Ghastly deaths of 26 Bangladeshis in Libya
The gruesome murder of some 26 Bangladeshis by human traffickers in Libya last Friday, falls no short of an action packed gangster movie. The only difference is that the killing is real and the movie is fiction. The incident took place between 4:00am and 5:00am on Thursday (Libyan time) near Mizdah, some 200 kilometres away from the capital. According to the Bangladesh Mission sources, 38 Bangladeshis and some Africans were held hostages by the Libyan criminals, presumably human traffickers.
The immigrants were being brought to Tripoli on Thursday. On the way, the traffickers demanded extra amounts of cash, although the victims had earlier paid up to $10,000 each. Heated arguments broke out among the traffickers and victims.
At one stage, the main trafficker was killed by an African. In return, other members of the trafficking gang fired shots abruptly at the Bangladeshis and Africans. However, one Bangladeshi managed to flee and take shelter at the house of a Libyan family. He contacted the Bangladesh mission and informed it about the incident. However, the bodies were kept at a mortuary in the Libyan city of Mizdah and the injured were admitted to Tripoli Medical College Hospital.
Libya has long been a destination for migrants because of its oil-funded economy, but is also an important way-station for people attempting to reach Europe across the Mediterranean. The Libyan human traffickers have often been accused of charging money equivalent to Tk 3 to 4 lakh from each illegal immigrant for sending them to europe. Later, they hold the migrants hostage in different bordering areas and send them in small boats on perilous sea journeys to reach Europe.
We call for exemplary punishment to be handed out to the traffickers. The ministry of foreign affairs, Bangladesh Mission and the Libyan government must co-operate each other to ensure justice and appropriate compensation for family members of the murdered Bangladeshis. If required, the Bangladesh government has to seek assistance from different international organisations to this end. Most importantly, the entire Libyan trafficking racket operating along the Mediterranean Coast must be identified and exposed. We do not want any more innocent Bangladeshis to lose their lives in the hands of murderers guised as human traffickers.