Sajanur Rahman of Habiganj was trying to go abroad in search of his fortune. He left home to reach Italy illegally through an agent. However, before crossing the Mediterranean Sea, he found himself in danger along with eight others. A criminal gang in Libya is holding them captive and demanding ransom from their families.

Families of the victims said the members of the gang were demanding Tk 800,000 as ransom, contacting them over the phone. They have threatened to kill the victims if they do not get the ransom.

Of the nine hostages from Habiganj, four have been identified. They are - Afzal, 22, son of Sajlu Mia of Paschimbagh village in Ajmiriganj upazila of Habiganj, Nasir, 20, son of Sekul Mia of the same village, Sajanur Rahman, 35, son of Abdul Mukit Khan, and Ujjal, 27, son of Safar Ali of Noabad area of ​​the town.

Mukit Khan, a retired school teacher and father of Sajanur Rahman, said his son left the home in February. He was supposed to go to Italy through Taimur Rahman of Noabad area of the city, who lives in Tripoli at the moment. At first they reached Benghazi in Libya through an agent named Mortuza of Sadar upazila. Another agent named Chabu Mia was supposed to take them across the Mediterranean to Italy. Taimur Rahman was coordinating everything. But on their way, they were captured by the criminal gang.

The families of the four victims further said they had been receiving calls from unknown numbers for the last two to three days. They are demanding Tk 850,000 as ransom for each person. They do not know who to turn to for help.

Hostage Nasir Mia’s father Sekul Mia said, “I am boatmen. I have sold my land and have paid Tk 900,000 to the agent to send my son to Italy. Now I am being threatened over the phone to pay another Tk 850,000 to get back my son.

When the correspondent contacted Taimur Rahman over his phone, his wife answered. She said that she had not spoken to Taimur for days. She did not know anything regarding sending people abroad.

Ajmiriganj upazila parishad chairman Mortuza Hasan said he had received information from the victims’ family that three young men from his area were being held captive by a gang en route Italy.