He was hungry and tired. Still, he refused the lunch provided by government officials at the airport yesterday.
“When I survived without rice for over the last two weeks, I will not die to reach home,” said Sajeeb, who arrived at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport from Libya yesterday afternoon.
Sajeeb, who along with 461 others escaped the troubled-torn Libya through Egypt border, said the Egyptian border guards and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) saved their lives from bitter cold amid heavy rain by giving food and shelter.
“The Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli was of little help,” said Sajeeb, his T-shirt read: “The government wants nothing but remittance.”
His colleague Saiful said they were among a group of over 2,000 people working at a South Korean company, Won Construction, in eastern Libyan city of Derna in Benghazi.
Several hundred anti-Gaddafi protesters looted their camp and set fire to it on January 14. The company then shifted the workers to another camp, which was also looted and torched on February 17, he added.
“The Libyans looted all our money, mobile phones and the laptops of our South Korean bosses,” said Saiful from Jessore, who like most returnees, has no money to go home.
The rebels then drove them out of the camp, forcing them to take shelter at a madrasa.
Two days later, some people, however, moved them to a nearby community centre.
The protesters, armed with heavy weapons, also asked them to chant slogans against Muammar Gaddafi.
On February 23, the Libyans put all the 2,000 plus workers, also from Nepal, Vietnam and Thailand in lorries and left them at the Egyptian border.
The 565 Nepalese were received by their government officials, given food and taken home on the very day. The government of Vietnam and Thailand also did the same in a day or two.
“It was only us, the helpless Bangladeshis, left there. It was very cold as it was raining in the windy desert,” said Saiful who worked as a carpenter there since 2008.
He said he called the Bangladesh embassy officials in Tripoli. They said they would go there, but never actually did.
On several occasions, the officials said they had nothing to do, he alleged.
“The situation suggests there is no embassy in Libya or Egypt. Had there been one, how come nobody came to our rescue?” asked Saiful.
Courtesy of The Daily Star