529 Bangladeshis rescued from Libya, Tunisia in a month

Altogether 529 Bangladeshis, who had been lured by human traffickers, were caught and rescued in two African countries Libya and Tunisia

Jun 14, 2021
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529 Bangladeshis rescued

Altogether 529 Bangladeshis, who had been lured by human traffickers, were caught and rescued in two African countries Libya and Tunisia.

The group had headed to Italy, from where an aircraft carried them to civil war-ravaged Libya and they started their perilous journey through the Mediterranean sea to their destination till they were rescued.

Altogether 443 of them were rescued in Tunisia, including the 164 rescued off the Tunisian coast on Thursday, Prothom Alo reported.

Sources said the Tunisian coast guard detained 36 Bangladeshis on 18 May, 243 people on 27-28 May and 164 on 10 June.

Earlier, the Department for Combating Illegal Immigration (DCIM) of Libya rescued 86 Bangladeshis from a desert area near the Algeria border from abductors. They were abducted en route to the Mediterranean sea through Benghazi.

Foreign ministry officials said Bangladesh embassy officials in Libya have requested Tunisian authorities for contact with 164 Bangladeshis rescued on Thursday. Earlier the embassy officials met a large number of Bangladeshis detained in May.

The officials said Bangladesh embassy officials in Libya have talked to Tunisia’s foreign and home ministry authorities, departments concerned, IOM (International Organization for Migration) officials, International Red Crescent Society and Tunisian Red Crescent Society.

Gazi Md Asaduzzaman Kabir, Bangladeshi Charge d'Affaires in Libya, told Prothom Alo on Sunday that embassy officials, with the help of the Tunisian coast guard, have interviewed 221 of the Bangladeshis rescued in the last one month.  They have been sheltered in various Tunisian towns.

They said a human trafficking racket took them to Libya’s Benghazi by chartered aircraft from Dubai. All of them stayed in Dubai for a week after going there from Dhaka. Later they boarded small boats to cross the Mediterranean sea.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Bangladesh embassy in Libya have counseled Bangladeshis staying at a detention center in Ghadames city.

Libya Observer reports that the home minister of the country recently said over nine thousand Europe-bound immigrants were rescued by the coast guard this year while the number was over seven thousand in 2020.

According to International Organisation for Migration (IOM) a total of 813 immigrants have died on the Mediterranean sea between1 January and 12 June this year.

A total of 160 Bangladeshis have been rescued in May with the support of IOM. The organization has helped repatriate 2,900 Bangladeshis from Libya so far from 2015.

(SAM)

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