Six Somali students, presumed to be missing for a year, surrendered at a police station in Dhaka on Monday. The students submitted a bond to the police, apologizing for dropping out of contact.
The police warned them not to repeat this incident in the future, and requested the young men to abide by the rules and regulations applicable to foreign students in Bangladesh.
These students told the police that they went into hiding after not being able to pay their tuition fees.
On March 24, the Bangla Tribune published a story titled “Six Somali students missing for a year in Dhaka.” This story created a buzz among the administration.
The six Somali students and their family members were also alerted about the matter. They learned that a general diary (GD) was filed at the Uttara West police station in connection with their disappearance.
Six students contacted the Uttara police on Monday. Of them, five went to the police station in person and submitted the bond.
Earlier the same day, the five youth visited International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT), where they were studying.
The six youths- Sakid Hasan Buye, Abdi Rahman Abdullahi Hasan, Mohammad Abukar Dahir, Ali Salad, Abdir Rahman Abdullahi Hasan and Sakir Omar Sheikh Abdul Kadir, dropped out of contact for over a year.
The tale of vanishing students
At the end of the year 2016, seven Somali students visited to Bangladesh on academic purposes and got admitted in IUBAT. They went missing after three months.
The university administration became concerned and filed general diary with the Uttara West police station.
Three months after their disappearance, one student named Siraji Mohammad Ali contacted IUBAT in June, 2017.
He paid his due tuition fees and took back his passport from the university.
Siraji is currently getting a BBA degree at Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology in Dhaka.
Police informed the IUBAT authorities about the surrender of other six students.
The university later submitted a document stating that the missing six Somali students have been found.
According to sources from the Uttara West police station, among the six, Dahir and Sakid are currently studying at City University and Ali Salad, Sakir and Abdi Rahman are studying at Dhaka International University.
Police have kept copies of their academic ID cards for future reference.
Uttara West police station Sub-Inspector (SI) Mahmudul Hasan said: “The six Somali students have been located. They dropped out of contact without informing the IUBAT authorities.
“The six young men told us that they were studying in other private universities in Dhaka. They cut contact with the IUBAT over concerns that the university will not provide them with release letters.”
The students also complained that they were misinformed by their agency about the academic costs of studying in IUBAT.
The SI further said: “None of the six Somali men have valid visa for staying in Bangladesh. Their visas expired between August to September in 2017. IUBAT is also holding onto their passports.
“A foreign student cannot change their university without securing a release letter first. Both these students and their agency is at fault for this debacle.”
Responding to a query, IUBAT authorities stated: “These Somali students got admitted into the university in the fall semester of 2016. They disappeared after completing one semester. We tried to contact them on multiple occasions, but to no avail.”
IUBAT International Program Officer MA Mazedur Rahman said: “We provided the Somali students with offer letters to study here. If they were having problems, they could have notified us, but they chose not to do so.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com