Bangladeshi migrant held hostage for 2 yrs in Libya

Picture showing Arif Ahmed in the prison camp in Libya (R) and one of his old photosCollected

Arif Ahmed, 24, of Jagannathpur area in Bhairab upazila of Kishoreganj, left the country in search of fortune two years ago. He made a deal with the local agents to migrate to Italy at a cost of Tk 1.2 million. However, he ended up in a prison camp in Libya where he was subjected to unbearable torture.

Later, he was released from there after paying a ransom of Tk 1.2 million. Arif’s family had paid a total of Tk 3,050,000 in phases to get him out of the prison. Now the family is financially broken.

Arif’s elder brother Asad Mia disclosed this to Prothom Alo on Monday. He talked to his brother over the phone after he got released on Sunday.

Asad Mia said they struggled a lot to arrange the money for ransom. Now they are trying to bring Arif back to the country.

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Family members say Arif’s father Babul Mia is a retired railway officer. Two years ago, Arif made an agreement with a local agent named Faruk Mia to go to Italy in illegal ways through the Mediterranean at a cost of Tk 1.2 million and left the country.

Arif paid Tk 450,000 in advance as per the terms of the agreement. The remaining money was supposed to be cleared after Arif reached Italy.

After reaching Italy, Sajeeb Mia, one of Faruk’s associates, contacted Arif’s family and said they would need an additional Tk 300,000 to take Arif to Italy through the Mediterranean. Although Arif’s family sent the money to Sajeeb Mia, they (Faruk and his associates) didn’t take any initiative to send Arif to Italy.

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A few days later, Arif was captured by a criminal gang who took a large amount of ransom from Arif’s family for his release.

Lastly, Arif was held in captivity by the members of another gang, who had been torturing Arif for ransom. The gang demanded Tk 1.5 million as ransom for his release. They sent a video of Arif being tortured a few days ago. Arif was seen with marks of serious injuries on his eyes, hands and legs in the video. He was crying at the time and was begging for his release. Later, this video went viral on social media.

Meanwhile seeing the video of severe torture, Arif’s family took initiative to get him released from the prison camp in Libya. They paid a total of Tk 1.2 million as demanded by the gang through various processes. In total, they had to pay a total of Tk 3,050,000 (more than 3 million) as ransom in phases to different criminal gangs. Now they need more money to bring Arif back to the country.

Md. Hossain, another brother of Arif, told Prothom Alo, “Arif is staying with an agent in Libya, who is an acquaintance of the family. He was subjected to severe torture in the prison camp. His physical condition is not good. He is undergoing treatment in Libya at the moment. We are trying to bring him back as soon as possible.”