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15 returnees not survivors of Tunisia capsize

  • Published at 04:46 pm May 22nd, 2019
WEB- Tunisia
Ahmed Bilal, a Bangladeshi who survived a migrant shipwreck that killed dozens, rests at a shelter in the Tunisian coastal city of Zarzis AFP

ASM Ashraful Islam said Tuesday’s returnees were from another boat that was stranded at sea

Fifteen Bangladeshi migrants who returned home on Tuesday were not survivors of a boat capsize incident in the Mediterranean Sea.

They are a different group of people who were rescued by the Tunisian coastguard between May 10 and 12, confirmed ASM Ashraful Islam, labour counsellor of the Bangladesh Embassy in Libya.

The boat carrying Bangladeshi passengers to Europe capsized on May 9.

Ashraful said both of the incidents occurred around the same time, which is likely the root of the confusion.

He said Tuesday’s returnees were on another boat that was stranded at sea.

“It was another boat that ran out of fuel and was spotted and rescued by the Tunisian authorities.

“They [the Tunisian authorities] handed these migrants over to the International Organization for Migration [IOM] after the rescue,” he added. 

A Turkish Airlines flight, carrying the migrants, reached Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, around 5:50am on Tuesday, said Ataur Rahman, on-duty official at the Expatriates’ Welfare Desk of the airport.

No one of this group had a passport, hence were issued travel passes.

Upon arriving at the airport, members of law enforcement talked to them.

Ashraful said the group that survived the tragic capsize in the Mediterranean Sea which claimed the lives of more than 60 migrants, are largely unwilling to return home.

However, three people from that group want to come home, and might reach Bangladesh on Thursday. 

More than 60 migrants, most of whom are Bangladeshi, died after two boats—carrying over a hundred migrants—capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Tunisian coast, on May 9 and 10.