KATHMANDU, June 10: Four Nepali youths abducted about a week ago by Jawiya Osama, an armed rebel group said to be operating in troubled Libya, are struggling for their lives as the group has been torturing them demanding a huge ransom for their release, according to relatives. The youths were reportedly on their way to Italy.
As the ship which was ferrying them to Italy was stuck at a Libyan port for a few days due to 'wrong mapping', some 38 migrant workers including four Nepali youths had requested a Singaporean ship to ferry them to Italy. But soon after they had boarded the ship, all 38 were held hostage by the rebel group and it has been demanding thousands of dollars in ransom for their release, according to Sujan Adhikari, a brother of captive Purna Prakash Adhikari.
“They have already removed the fingernails from the hands of some of my compatriots. They are now threatening to skin us alive if we failed to pay a ransom,” Sujan Adhikari quoting the abducted youths said. “We are in a great ordeal, suspended between life and death.”
Among the 38 migrant workers, 12 are said to be Bangladeshi, four Nepali and the remaining Nigerians. It is said that the abductors freed the 22 Nigerians saying that the latter cannot afford to pay ransoms.
“They have already removed the fingernails from the hands of some of my compatriots. They are now threatening to skin us alive if we failed to pay a ransom,” Adhikari quoting the abducted youths told Republica on Sunday. “We are in a great ordeal, suspended between life and death.”
The Nepalis have informed their families that the abductors can take any action if they are not rescued immediately.
The abducted Nepalis have been identified as Purna Prakash Adhikari, Raj Kumar Gurung, Dinesh Khatri and Netra Bhattarai, according to the details provided by the families. Adhikari, Gurung and Basnet are residents of Lamjung district while Bhattarai is said to be from Chitwan.
According to the information provided by the abducted youths, the family of a Nepali worker in Libya had promised them lucrative jobs in Libyan companies and hospitals. Since the government of Nepal has banned Nepalis from visiting Libya for employment, the youths left Kathmandu for Dubai and to Libya from there.
They had paid a Pakistani agent between Rs 300,000 and Rs 600,000 to secure Libyan visas. But upon landing in Libya, the promise of employment turned out to be false and they languished there for three months.
Meanwhile, the youths came in contact with some Bangladeshi migrant workers who promised them passage to Italy through some Bangladeshi agents.
Convinced by the promise, the youths paid between US$ 3,000 and US$ 6,000 each to the Bangladeshi agents. They were to travel to Italy by ship. But their ship got stuck on the way for several days. Then a Singaporean ship rescued them from a Libya port and soon afterward the ship was captured by the armed Libyan group.
The family members of the abducted youths have requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Organization for Migration and Human Trafficking Bureau of Nepal Police to take immediate steps to rescue them safely.
Deputy spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Suresh Adhikari told Republica on Sunday that the ministry is closely working with the Nepali Embassy in Egypt, which is concurrently accredited to Libya, to rescue the youths. “Our embassy in Egypt has requested the UN office in Libya and the International Office of Migration for the necessary help to rescue the Nepalis. Since there is no fully functioning government in Libya, it may take some time to reach to the victims,” said Adhikari.