Twenty-six Bangladeshi migrants killed in Mizdah
by Sumon Corraya

Local authorities blame the massacre on traffickers holding the workers hostage. At least 12 million Bangladeshis live abroad, just over 21,000 in Libya. In 2020, 654 Bangladeshi illegally entered Europe from Libya. Caritas Bangladesh notes that migrants pay more than 10,000 euros to end up in the hands of unscrupulous criminals.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Some 26 Bangladeshi migrants were killed and 12 injured on Wednesday in Libya. Four African migrants were also killed.

In a statement, Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) said that the attack took place in Mizdah, 180 km south of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Local authorities blame the massacre on the family of a trafficker holding the migrants hostage. He was killed by his "prisoners" after asking for more money for their transfer to Tripoli.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, 12 million Bangladeshis live and work abroad, just over 21,000 in Libya, 3 per cent of the 654,000 foreigners currently present in the North African country, torn by a long and bloody civil war between the Tripoli-based GNA and General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army.

Until 2011, when Libyan strongman Muhammar al Gaddafi was overthrown, Libya’s oil-based economy had attracted thousands of foreign workers. Now its territory is used by human traffickers as a springboard to illegally bring legions of migrant workers to Europe.

According to the European Frontex agency, 654 Bangladeshis illegally entered Europe from Libya in the first four months of 2020.

Joel T Rebeiro, head of the Migrants and Disadvantaged Communities Project by Caritas Bangladesh, told AsiaNews that thousands of Bangladeshis leave their country every year for Europe.

“They are mostly poorly educated people, who pay more than 10,000 euros to go to Libya, a country they know nothing about, convinced they will be making a lot of money."

For Rebeiro, the Bangladeshi government should do something to make these people more aware of the risk they take, especially the danger of ending up in the hands of unscrupulous traffickers.