By Azad Majumder
Dhaka, June 5 (efe-epa).– Ety Akter woke up with a message on her phone from a family friend in the Libyan capital Tripoli on May 28 that only contained a grisly photo of a human corpse.
Her husband immediately called him back to know why he had sent them the graphic image.
“He said there was some trouble near Benghazi and this might be the photo of my brother, Jewel,” Akter told EFE.
Horrified by the message, her husband contacted a man, Amir Sheikh, who had taken one million takas ($12,000) from the family a week ago as ransom, promising to help her brother get out of the trouble in the conflict-ridden North African country.
The family finally learned that Jewel, 20, was among the 26 Bangladeshis slain on May 28 in the city of Mizdah, 180 km (110 miles) south of Tripoli.
Akter said her family had paid traffickers taka 410,000 ($4,800) for facilitating Jewel’s journey to Libya with a hope for a better life.
He left home on Feb. 12 and the traffickers had promised the family to take him to Tripoli where we had relatives.
“But they took him to Benghazi. Yet we paid them because they said he would soon make the trip to Tripoli,” she said.
The family received a voice message from Jewel on May 20, informing them he was kidnapped and they need to pay taka 10 lakh ransom.
“I sold all my jewelry and loaned money from our relatives to pay Amir on May 24. He said they would soon release him but it did not happen,” she said.
Jewel, fourth of the nine siblings, hailed from central Madaripur district. He was working as a farm laborer before traveling to Libya.
His sister said the family spent almost their entire savings to pay for his trip and had now turned pauper after paying the ransom.
Jewel’s family isn’t alone.
The story of Kabul Miridha of central Gopalganj district is also the same as he paid traffickers taka 405,000 ($4588) to send his son Sujon Miridha to Libya on Jan. 27.
The family received a distress call from him
“Please save me, father. They will kill me,” Miridha recalled.
“I heard the sound of them beating him. I asked them not to beat my son and then they demanded taka 10 lakh ($12,000). I begged some time and said I will pay the money by June 1. But before that everything finished.”
The father said he had sold a plot of his land and loaned the rest of the amount to arrange money for his son’s Libya travel.
“I had a small piece of land left, I was planning to sell it. But I could not save my son.”