A human trafficking gang has threatened nine Bangladeshi immigration applicants that they will be killed and their bodies dumped in the Mediterranean Sea if they do not pay Tk 8.5 lakh per person by next Monday .
The traffickers held them hostage last Wednesday at sea and demanded a ransom. The nine aspiring migrants had left for Italy via the Mediterranean from the Libyan coast. Some of the hostages have contacted their families.
The identity of four of the nine hostages has been found. They are Md Sajanur Rahman, 35, son of Abdul Mukit Khan, a retired schoolteacher from the village of Paschimbagh in the upazila of Ajmiriganj in Habiganj; Md Afzal, son of Sajlu Miah from the same village; Md Nasir Mia, 20, son of Sekul Miah; and Ujjal, 28, son of late Safar Ali from Noabad area of Habiganj city. The names and addresses of the others could not immediately be determined.
Md Achhiur Rahman, brother of hostage Sajanur and also a primary school teacher, told The Business Standard: “Sajanur left home in February last year to go to Italy. He reached Benghazi in Libya through a broker named Mortuza from Moulvibazar. Later, Mortuza sold Sajanur to another broker named Chabu Mia. Sajanur was detained by the Libyan Coast Guard and released after paying Tk3 lakh.
“Another broker, Taimur Mia, then took care of sending him to Italy. Taimur’s house is in Imambari village in Nabiganj upazila in Habiganj. His family members currently live in Noabad district from the city of Habiganj. Taimur is currently in Tripoli, Libya,” he added. .
Achhiur Rahman said: “Sajanur is the father of a five-month-old daughter. He went abroad to meet the family crisis, even though we did not agree. Now all the members of my family are crying after receiving threat from broker. So till now brokers have taken away Tk 11.80 lakh at different times.”
“On the one hand, I am worried about my brother’s life, and on the other, I am thinking about how to respond to the request of the brokers who are torturing my brother by holding him in a boat in the Mediterranean”, a- he added.
Meanwhile, the gang has been demanding Tk8.5 lakh from each hostage’s family since last Wednesday. Otherwise, they threaten to kill them and dump the bodies in the Mediterranean.
Sekul Mia, father of another hostage Nasir Mia, said: “I earn my living by boating. I have already sold the land and paid Tk9 lakh to broker Taimur. Now brokers are threatening to kill my son if I don’t pay Tk 8.5 lakh more.”
“The brokers are torturing my son a lot. Please save my son, he is the eldest of my two sons,” he added.
The financial situation of the families of the hostages is very deplorable. They say they don’t have cash in their hands.
They claimed that their relatives were detained by Bangladeshi intermediaries and that Taimur Mia of Habiganj was their leader.
When family members of the hostages contacted Taimur’s wife, she said she did not know where he was. She hasn’t had contact with Taimur for several days.