Tripoli (AFP) – Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has accused a “political party” of organizing his brief abduction by armed gunmen on Thursday, the latest example of the lawlessness prevailing since Moamer Kadhafi’s overthrow.
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 armored 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 U.S. commandos embarrassed and angered the government by capturing senior Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas al-Libi 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 happening.
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 organized 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 Libi’s abduction and blamed Zeidan’s government for it, said it had “arrested” the premier under orders from the public prosecutor.
But the cabinet said on its Facebook page that ministers were “unaware of immunity being lifted or of any arrest warrant” for him.