Just hours after militia gunmen kidnapped Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan from a luxury hotel under the cover of darkness, he was released unharmed. They also seized and beat up two of his guards but later released them.
A government official, Nouri Abusahmain, who is the president of the Libyan General National Congress said:
“He’s in good shape, the prime minister, and going to his office. He’s fine, he’s in good spirits.”
The gunmen took Zeidan before dawn from the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli and put him into a convoy of waiting cars, according to a hotel clerk who was not authorized to speak to the media.
The five-star hotel that Zeidan calls home is popular among government officials, some of whom reside there, including the justice minister.
The witness reported no gunfire during the incident, and said the gunmen were respectful and “caused no trouble.”
Zeidan’s office initially called the abduction a “rumor” on its official Facebook page, but later posted an update that it was “coerced by kidnappers to deny the report.”
Ex-rebel group known as the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries said they had taken the prime minister because of his role the the US capture of an alleged al Qaeda leader, Abu Anas al Libi. They said:
“His arrest comes after the statement by (US Secretary of State) John Kerry about the capture of Abu Anas al Libi, after he said the Libyan government was aware of the operation.”
Al Libi was seized by U.S Special Forces operatives on Saturday, sparking anger among militant groups…who believed the Libyan government was in support of Al Libi’s arrest.
Al Libi is suspected of being involved in the twin bombings of US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998.
Militias have run rampant in Libya, since the revolution that ousted Moammar Gadhafi two years ago.