Libyan prime minister freed after kidnapping

10 October 2013

Ali Zeidan was abducted by armed men in Tripoli

Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been freed after being kidnapped earlier in the day on 10 October.

Zeidan had been seized from his residence in the Corinthia Hotel early in the morning by armed men, reportedly from the Libyan Revolutionary Operations Chamber, which has ties to the Libyan government. The group denies its involvement.

The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that Zeidan has been freed and is being kept in a safe house for his protection, according to Hashim Bishar, head of the Tripoli supreme security committee.

Zeidan has even tweeted following his release, thanking God and saying he would hold a press conference to explain the circumstances of his capture.

Despite the short duration of the kidnapping, analysts note the security situation will remain tense, as it highlights the government’s inability to impose the rule of law across the country. A number of Libya’s key oil export facilities are already out of action due to protests and blockades by militia groups.

“The kidnapping or arrest of Zeidan makes the seizure of strategic assets in Libya by militias likely,” says Firas Abi Ali, head of Middle East and North Africa (Mena) analysis at the London-based IHS Country Risk.

“Tripoli International airport, government buildings in the capital and possibly hotels where government officials reside are at most risk,” he says. “A shutdown of energy production by the Zintan militias, who provide guards to oil fields in the south, is also likely.”

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