Update March 11, 2015

Dhaka 3-53 am, 24-June, 2021

Two Bangladeshis kidnapped in Libya

Sumel Sarker

An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Council, consisting of former members of militias from the town of Derna, drive along a road in Derna, eastern Libya

Fundamentalist Islamic State militants are believed to have kidnapped two Bangladeshis among the nine foreigners.

11 March 2015, Nirapad News: Fundamentalist Islamic State militants are believed to have kidnapped two Bangladeshis among the nine foreigners they took hostage in Libya on Friday.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed the identities of the Bangladeshis as Helal Uddin from Jamalpur and Mohammad Anowar Hossain from Noakhali.

A press release said Anowar was at first mistakenly identified as a Sudanese national with a similar name. However, his identification was later confirmed by a Bangladeshi working at a neighboring oil field.

Unidentified gunmen stormed the Al Ghani oil field near Sirte, about 700km south-east of the capital Tripoli, and kidnapped the nine people who were reportedly from Bangladesh, Philippines, Austria, Czech Republic, and Ghana.

ISIS-Libya, An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna’s Islamic Youth Council, seen in Derna, eastern Libya on Oct. 3, 2014.

The militants also beheaded eight guards, a Libyan military spokesperson said, adding that one oil worker died of a heart attack after seeing the grisly execution. There are disputes about which Islamist group was behind the attack.

A Bangladesh Foreign Ministry official told that it was still unclear which organisation was behind the attack as there are many such groups operating in Libya including the IS. “Nobody is yet to make any claim or demand for ransom,” he said.

The official said the manner of attack suggests that it was carried out by IS gunmen. Another senior foreign ministry official said the government was ready to join efforts with other countries to resolve the situation.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, claimed it was the Islamic State that was behind the Friday attack.

On the other hand, Value Added Oilfield Services (VAOS), the company which employed the foreigners, claimed ignorance about which group was responsible or where the hostages were taken.

As a precautionary measure, 21 Bangladeshis – from a nearby oil field – has been taken to safety, said a Foreign Ministry press release. The government has also asked Bangladeshi nationals in Libya to remain vigilant and not to venture outdoors unnecessarily. “We asked them to be cautious and stay safe as the situation in Libya is very fluid,” said a senior official of the Foreign Ministry.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Libya Maj Gen Shahidul Haque is doing whatever possible to help the Bangladeshis, he said.

The Bangladesh Embassy in Tripoli is also keeping an eye on the situation, the press release added.

The Libyan Foreign Ministry told the Bangladesh mission that they were trying their best to rescue the two Bangladeshis.

About 40,000 Bangladeshis currently reside in Libya, most of them in Tripoli and adjacent areas.

While the Islamic State continues to extend its influence over the Middle East, the Libyan IS affiliate now reportedly holds control over the eastern cities of Darna and Sirte, and has carried out several deadly suicide bombings across the country.

In February, the IS released a video showing 21 Egyptian Christians being beheaded in Libya. In retaliation, Cairo launched air strikes on Darna.

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