Dhaka, June 1 (efe-epa).– Bangladesh on Monday claimed to have arrested a suspected human trafficking ring leader who had allegedly smuggled some of the Bangladeshis from a group of immigrants killed or wounded in a horrific attack by a criminal gang in Libya last week.
Lieutenant Colonel Rakibul Hasan, the commanding officer of the elite Rapid Action Battalion in Dhaka, said Haji Kamal was arrested from the capital’s Gulshan neighborhood.
“He sent more than one member (of the public) to Libya, who were either killed or injured,” Hasan told reporters.
The officer said Kamal worked as a supplier of construction tiles in the capital, where he came in touch with many poor workers, who were lured to travel illegally to Libya and other Middle-East countries for better wages.
According to the RAB, the man promised the workers that they would earn up to 5,000-6,000 taka ($58-$70) every day in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, compared to the meager daily wage of 500-600 taka they received in Bangladesh.
Hasan said that they had collected information about several trafficking agents in villages who brought workers to Dhaka and Kamal was their leader, involved in collecting money from the migrants’ families and distributing it.
The traffickers allegedly used to send the locals through a complicated route of India-Dubai-Egypt before finally leaving them off in Libya’s Benghazi, despite no work being available there.
“We got every name involved in the trafficking, (…) they are all Bangladeshis,” the officer said.
On May 28, Libyan militias shot 26 Bangladeshi citizens in the city of Mizdah, 180 km (110 miles) south of Tripoli.
Quoting a survivor of the massacre, Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said Libyan criminals had taken 38 Bangladeshis hostage as traffickers were taking them to Tripoli from Benghazi town, 15 days before the attack.
After facing “inhuman torture” from the captors, who demanded ransom, hostages killed the leader of the criminal gang and in retaliation the militias fired indiscriminately on the immigrants, killing 26 Bangladeshi citizens and injuring 11 others.
Libya, a country torn by a longstanding civil war and under the grip of several armed militias, is often used as a route for trafficking people from different Asian and African countries to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than two million illegal migrants have entered Europe through the Mediterranean since 2014. EFE-EPA