‘Almost six months later, the IOM helped us get back to Bangladesh and RAB took us in for questioning’
Twenty-seven Bangladeshi migrants, who had gone to work in Libya without valid documents, have been sent home.
An official from International Organisation for Migration (IOM) told the Dhaka Tribune that their flight landed at Dhaka airport around 5am on Wednesday.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) 3 Operation Officer Aminul Islam said: “These people were sent to Libya by a fraudulent agency. They returned earlier this morning and we are currently questioning them.
“Based on their information, we will conduct a drive.”
During a press briefing at the RAB Media Centre in Karwan Bazar, RAB 3 Commanding Officer Lt Col Tuhin Mohammad Masud said they were in constant communication with the Bangladeshi embassy in Libya and had found out from them about the 27 Bangladeshi migrants who had returned on Wednesday.
“We picked them up from the airport area and are currently questioning them,” he said.
When asked about the migrants’ allegation that several of the traffickers had been on the flight with them, the RAB CO said they were unaware of this and are currently looking into the matter.
One of the migrants, Israfil Shikder said when they reached Libya, some Bangladeshi and Libyan traffickers had picked them up and imprisoned them in a warehouse.
While imprisoned, they were forced to call home asking for money and tortured when they refused to comply. During their imprisonment, they were sold from one trafficker to another.
“They did not provide us with enough food. We mostly subsisted on half a loaf of bread and were fed rice only five or six times during our imprisonment,” added Israfil.
“I already gave the traffickers about Tk5.2 lakh,” he said.
“At one time, they tried to take us to Italy via boat. That is when the Libyan police arrested them and sent them to jail. The police confiscated all their money and goods.”
“Almost six months later, the IOM helped us get back to Bangladesh and RAB took us in for questioning,” added Israfil.
The IOM’s Dhaka and Tripoli missions are supporting the humanitarian repatriation under Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) and Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programmes.
These IOM programmes have helped 95 Bangladeshi migrants return from Libya this year. The IOM also has a reintegration plan for the returnees and monitors their progress under the AVR and AVRR programmes.