ঢাকাশুক্রবার, ১লা মার্চ, ২০২৪ খ্রিস্টাব্দ

‘Can’t the govt save us?’: Bangladeshis in Ukraine detention centre plead

desk report | ctgpost
মার্চ ৯, ২০২২ ১:৪৯ অপরাহ্ণ
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Five Bangladeshi citizens — reportedly detained at a camp in the Ukrainian city Zhuravychi — informed The Daily Star of their sufferings. As their phones were seized, they lost means of communication. They were not being given enough food either, they said.

 

Last Saturday (March 5, 2022), they complained to The Daily Star that they were being held there to be used as “human shields”.

 

On Friday (March 4, 2022), the 5 stranded Bangladeshi citizens posted a video message on social media where they sought assistance from the government. Details of their sufferings were publicised on prominent media. Riyad Malik, one of the “detained” Bangladeshi citizens, claimed that as soon as details of their ordeal became public on media, the Ukrainian camp administration exerted further torture on them.

 

This morning (March 8, 2022), Malik sent The Daily Star a 40-second-long audio message. He sent the message using another person’s phone. The phone’s owner hid it from the camp administration in fear of confiscation.

 

Subsequently, using that mobile phone, Malik managed to have a brief chat with The Daily Star. In a shaky voice, Malik informed, “I’m using another detainee’s phone. We are being tortured. There is no food and water supply at the camp. Zhuravychi is now a full-fledged war front. The detention camp is under the control of the Ukrainian army. We can hear sounds of bombardment from every direction. If Russian forces attack the camp or drops bombs, all 120 detainees, including the five of us, will die. Is there anyone out there who can save us? Can’t the government save us? Can’t they free us? We don’t want to die in vain.”

 

Regarding communication with the Bangladesh Embassy in Poland, Malik said, “We could establish communication with the embassy. We feel that they are proceeding very slowly. We are not saying they are not working. But if the embassy or the government of Bangladesh does not take rapid action, we will not survive.”

 

Approximately, 60 people, including two Bangladeshi nationals, are stranded in another detention camp in Mykolaiv. One detainee is Jahirul Islam. The other detainee requested not to be named. Yesterday (March 7, 2022), he informed The Daily Star, “Our situation has not changed much. As the power connection has been severed, the heating system is not working and we are suffering under extreme temperatures. Add water and food crisis to that. Russian army is now controlling the city.”

 

He, too, complained that the civilian detainees are also being used as “human shields” by the Ukrainian army.

 

Speaking on the rescue efforts taken by the Bangladesh embassy in Poland, he informed, “We talked with the embassy. We sent them copies of our passports and other documents. They informed us that we will be issued a travel pass, which we will be able to use to leave Ukraine. We have also been told that, simultaneously, the embassy is also keeping in touch with the camp’s operators. However, we feel that if we are not freed soon, a bomb may find us.”

 

A reliable source at Bangladesh embassy in Poland confirmed to The Daily Star that efforts were being made to rescue all those detained in the detention camp.

 

Travel passes have been issued for all of them and those has been sent to the Consulate of Ukraine, the sources said.

 

Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Poland Sultana Laila Hossain has spoken to the Ukrainian authorities more than once in the last two days.

 

Translated from Bangla by Mohammed Ishtiaque Khan.