreign Minister said.
"We have found out that the ring is led by three brothers in Noakhali. Two other operatives are based in Madaripur. We are looking into the matter."
The Foreign Minister, however, did not reveal the identities of the traffickers at the briefing. But Momen presented a list of the 39 Bangladeshis who are still missing after the tragedy.
Around 150 migrants had set sail for Italy illicitly from the conflict-ridden Libya on two boats on May 9. Apart from Bangladeshis, the boats were also carrying several Egyptian nationals.
While one of the boats with 50 passengers on board managed to sail ashore, passengers on the second boat had to be transferred to another smaller vessel.
The overcrowded boat subsequently sank off the coast of Tunisia in the early hours of May 10.
Four of them are receiving treatment in a Tunisian hospital. The others are currently at a local shelter.