Libyan PM released after being kidnapped from the capital at gunpoint
Libyan prime minister Ali Zidan has been freed just hours after his abduction on 10th October by an armed militia from the five-star, high-security Corinthia hotel compound in Tripoli, Libya’s capital.
Dubai-based Al Arabiya television broadcast was able to televise images of the striking abduction early on Thursday morning as Zidan is seen being hauled away by a group of armed men. Since that time officials have scrambled to regain their figurehead, negotiating with the group calling themselves the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries (ORLR) who claimed they had a warrant for Zidan’s arrest, which the Libyan government has since denied. The militia got access to the base in Tripoli by stating they were collaborating with the internal Libyan ministry, a practise not uncommon in Libya, as revolutionary groups provide security to the state and control certain areas independently.
A spokesperson told CNN: “[The] Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries, the militia that took him, said it merely detained him over financial and administrative corruption charges.” The abduction of the highest ranking official in Libya was an apparent retaliation to his sovereign support of the US weekend seizure of al-Qaeda veteran operative Anas as-Liby. Mr Liby is now in detention aboard a US military ship after being indicted by a federal court for his part in the al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. A spokesperson for ORLR said: “His arrest comes after the statement by [US Secretary of State] John Kerry about the capture of Abu Anas el-Liby, after he said the Libyan government was aware of the operation.” Mr Anas al-Liby’s wife described the situation, saying: “It happened very quickly. They broke his car window, and it was clear that they had drugged him…They shoved him into the car, and we could hear someone say, ‘Get in’.”
Many Libyans have seen this as a breach of Libyan sovereignty as they try to rebuild their government after Gadaffi and have pressured the interim government to explain its involvement.