About 2,000 Bangladesh nationals have reached Egypt, Tunisia and Greece from trouble-torn Libya by road and ship, the government said Saturday.
An additional 6,000 Bangladeshis are expected to leave Libya in a day or two, it said.
Bangladesh has requested the international communities, including Egypt, Tunisia and Libyan authorities, employers of Bangladesh nationals in Libya, the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to ferry them to safer places by immediately available air, ship and road transports.
The government ‘is ready to bear all incidental costs’ for movement and stay of Bangladesh nationals, stranded in Libya, to safer places within and outside the north African country.
The government would provide travel documents, including passports, free of cost for their hassle-free travel, foreign secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes and expatriate welfare secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan told a briefing at the foreign ministry Saturday evening.
As many as 804 Bangladesh nationals have been ferried to Crete island of Greece in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, they said.
About 450 Bangladesh nationals have reached a safer place on Libya’s border with Egypt.
Another 6,000 Bangladesh nationals would start moving out of Libya either by air or by ship in a day or two.
South Korean company Sihan would send about 2,600 Bangladeshi workers home at its (Sihan) own cost.
Daewoo, another South Korean company, said it would evacuate 1,500 Bangladesh workers from Libya.
A Malaysian company informed the Bangladesh government that it would evacuate its 820 Bangladeshi staff by chartered planes.
About 300 Bangladesh nationals have taken shelter at the IOM and the ICRC reception centres on Tunisia’s borders with Libya.
About 200 Bangladeshis have taken shelter in the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli.
South Korean Hyundai has left about 140 Bangladeshi workers on Egypt’s border with Libya, a relative of Sanwar Hossain, a worker of the company, said. They ‘are in trouble’ due to lack of shelter and food, he said.
Most of those leaving Libya do not have travel documents, including passports, as in most of the cases the appointing authorities take the passports of their workers, the two foreign secretaries said.
About 60,000 Bangladeshis were working in Libya, the foreign secretary said.
‘A sense of insecurity rather than genuine threat to security is prevailing there (Libya), he said.
When asked whether the government would evacuate all Bangladeshi workers from Libya, Quayes said, ‘Wholesale evacuation is not the answer at this stage. We need to take them first to the nearest safer places within or outside Libya.’
However, ‘we are fully prepared for evacuation although it is difficult to provide logistics for a mass evacuation’, he said.
The government would do every possible to take them to safer places, he said, adding, ‘We also expect the employers of the workers would also take responsibilities to ferry them to safer places.’
The foreign secretary said he would talk to mission chiefs of countries that send workers to Libya for a ‘synchronized and coordinated evacuation’.
Foreign minister Dipu Moni is expected to meet the chiefs of ICRC and IOM in Geneva on Monday.
The government has started sending mid-level officers and several thousand travel documents from Dhaka and some other European capitals to strengthen Bangladesh missions in Egypt and Libya, he said.
When asked about reports that some Bangladesh nationals had been detained by authorities in Libya, the foreign secretary said the government would try to have them out of custody as early as possible.
When asked whether any Bangladesh nationals were killed in the civil war in Libya, Zafar Ahmed Khan said they did not have any information about Bangladeshi casualties.
‘I do not rule out the possibility of casualties. But, we do not have any information so far…’ he said.
Courtesy of New Age