17 November 2014, The Daily Star

Languishing in Iraqi city with insufficient food, water; ambassador says they might be sent back soon.

The 16 Bangladeshi migrant workers who claim to have been abducted by some locals are still passing their days in misery inside an old building in Najaf city of Iraq.

The Bangladeshis were “forcibly” taken to the building on Tuesday from a camp in the same city where they had been languishing with another 164 jobless Bangladeshis for the last seven months.

Many of the “abducted” workers have somehow managed to contact The Daily Star over the phone and said they are living in an unhygienic overcrowded room with limited access to food and drinking water.

They alleged they are simply confined to the building.

“You can’t imagine my condition here. Foul smell emanates from a broken toilet. There is no arrangement for taking bath either,” Rafiqul Islam, one of the Bangladeshis, said.

Career Overseas Consultants Ltd had sent the 180 Bangladeshis to Iraq in May with promises of jobs at Abu Torab Housing Project run by a Turkish employer.

The recruiting agency however yesterday said the 16 Bangladeshis were being kept inside the building with the assistance of the Bangladesh embassy in the Middle Eastern country.

“The 16 workers are trouble-makers. They might have been taken to another place to ensure a peaceful environment at the camp,” Amir Hossain, assistant technical manager of the agency, said.

“Majority of the 180 migrant workers still want to stay and work in Iraq but only 20 to 25 of them are creating trouble,” he claimed.

Asked whether they were violating the rights of the Bangladeshis by confining them, he declined to comment.



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