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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

‘Italian dream’ kills five Madaripur youths

  • Eight Bangladeshi citizens identified 
  • Seven had been travelling without passports
Update : 20 Feb 2024, 10:48 PM

In search of a better future, they set off for Italy from their village homes in Bangladesh’s Madaripur and Gopalganj on January 14.

But the “Italian dream” of eight Bangladeshi young men—five of them from Rajoir Upazila in Madaripur alone—completely shattered even before they managed to make it to the European country through a risky voyage in the Mediterranean Sea. 

A Pakistani also died in the accident.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday identified eight Bangladeshi citizens. 

They died in a vessel off the Tunisian coast while aboard an overcrowded boat carrying 44 migrants from Libya caught on fire on Thursday.

The group comprised 27 Bangladeshis, eight Pakistanis, three Egyptians, five Syrians, and an Egyptian individual. 

Among the Bangladeshi victims, seven had been travelling without passports.

Two days later, the Bangladesh Embassy, in a Facebook post, confirmed the deaths, saying most of the dead were Bangladeshis.

The embassy said on Tuesday that five of them hail from Rajoir Upazila. The five deceased are Sajal Boiragi, Nayan Biswas, Mamun Sheikh, Sajib Kazi, and Kawser. The rest of the identified victims—Rifat, Russell, and Imrul Kayes Apon—originate from Gopalganj.

The relatives of the five Madaripur youths have sought the government’s intervention to bring back the bodies. 

They, along with several others from Muksudpur Upazila in Gopalganj, boarded the engine-run boat on February 14 with the help of human traffickers, who lured them to a better life in Italy. 

Their relatives said they paid up to Tk15 lakh to two human traffickers, Rahim Sheikh and Mosharraf Kazi, both from Muksudpur Upazila.

Madaripur Superintendent of Police Masud Alam said they would take action once a written complaint from the families of the victims is filed. 

After Thursday’s tragedy, the Tunisian navy rescued the bodies of nine migrants and 43 survivors from the boat.

“Among the rescued migrants are 26 Bangladeshi nationals, and one of them is in critical condition,” it said at that time. 

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