Libyan official abducted amid unrest in Tripoli

The New York Times reports: The deputy chief of Libya’s intelligence service was abducted from the parking lot of the airport in Tripoli on Sunday afternoon as a standoff between militias and a general strike against militia rule virtually shut down the city.

The deputy intelligence chief, Mustafa Noah, was abducted just two days after a militia from the coastal city of Misurata opened fire on a nonviolent demonstration against the domination of Tripoli, Libya’s capital, by such armed brigades. The confrontation degenerated into a shootout that killed at least 43 and wounded hundreds, according to Libyan health officials.

Many across Libya called the weekend a watershed for the vexed revolution that ousted Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi two years ago. It brought the first large demonstration by residents of the capital against the freewheeling militias that arrived to help oust Colonel Qaddafi and never left the city, and it posed a major test of the weak transitional government’s ability to control the militias. Around nightfall on Sunday, a local council in Misurata said in a statement that all its fighters had withdrawn from the capital.

Today the Associated Press reports that Noah has been released.

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