On September 30, 164 migrants including nine survivors of the deadly attack returned home on a voluntary humanitarian return flight
Survivors of the tragic shooting in the Libyan town of Mizdah, in which 30 migrants including 26 Bangladeshis were killed, are still haunted by the massacre.
Syed Khan, a Bangladeshi migrant, was among the shocked and traumatised survivors of the deadly attack who flew back home on a voluntary humanitarian flight from Libya on September 30, read a press release from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Saturday.
"I cannot forget the incident. It was like living a nightmare. I was shot and it took me four months to recover enough to make the journey back home. Many of us have not fully recovered and we are still traumatised," Syed Khan told the IOM.
Among 164 migrants on board of the flight were nine survivors of the deadly attack in Mizdah, near the city of Gharyan, southwest of Tripoli, which also left 11 others injured.
"The injured survivors are still traumatised. They are not in a situation to talk and live a normal life, and now they are in institutional quarantine under government arrangements," Sariful Islam, national communication officer of the IOM Bangladesh, told The Business Standard.
After reaching the country, survivor Syed Khan said, "I am grateful to the IOM and the Bangladesh government for the medical and other support they provided in Libya and for arranging my flight home."
Syed will receive medical and psychosocial follow-up support, and financial assistance to start a business so that he can run his family.
Among the returnees on the flight, there were over 100 other vulnerable migrants, including 39 with medical conditions.
IOM medical escorts travelled with the migrants, and upon their arrival, health teams were on the site to coordinate healthcare for migrants, who will quarantine the returnees at government facilities, provide referral support to specialised services, and give follow-up support to migrants with chronic conditions.
"Eligible migrants will receive reintegration support once they have completed their government-mandated quarantine period. Follow-up care is particularly important for migrants who experienced physical and psychological trauma while stranded in Libya," read the release.
Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Bangladesh's chief of mission, said, "Covid-19 has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of migrant workers across the world. We are working to overcome travel-related and other restrictions to access vulnerable migrants who are stranded and in need of support."
Even though the Libya labour market has been closed for the last five years, Bangladeshis went there by human traffickers using routes of different countries. Many of them dreamed of going to Europe from Libya.
Shariful Hasan, head of Brac Migration Programme, said, "The Bangladeshis who were killed in the Libya attack went there illegally. So, their family did not get any compensation from the government."
"If a migrant worker with valid documents dies abroad, their family will get Tk3 lakh from the Wage Earners' Welfare Board," he added.
However, Md Hamidur Rahman, director general of the Wage Earners' Welfare Board, could not be reached for his comment on the issue of compensating for the Bangladeshis killed in Libya.
Lal Chad of Magura was one of the 26 Bangladeshis killed in Libya. He was the resident of Binodpur union under Mohammadpur upazila.
Shikdar Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Binodpur union parishad, said, "The family of Lal Chand did not get any compensation. But we have helped them with some rice from the union parishad."
Meanwhile, police on June 15 arrested 52 people over human trafficking and killing of 26 Bangladeshi migrants in Libya, according to police headquarters.
Different units of the police conducted a number of drives across the country and made the arrests.
Twenty-six cases have so far been lodged across the country in this connection, sources at police headquarters said. The arrestees are under trials now.