His home return plan shattered

February 27, 2011

Cement plant engineer Golam Rabbani wanted to return home this February to finally settle down in the country and look after his three children. But his life now seems to be in grave danger as he has been taken hostage by “Libyan armed forces” in troubled Libya.
His family members said yesterday a group of people in Libyan army uniform took the 52-year-old of Monirampur upazila of Jessore along with three other Bangladeshi workers–Liaqat, Sikander, Alamgir and Siddiqur Rahman. The other three are all from Dhaka.
“We had regular contact until February 22. Then we could not talk to him although we tried repeatedly,” his elder brother Md Harun-or-Rashid, a lawyer, told The Daily Star.
“We received a phone call yesterday around 6:45am. He informed us that he along with four other Bangladeshis have been taken to Libyan army headquarters,” Rashid said.
Rabbani had been working for Jhilton Cement Plant, owned by a Chinese company, as an engineer in Tripoli before the uprising against Libyan chief Col Muammar Gaddafi began nearly two weeks ago.
“The company officials fled the plant without prior notice soon after fighting between anti-government protesters and Gaddafi loyalists broke out,” he alleged.
Rabbani, who is fluent in Arabic, took shelter in a house of an acquaintance and had informed his family that he would return as soon as the North African oil-rich country returns to normalcy.
“The Libyan armies have snatched everything from them including passports. They have also taken away a pair of spectacles, without which Rabbani cannot see properly,” Rashid said.
“We do not know his whereabouts. When we talked last time he could not say where the army was taking them but he only said they are travelling in a car.”
“He also told us that they were not given food for a few days. Rabbani has heart problems and becomes sick often and he has severe headache problem. We are very, very worried,” Rashid said.
Rabbani, who was educated at Khulna Engineering College, now Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, last came home in August, 2007 after his wife died giving birth to their third child, daughter Noorhan. He went back to Libya in January, 2010.
“Before leaving, he told us that he would finally return in February 2011 and settle down for good,” said Rashid.
He said Rabbani’s children Raihan, 11, a class six student of Jessore Shaheen School, and Farhan, 6, a kindergarten student, are worried.
About 50,000 Bangladeshi–most of them low-paid workers–living in Libya have appealed to the government for safe return home.
Many of them said they could not go outside due to heavy gunfights between anti-government protesters and Gaddafi loyalists, which have so far reportedly killed hundreds.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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