Reuters reports: Former rebel gunmen freed Libya’s prime minister on Thursday after holding him for several hours in reprisal for the capture by U.S. forces at the weekend of a Libyan al Qaeda suspect in Tripoli, officials said.
“The prime minister has been released,” a government official confirmed. A security source also said Zeidan was free.
A Reuters journalist outside the Interior Ministry building where the prime minister was held by militiamen linked to the government said people demanding his release had opened fire at one point. Zeidan was seized at dawn from a luxury hotel where he lives under tight security and was held for about six hours.
Two years after a revolution ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, Libya is in turmoil, with its vulnerable central government and nascent armed forces struggling to contain rival tribal militias and Islamist militants who control parts of the country.
The militia, which had been hired by the government to provide security in Tripoli, said it “arrested” Zeidan after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Libya had a role in the weekend capture in the city of Abu Anas al-Liby.
“His arrest comes after … (Kerry) said the Libyan government was aware of the operation,” a spokesman for the group, known as the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries, told Reuters.
Geoff Porter of North Africa Risk consulting said: “His kidnapping clearly indicates that his government is not cohesive, and that not only is his government not in control of the country, but that he is not in control of his government.” [Continue reading…]