Libyan PM accuses 'political party' of kidnapping him
11 October 2013, 10:43
Paris - Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has accused a
"political party" of organising his brief abduction by gunmen on
Thursday, the latest example of the lawlessness prevailing since Muammar
The premier appeared in good health when he arrived at
government headquarters after his ordeal, waving to waiting well-wishers as he
climbed out of an armoured car.
"I hope this problem will be resolved with reason and
wisdom" and without any "escalation", Zeidan later said in
comments broadcast by state television as he left a cabinet meeting.
The pre-dawn seizure of Zeidan came five days after US
commandos embarrassed and angered the government by capturing senior al-Qaeda
suspect Abu Anas al-Liby on the streets of Tripoli, whisking him away to a
warship in the Mediterranean.
Witnesses said Zeidan was held at a police station south of
the capital, and that his captors released him after armed residents surrounded
the building and demanded he be let go.
An employee at the hotel - where Zeidan had taken up
residence for security reasons - told AFP a "large number of armed
men" had entered the building but that the staff did not know what was
A Libyan government statement said Zeidan had been taken
"to an unknown destination for unknown reasons by a group" of men
believed to be former rebels.
In comments made later to France24 television, Zeidan
accused a "political party" of organising the kidnapping him, without
naming the group.
"It's a political party which wants to overthrow the
government by any means," he said.
"In the coming days I will give more information on who
this political party is that organised my kidnapping," Zeidan added.
After being freed, Zeidan met with his ministers and members
of the General National Congress (GNC) - Libya's highest political authority.
The Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries, former rebels
who had roundly denounced Liby's abduction and blamed Zeidan's government for
it, said it had "arrested" the premier under orders from the public
But the cabinet said on its Facebook page that ministers
were "unaware of immunity being lifted or of any arrest warrant" for
Later, the Brigade for the Fight against Crime, a police
division made up of former rebels, claimed responsibility, the official LANA
The government said it suspected both groups of being behind
The two groups fall under the control of the defence and
interior ministries but largely operate autonomously.
A country awash with weapons
Two years after the revolution that toppled Gaddafi, Libya's
new authorities are still struggling to rein in tribal militias and groups of
Many Libyans blame political rivalries for the problems
plaguing a country awash with militias and weaponry left over from the 2011 Nato-backed
Zeidan, who was named premier a year ago, had condemned the US
capture of Liby and insisted that all Libyans should be tried on home soil.
The GNC has demanded that Washington "immediately"
hand Liby back, claiming his capture was a flagrant violation of Libyan
Liby - whose real name is Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie - was
on the FBI's most wanted list with a $5m bounty on
his head for his alleged role in the 1998 twin bombings of US embassies in East
US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced Zeidan's
abduction as "thuggery", while UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned it
"in the strongest possible terms".
Britain, which along with France had led the creation of a Nato
no-fly zone in Libya at the start of the uprising, had earlier condemned the
kidnapping and called for Zeidan's "immediate release".
Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed
Zeidan's release but said "the situation in the country is a matter of
concern" and that the international community has the "responsibility
to help Libyan authorities".
Public anger in Libya is growing as widespread violence -
including political assassinations - proliferates, particularly in the east of
A number of foreign missions have come under attack in
Tripoli and in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 revolution.
On 11 September 2012, four Americans, including the
ambassador, were killed when militants swarmed into the US consulate in