A Bangladeshi expatriate worker on Sunday recounted a shocking series of events he had faced to go to Libya including torture and extortion by a gang of human traffickers.
“I used to work in Libya but returned in 2014 as the political situation became volatile. But since I left Tk230,000 with a worker named Belal in Libya, I called him recently for the money. Belal told me to meet one Rubel who asked me to meet one Anwar in Dhaka.
“When I came to Dhaka and met Anwar, he took me to Chittagong, and a day later he and one Ramjan managed me a [fake] passport and air ticket, and told me to collect the remaining amount from Libya.
“I could realise that I was trapped by the gang. But I did not know how they did all these things,” Mintu Ali Khan told reporters at a press conference by RAB at its Karwan Bazar media office.
“Anwar was always with me. I saw 15 other people at the Chittagong airport who were also heading for Libya. During the transit at the Amman Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan, Anwar asked us all to wear identical T-shirts, and took a photo.
“When we reached Libya, a Libyan received us at the airport, and took away our passports and other documents. Then we were taken to a house in an undisclosed location.”
The torture began at this house. “A Bangladeshi named Kashem took away all the money we had and started torturing us every day. They did not give us foods regularly. They used to force us to make video calls with our families and demand money through bKash.
“I gave them Tk110,000 in two phases. My brother sold off his shop to manage the amount. Then I was taken to another house and kept under the authority of one MA Gaffar alias Alam, who always remained drunk and tortured me.”
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RAB produces five alleged human traffickers before media during a press conference in Dhaka Sunday Dhaka Tribune
In the meantime, an associate of the traffickers named Rubel was arrested in Dhaka.
“Then they increased the extent of torture. One day Rubel’s brother Sumon asked me to make a video call to my family and tell them that I was fine. Otherwise, he threatened to kill me.
“Gaffar once took me to the desert and forced me to dig a grave to frighten me.
“But when my family asked me to return home, Gaffar demanded Tk70,000. My family collected the money from the neighbours. As soon as I reached Dhaka airport yesterday [Saturday], some associates of the gang attempted to abduct me,” Mintu said.
Mintu’s brother Rintu had already informed RAB about the matter. Based on the information, members of the Rapid Action Battalion arrested two members of the human trafficking gang – Liton Khan and Nur Mohammad alias Dulal – from Dhaka airport area on Saturday.
The elite force arrested two more traffickers of another gang – Abdul Kuddus Mollah and Hantu Mollah – from Faridpur on Saturday. Another member of the racket Belal Matubbar was arrested from Dhaka’s Tejgaon Sunday for their involvement in taking Bangladeshis hostage in Libya.
At the press briefing, RAB 3 commanding Officer Lt Col Khandakar Golam Sarwar told reporters that another Bangladeshi named Foyez had also been trapped in a similar fashion in Libya. He was released from confinement in September and is now staying at the Bangladesh embassy in Libya.
RAB learnt about the matter from Foyez’s brother Achan Ullah, who had filed a complaint. Based on the complaint and information from the Bangladesh embassy in Libya, RAB conducted raids and arrested Kuddus and Hantu from Faridpur, and Belal from Dhaka.
Foyez’s family had to pay Tk120,000 as ransom to free him from confinement, RAB said.