Libyan Prime Minister Seized by Armed Men

News article, posted 10.30.2013, from Libya, in:
Libyan prime minister seized by armed men (Photo: Al Jazeera)

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped from a hotel in Tripoli by an armed group and taken to an unknown location, the government has said.

A former Libyan rebel group said on Thursday it had "arrested" Zeidan after the government allowed the United States to capture a top al-Qaeda suspect, Abu Anas al-Liby, in Tripoli last weekend.

The Libyan Revolutionary Operations Chamber said on Facebook it had seized the prime minister "on the prosecutor's orders," adding that Zeidan "was arrested under the Libyan penal code... on the instructions of the public prosecutor".

The group said it was on high alert "in light of the deterioration in security and damage to the country's sovereignty by foreign intelligence bodies".

"His arrest comes after the statement by John Kerry about the capture of Abu Anas al-Liby, after he said the Libyan government was aware of the operation," a spokesman for the group said, referring to the US Secretary of State.

Zeidan is in "good health and will be treated well as a Libyan citizen," and is being held at the Interior Ministry's anti-crime department, an official with the department told the state news agency.

Hours before the abduction, Zeidan met al-Liby's family to express his concern about the US raid, AP press agency reported.

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said the cabinet gathered in an emergency session to discuss the crisis.

"The rebels said they have taken this step by the virtue of a memo by the general prosecution office, but the justice ministry denies such memo was issued," Abdal Wahid said.

The government in a statement said it believed the Revolutionary Operations Chamber was involved but also accused another group, the Brigade for the Fight against Crime, of being behind the kidnapping.

The cabinet and the General National Congress, Libya's top political authority, were dealing with the situation, the statement said, while calling on citizens to remain calm.

Amel Jerary, the director of communications to the prime minister, told Al Jazeera that the raid happened in the middle of the night. "I'm afraid at this point, nothing is very clear. How it is done, I really don't have any information on this. I'm sure that the people who have done this were very well prepared," Jerary said.

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