RAB 3 arrests Kamal Hossain, suspected to be involved in human trafficking, in Dhaka
At least two of the 26 people killed and 11 injured in a gun attack by some human traffickers in Libya were sent there by tile contractor Kamal Hossain, according to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
A team of RAB-3 apprehended Kamal Hossain alias Haji Kamal, 55, from Shahjadpur area in Dhaka at around 5:15am on Monday, said RAB 3 Commanding Officer (CO) Lt Col Rakibul Hasan.
“Kamal admitted that the deceased Lal Chand and injured Tarikul had gone to Libya with his help,” said Rakibul.
However, RAB suspects that Kamal had sent several others among those killed and wounded in Libya.
“The abductors received money through Kamal. He was also putting pressure on the families for the money,” he added.
“We got hold of Kamal’s bank account and came upon information on some abnormal transactions. We are looking into it,” he stated.
RAB recovered two diaries from Kamal’s possession and found the names of 10-15 people on his mobile phone involved in the matter, said the RAB CO.
“These people send individuals from Madaripur, Kishoreganj and Magura overseas. Kamal is one of the leaders of this gang. He has sent 350-400 people to Libya in the last 10-12 years and many others to various Middle Eastern countries,” said the RAB official.
Exporting manpower to war-torn Libya has been suspended for nearly six years.
Brokers tempt youths who travel to Dubai or Jordan using tourist visas with promises of taking them to Europe. They take them to Libya via Egypt and Sudan and from Dubai and Jordan.
The end goal is to have these young people go to European countries by crossing the Mediterranean Sea on small boats sailing from Libya.
Countless numbers of migration seekers have lost their lives in mid-sea or were killed by brokers for money.
Law enforcement agencies have a clear idea about the ring involved with this process and have arrested many local brokers, but such measures have apparently not been effective.
How did Kamal traffic people?
“Kamal is a tile contractor. Tile setters earn Tk500-600 a day in our country, while people in this profession in Libya earn Tk5,000-6,000 per day. He tempts the tile setters known to him with this opportunity of increased income,” Rakibul said.
“Passports, visas and tickets are bought through the syndicate. They take more than Tk7-8 lakh from each person for sending them to Europe. A person has to pay Tk4-5 lakh before leaving and the rest after reaching his destination,” he further added.
“They are first taken to Kolkata by road, then to Mumbai by air, and from there to Dubai-Egypt-Benghazi,” he mentioned.
After their arrival in Libya, another group subjects them to torture, threatening to kill them in order to extort money from their families.
Some of the victims die at sea, while many others have to live in the forests and starve, the RAB official said.
Many of them have been arrested at different times by the law enforcement agencies of that country, which tarnishes the image of Bangladesh and its government, opined Rakibul.
Saying that RAB had received much important information regarding the issue, he added that the authorities would continue their operations after verifying matters.
Cases filed against local brokers
Three separate cases were filed against 14 accused in Madaripur in connection with the killings, while another case was filed against three in Gopalganj.
In Madaripur, the families of three victims lodged the cases with Sadar police station and Rajoir police station on Sunday.
Sadar police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Md Kamrul Islam Mia said Halim Hawlader, father of deceased Md Shamim Hawlader, filed a case against three persons in the afternoon.
"We arrested the prime accused Dina Begum on Sunday night," he said.
Dina is the wife of local broker Nazrul Molla, who is now in Libya, he added.
Rajoir police station OC Shawkat Jahan said two families of the victims had lodged two separate cases against 11 accused.
Razzak Hawlader, father of deceased Jewel, filed a case against four people and Abu Khayer Khalashi, brother of deceased Rahim Khalashi, filed another case against seven people.
Local broker Julhas Sardar has been made the accused in both the cases, he said.
"We have arrested Julhas, who is now undergoing treatment at the isolation unit of Madaripur General Hospital as he tested positive for coronavirus infection," the OC added.
In Gopalganj, deceased Sujan Mridha’s father Kabul Mridha filed a case against three persons with Muksudpur police station.
The accused are Liakot Sheikh, 45, Rob Morol, 45, and Julhas Sarder.
Confirming the matter, Muksudpur police station OC Mirza Abul Kalam Azad said the three accused were on the run and police were trying to arrest them as soon as possible.
It may be recalled that 26 Bangladesh citizens were killed and 11 others were injured in a gun attack by some human traffickers in the desert town of Mizdah, some 180km from Tripoli, the capital of Libya, on May 28.
Bangladesh had communicated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on arrangements for the bodies of the victims to be returned home and had sought compensation for their families.
However, the victims were later buried in Mizda.
The Bangladesh government also sought information on the human traffickers and demanded punishment of those involved in human trafficking and killing after their arrest.
Additional reporting by our correspondents Monjur Hossain in Madaripur, and Manoj Kumar in Gopalganj