Dhaka, rise in abductions as a Catholic businessman kidnapped
by Sumon Corraya
The victim is Hemonto Costa, younger sibling of Brother Proshanto Costa, high school principal in Mymensingh. His cell phone is turned off and there is no news of his whereabouts. Between 2013 and 2014 a total of 332 people were kidnapped in Bangladesh. Only half returned home alive.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - In Bangladesh cases of kidnapping for ransom are on the rise: the latest involves a Catholic businessman, who was abducted while on his way to his office in Savar on the morning of April 21. The victim is Hemonto Costa, 47, a member of St Joseph's Church (parish of Dharenda, Archdiocese of Dhaka).  He is the younger sibling of Brother Proshanto Costa, head of the Biroidakuni High School in the Diocese of Mymensingh.

Hemonto sells supplies for air conditioners and refrigerators in the business area of the capital. He was on the phone with his wife just before being kidnapped. Family members have filed a missing persons report, but still do not know anything. "We're looking for him and praying for him - brother Costa tells AsiaNews - but his phone is switched off. He knew many creditors because of his job, but we can not imagine who it was".

Hemonto Costa's case is not an isolated one.  Disappearances or abductions are on the rise. Last week a group of unknown assailants kidnapped the husband of Syeda Rizwana Hasan , executive director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) . The man was driving his car from Dhaka to Narayanganj, when he was taken. After two days he was released.

However, not all kidnaps have a happy ending; some of the victims are killed. Ilias Ali, leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) disappeared from Dhaka and has not been seen since. His family believes he may have been killed.

According to human rights groups, from January 2013 to March 2014 a total of 332 people were kidnapped in Bangladesh. In general, the kidnappers ask for a ransom of between 40 thousand and 10 million taka (between 373 and 93,300 Euros). Only 50% of the hostages are freed alive. In the case of Hemonto Costa, no ransom has so far been demanded.