News / Middle East

Aides: Libyan PM Abduction Was Political Plot

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan, left, gives a press conference after being rescued from gunmen who snatched him from his hotel early Oct. 10, 2013. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan, left, gives a press conference after being rescued from gunmen who snatched him from his hotel early Oct. 10, 2013.
x
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan, left, gives a press conference after being rescued from gunmen who snatched him from his hotel early Oct. 10, 2013.
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan, left, gives a press conference after being rescued from gunmen who snatched him from his hotel early Oct. 10, 2013.
A day after Libya’s prime minister was abducted and held for a few hours by militants, his aides said the episode is part of a broad plan on the part of his political opponents to destabilize the government.

The plot to abduct Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zidan on Thursday was hatched two days before U.S. Special Forces seized an al-Qaida suspect in Tripoli, according to government sources close to Zidan. The American action was the main reason the conspirators and militiamen gave for kidnapping the Libyan leader.

But the abduction conspiracy not only predates the American capture of Abu Anas al-Libi, it also was part of a wider plan involving some senior Libyan lawmakers, Libyan sources said.  The sources said the plot possibly reaches as high as the leadership in the country’s parliament.

“This has its origins not only with the militias but with politicians in the GNC,” said an aide to Zidan, who declined to be identified for this article.

Zidan, a former human rights lawyer, served briefly in the diplomatic corps of the former Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi before going into exile in Europe in 1980. He was freed from the Tripoli house where he was being held after only six hours of captivity by rival militiamen from two Tripoli districts. 

“There was a brief exchange of gunfire,” Haitham al-Tajouri, one of the rescuers, told al-Hurra television.

Zidan’s abductors were militiamen from different towns including Misrata and Zawiya, who were serving in semi-official law enforcement units, say witnesses as well as some of the kidnappers themselves.

The kidnappers brandished the warrant when they stormed Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia hotel Thursday where Zidan keeps an office and a bedroom suite.

More than 400 gunmen were involved in the kidnapping estimates Khalil Yahia, the head of the government security team at the Corinthia, which also houses several foreign missions. Yahia, a bearded 28-year-old, says he was taken aback when the gunmen arrived in an assortment of pick-ups and cars and surrounded the landmark hotel looming over the capital’s old souk.

They blocked the entrances before half of the contingent peeled off and entered the foyer demanding to know Zidan’s whereabouts and shouting they had an arrest warrant.

“I was depressed,” Yahia said. “I was thinking, ‘Here we are trying to build a state and they are now going to arrest the prime minister.’ ”

The gunmen then started to search the hotel, startling guests before someone told them where Zidan was sleeping.

After a brief scuffle with the two guards outside Zidan’s suite, the bewildered Prime Minister was led downstairs and marched outside the hotel to shouts of “Allah Akbar.” The kidnappers put out statements saying they had “arrested” Zidan on accusations of harming state security and corruption. The public prosecutor’s office said it had issued no warrant.

FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaeda leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa.FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaeda leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa.
x
FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaeda leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa.
FILE - This file image from the FBI website shows Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaeda leader connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa.
​There is widespread speculation in Tripoli that the kidnapping was linked to the anger many of the revolutionary militias and Islamic militants expressed over last week’s seizing by a U.S. Delta Force team of al-Qaida  suspect Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, whose nom de guerre is Abu Anas al-Libi.

He was captured as he returned to his Tripoli home after dawn prayers. He is alleged to have been one of the organizers of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 200.

Although government ministers denied having given approval for the U.S. raid and demanded al-Libi’s return, Zidan’s criticism was restrained, saying American-Libyan relations would not be harmed by the military action.

The brazen abduction of Zidan underscored the lawlessness of Libya and heightened public and international alarm over the power of the militias and the unruliness of the country.

The Swedish consulate in Benghazi was the target of a car bomb attack on Friday.  No injuries were reported.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid