Wednesday, 1 December, 2021

Killing of 26 Bangladeshis in Libya

328 human traffickers found involved

Some 328 human traffickers, including 15 ringleaders, were involved in trafficking 26 Bangladeshi fortune seekers to Libya where they were brutally murdered in May, 2020, according to the police.

After a long investigation into 25 cases filed with 14 police stations in the country, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police submitted charge sheets against the human traffickers in 24 cases while the final report was given in the other lawsuit.

A total of 73 people, who were named in first information reports, were excluded from the charge sheets as their involvement was not found, said Humayun Kabir, senior assistant superintendent of police of Serious Crimes and Homicide Squad of the CID.

Of the 328 charge-sheeted accused, 168 are now behind bars while 160 still at large at home and abroad, he said.

Four travel agencies -- Swadhin Travels, Ruzvelt Travels, Sky View Travels and Trade Travels -- and an airline named Air Arabia were named in the charge sheets as those were used to traffic the fortune seekers, the CID official added.

The traffickers include social workers, politicians, owners and staffers of travel agencies, officers and employees of an airline, government employees and brokers, according to the charge sheets.

The 15 ringleaders are Julhas Sardar, son of Abdul Majib Sardar of Sottabarti in Rajoir upazila of Madaripur, Akbar Sheikh, Amir Sheikh and Nur Hossain Sheikh, sons of Samad Sheikh of Pathan Kandi in the upazila, Kamal Uddin alias Hazi Kamal, son of late Jamat Ali Mondal of Khordo Ailchara in Kushtia Sadar upazila, Kamal Hossain Khan, son of Abdur Rahman Khan of Char Laxmipur at Kalkini in Madaripur, Nazrul Molla, son  of late Rashid Molla of Madhya Haisdi in Madaripur Sadar upazila, Rob Morol, son of Rajab Ali Morol of Jatrabari in Muksudpur of Gopalganj, Tanzilur alias Tanzimul Tanzid, son of late Sona Mia of Sreenagar in Bhairab upazila in Kishoreganj, Abdullah  alias Asaduzzaman, son of Moiyen Uddin of South Titpara in Dimla of Nilphamari, and Rezaul Boiyati, son of Hanif Boiyata of Madhya Haisdi in Madaripur, and Jafar Iqbal, Shahdat Hossain, Mintu Mia and Swapon, all hailing from Kishoreganj. On May 28 last year, human traffickers killed 30 migrants, including 26 Bangladeshi nationals, in the Libya’s desert town of Mizdah. Some 12 Bangladeshis survived the attack and of them, nine returned home and three are in Libya. The dead Bangladeshis were buried in Libya.

After the incident, a total of 25 cases were filed against those who trafficked the fortune seekers and were involved in the killings.

In October 2020, as per the request of the CID, the National Central Bureau (NCB) of  the Police Headquarters issued alert notices through Interpol to arrest six fugitives -- Jafar, Shahdat, Minto, Swapan, Tanzid and Nazrul – hiding abroad.

Of them, Italy police arrested Jafar on January 5 last and Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Uttara division held Shahdat from the airport area in the same month.

Currently, Minto, Swapan, Tanzid and Nazrul, against whom Interpol issued red notices, and Amir, Rob, Abdullah and Swapon are now in Libya, a CID officer said, seeking anonymity.

About the fugitives facing the red notices, Mohiul Islam, assistant inspector general (NCB) of the Police Headquarters, told the Daily Sun that they had no update on the fugitives.

The CID will be able to say on the matter as it is carrying out the investigation, he said.

Asked, Saidur Rahman Khan, special superintendent of police (SSP) at Serious Crimes and Homicide Squad, told the Daily Sun that they were trying to arrest the fugitives living in the country and get those hiding abroad arrested by Interpol.

He urged the people of the country not to choose illegal channels to go abroad for making fortunes.

The CID official also called upon them to provide information for law enforcers on the traffickers to stop trafficking.

  During probe, the investigators came to know about reasons beyond the fortune seekers’ falling prey to the criminals.

A big number of people, mostly from greater Faridpur, managed to enter Italy and became wealthy after obtaining citizenship there. Their overnight rise has encouraged others to dream about reaching the European country by any means, said a senior CID officer, who wished not to be named.

“The human traffickers have cashed in on crazy interests of the fortune seekers. The traffickers allure them easily. And the fortune seekers walk into their traps,” he said.

The police officer said the main trafficking route was Dhaka-Benapole-Kolkata-Mumbai-Dubai-Egypt-Libya with members of the trafficking gangs being at every point.

“In Libya, there’re many ‘safe homes’ of the traffickers where fortune seekers from different countries are held hostage for getting ransom from their families. After getting the money, the fortune seekers are sold to other gangs who realise ransom from their families again,” the officer said.