Md Bakul Hossain (left) and Md Janu Mia on 4 October, Dhaka
Md Bakul Hossain (left) and Md Janu Mia on 4 October, Dhaka Photo: Collected

As Janu Mia lifted his t-shirt, a bullet wound was visible on his abdomen. Another victim, bullet-injured Firoz Bapari, cannot walk without a crutch. Bakul Hossain lost two fingers.

These young migrants from Bangladesh went to Libya to seek their fortune. Nine of them have finally returned home, but they are almost crippled. Yet these young men are grateful that they have at least been able to return home alive.

On 29 May this year, 26 of their fellowmen were killed in Mizdah, Libya. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), repatriated these nine people on 30 September.

Advertisement

The Bangladeshis are Firoz Bepari, Janu Mia, Omar Sheikh, Sajal Mia, Tariqul Islam, Bakul Hossain, Md Ali, Sohag Ahmed and Saidul Islam.

CID introduced the returnees at a press conference at the agency's office on Sunday. They were taken to court where the migrants recorded their confessional statements. Addressing the press conference, Md Janu Mia said he is from Bhairab of Kishoreganj. Before going to Libya, he contacted two local brokers – Sohag and Shyamal. They have an office in Motijheel. On 16 December last year, Janu crossed the border into India. He took a bus to a hotel near New Market, Kolkata. From there he flew to Mumbai the next day. The Bangali brokers there sent them to Dubai.

A group of Bangali brokers in Dubai arranged accommodation for Janu Mia in Sharjah for a few days. From there, Janu was taken to Egypt and joined a team of at least 100 people. Finally, they reached Benghazi, Libya. After joining a factory in Benghazi, Janu Mia realised that the brokers had cheated with him. Although he was promised a salary of Tk 40,000 a month, he just was given Tk 17,000-18,000.

Advertisement

The brokers told Janu Mia that if he moves to Tripoli, he can manage a job with a lot of money. He named the broker as Tanzul, from Bhairab, Kishoreganj.

Every day, two or three people were beaten to death. Apart from the Bangladeshis, hundreds of other people, including women from Nigeria, Ghana and Sudan, were at the camp.

Janu Mia was quite worried about moving to a new city about 1,200 kilometres away. Tanzul then said he would take all the responsibility if he paid Tk 60,000. Later, Janu Mia's elder brother paid the money to Tanzul's brother through a person named Munna.

To make it to Tripoli, 30 Bangladeshis left Benghazi in three vehicles. The drivers of the vehicles were Libyans. They came under attack by a group of kidnappers before reaching Tripoli. One of them managed to escape the kidnap attempt after hiding under the car seat. The remaining 29 people were taken to a camp.

Advertisement

Three days later they were sold to another group. They reached Mizdah on 20 May. The kidnapped saw the some bodies as soon as they entered the camp. They said if they give $12,000 each, they will let them go free. Otherwise, they will have to die. Every day, two or three people were beaten to death. Apart from the Bangladeshis, hundreds of other people, including women from Nigeria, Ghana and Sudan, were at the camp.

Janu Mia said one day, in the face of the brutality, Nigerians revolted and launched a counter attack and killed one of the kidnappers. After that everyone in the camp was shot indiscriminately. The abductors took away seriously 12 injured Bangladeshis and left them in a desert. After crossing a distance of two and a half kilometres, they were given refuge by a Sudanese citizen. He handed over the Bangladeshis to the army personnel. Although they were admitted to a hospital in Tripoli, no one was taking care of the Bangladeshis. Later, they were given treatment upon intervention from the Bangladeshi embassy there.

Nine of the group returned home, but the remaining three -- Bappi Dutta, Samrat Khalasi and Sajid – stayed in Libya.

Advertisement

The barbaric attacks on migrants and killing of 26 Bangladeshis in Mizdah, Libya hit the headlines of local and foreign media. A total of 26 cases have been filed in the country in this regard. CID alone has filed 15 cases. So far 44 people have already been arrested in connection with the incident.

At a press conference on Sunday, deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Organized Crime Department, Abdullahil Baki, said the process of issuing red notices through Interpol to arrest local brokers in Libya is underway.