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Dhaka Tribune

Missing in Libya: Bangladeshi journo, engineer found in Tripoli police custody

Another Libya national was also reported missing with them from the war-torn country

Update : 28 Mar 2022, 08:54 PM

NTV journalist Zahidur Rahman, expatriate Bangladeshi engineer Saiful Islam and their Libyan driver Md Khaled have been found in the custody of security forces in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Libya Maj Gen SM Shamim-Uz-Zaman told Dhaka Tribune discussions with Tripoli authorities to bring back the Bangladeshi nationals are underway, and the reason for their detention is yet to be revealed.

Earlier, the Bangladeshi journalist, engineer, and the driver had been reported missing in Libya for the last five days.

Zahidur Rahman, 48, a special correspondent for TV station NTV, went to Libya on March 21.

Zahidur's family claimed that they learned from different sources that Zahidur, Saiful, and Khaled were picked up from Libya’s war-ravaged capital Tripoli.

His wife Taslima said she last spoke to Zahidur on March 23, and since then she could not trace him as his cell phone was switched off.

She later asked the state minister to get in touch with the Bangladesh embassy to find out about her husband.

Tasmina was later informed by the envoy and NTV sources that her husband had been picked up by some people.

SM Shamim-Uz-Zaman initially told Dhaka Tribune the three might have been picked up by a militia group.

"Zahidur was taking pictures at different places. This can be a reason. I know him personally. We are very worried about him,” he had said.

The ambassador said the driver, Khaled, had called his family from where he was, so it is possible the three were not kept together.

NTV Chief News Editor Zahirul Alam told Dhaka Tribune: "The Bangladesh Embassy in Libya informed us that although they could not be reached directly, the driver who was with them called his family and told them that he was safe."

Asked if he had gone on a special assignment, he said Zahidur had taken a leave of absence from the office to visit London and then travel to Libya to see the expatriate Bangladeshis there.

However, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman told Dhaka Tribune that the Bangladesh mission in Libya has informed them that Zahidur and two other expatriate Bangladeshis detained with him were safe and sound.

“They are fine and hope to leave at any time," the state minister said, adding that their whereabouts were unknown. 

He further said "Bangladesh's foreign ministry has contacted the Libyan authority to ensure their safety and rescue."

According to Zahidur’s wife, he left for London on a Turkish Airlines flight on March 3 and planned to travel to Ireland, Scotland and then reach Libya on March 21.

However, he left London for Libya on March 20 at the invitation of the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya, according to State Minister Enamur.

After meeting the ambassador, he went out with the Bangladeshi engineer on March 22 and had been missing since then.

Before he went missing, Zahidur was last seen on March 22 at early noon in the Green Square, known as Sohada, on the grounds of Tripoli.

Engineer Saiful’s father said he believes his son, and journalist Zahidur was picked up by government forces for taking pictures in war-torn areas where it was not allowed.

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