Banged up Abroad: Human traffickers demand huge ransom for Habiganj quartet

The traffickers said they would dump the bodies in the Mediterranean Sea if they don’t get the money by Monday

A human trafficking gang has asked for Tk8.5 lakh each for sparing the lives of four illegal Italy immigration-seeking men from Habiganj. 

The missing men were identified as Md Sajanur Rahman, 35, son of Abdul Mukit Khan from Paschimbagh village in Ajmiriganj upazila; Afzal, son of Sajlu Mia from the same village; Md Nasir Mia,20, son of Sekular Mia; and Ujjal, 27, son of safar Ali from noabad area in Habiganj city, according to their families. 

The gang asked for the money over phone calls on Wednesday and said they would dump their bodies in the Mediterranean Sea if they don’t get it by Monday, said the family members of the hostage immigration seekers. 

“Sajanur left for Italy on February last year and reached Benghazi in Libya with the help of a broker named Marutza but he sold my brother to another broker named Sabu Mia But Sajanur got caught by Coast Guards there and had to pay Tk 3 lakh as fine. Later another broker named Taimur who used to live in Noabad in Habiganj city took the responsibility of sending him to Italy,” said Md Asiur Rahman, a primary school teacher, and brother of Sajanur Rahman. 

Asiur Rahman said different brokers have so far taken around Tk12 lakh from them and now they are worried about how they will pay the ransom money. 

“My brother took up the illegal way to change the economic condition of the family only. My brother told me on the phone the traffickers have kept nine people from Habiganj in a boat on the Mediterranean Sea and were torturing them.” Said Asiur Rahman. 

Martuza Hasan, Chairman of Ajmiriganj Upazila Parishad confirmed his relative Sajanur’s family received calls from some traffickers demanding money. “But I have no idea about other people who were threatened, “he said. 

Afzal’s father Sazlu Mia, Nasir’s father Sekular Mia and Ujjal’s father-in-law Md Faruq Mia claimed all of them were kept hostage by a gang of brokers which is led by a local broker named Taimur Mia. They said they are all too poor to pay the ransom money and fear their relatives will be killed soon. 

Meanwhile, Taimur’s wife claimed she has no idea about such an incident and she has had no contact with her husband for a long time.