159 Bangladeshi human trafficking victims, who were rescued by Burmese Navy, were brought back to Bangladesh on August 10, at about 2:00pm, according to Lieutenant Colonel Md Robiul Islam, commander of 17 BGB Battalion of Cox’s Bazar.
The Bangladeshi human trafficking victims were brought back through the Bangladesh-Burma Friendship Bridge at Ghundhun point around 2:00pm after a flag meeting of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Burma counterpart – Burmese Border Guard Police (BGP), Lt.Col. Islam said.
“Today morning, a 18 members of BGB went to Burma and held a flag meeting in BGP camp at Dekubunia in Burma since 11:30 am, regarding the Bangladeshi boatpeople.”
Earlier on July 30 and August 5, the victims were scheduled to be brought back but the programmes were postponed due to bad weather triggered by cyclone Komen and flood and other reasons, the BGB source said.
BGB official Islam said they have taken initiatives to take back another 159 on next Monday (August 17).
Asif Muneer, national programme officer of International Organization for Migration (IOM), said the organization have completed preparations for bringing the Bangladeshi boatpeople back.
The IOM will provide food, treatment, commuting costs and all humanitarian support to them until they reach their homes, he added.
Of the 159 Bangladeshis, 80 people are from Narsingdi, 18 from Chittagong, 12 from Narayanganj, 12 from Faridpur, three from Shariatpur, two from Naogaon and two from Natore and Barisal, said Cox’s Bazar’s Additional Superintendent of Police Tofail Ahmed.
“Till now, 342 identified Bangladeshi victims have been repatriated from Burma”.
The Bangladeshis would be taken to the town’s cultural centre and questioned there before being sent home, said Tofail Ahmed.
A released boat-people said, “We were getting many troubles and difficulties in Burma and we will never go again to Malaysia by the sea route. We were also tortured by BGP in Burma.”
According to different sources, the first group of 150 Bangladeshis had been brought to Bangladesh from Burma on June 8, in 2nd batch 37 boat-people were brought on June 19 and in 3rd batch 155 more people were brought on July 22.
The Bangladeshi boatpeople were among 208 and 727 or 734 people who were rescued by Burmese navy on May 22 and May 29 respectively in this year.