Bangladeshi Diplomat Missing for 15 Months Now Home, Relatives Say

Prapti Rahman
190318_Maroof_Zaman_620.jpg Maroof Zaman is seen in this undated photo.
Courtesy Maroof Zaman's family

A retired diplomat who went missing in Bangladesh in December 2017 has returned home, his daughters said Monday, but they declined to give further information.

The case looked set to become the latest in a series of unsolved disappearances in the South Asian nation in which the missing person turns up but reveals little about what happened.

A police official in the Dhanmondi area of Dhaka confirmed Maroof Zaman’s return on Monday, although it was not clear whether the authorities actually saw him.

“Maroof returned. After getting confirmation of his return we sent police to his house, but his daughter Samiha Zaman informed police that he is not in a position to talk,” Abdul Latif told BenarNews.

“Samiha told police that he returned around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. He was confused to identify his own house. Later, the caretaker noticed him and helped him to get in,” Latif said.

“After 15 and a half months, or 467 days ... my father is back,” another daughter, Shabnam Zaman, posted on her Facebook page on Saturday.

“My sister and I are both profoundly grateful to those individuals who have supported us throughout this period. We would now like to request privacy so that we can process and heal. We have no further comments or details to share at this time.”

The former Bangladeshi ambassador to Qatar and Vietnam disappeared on Dec. 4, 2017, on his way to the airport where he was to meet a daughter who was returning from Europe.

Disappearance details

After leaving his house, Zaman called home twice and instructed his housekeeper to hand over his computer, phone, camera and other electronic devices to “a few people who will come to my home,” Samiha Zaman told BenarNews at the time.

The number displayed on the Caller ID did not belong to any mobile or landline operator in Bangladesh and was probably run through a device that changes the number, an official from a telecom operator told the Al Jazeera network in December 2017.

At around 8 p.m. on Dec. 4, three unarmed men who did not identify themselves came to the house to search it and take away the items, said his daughter, citing the account of her housekeepers.

Her father’s car was found parked in a street 4.8 km (three miles) from the airport.

Police were investigating his disappearance, Monirul Islam, the chief of the Bangladeshi police’s counter-terrorist branch, told a news briefing the next day.

Global rights watchdog Amnesty International accused Bangladesh security forces of targeting more than 80 people through enforced disappearances in 2017 in its annual report for that year.

“We do not believe in abducting anyone. Our law enforcers have been discharging their duties sincerely. The allegation of pursuing a policy of ‘forced disappearance’ is completely baseless,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BenarNews last year.

“In many instances, we have investigated the cases of ‘forced disappearance’ and detected that they willingly went into hiding to embarrass the government internationally,” he added.

Mubashar Hasan, a professor who went missing for six weeks in 2017, returned home after unidentified abductors left him blindfolded on a busy Dhaka highway.

In a brief news conference he said he had been kidnapped for money and held in a small windowless room. He mostly has lived outside of Bangladesh since then.


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