Libyan forces rescue abducted premier
LIBYAN Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was freed from captivity just hours after gunmen abducted him yesterday from the Tripoli hotel he was staying in, according to the state news agency.
The brazen abduction - apparently in retaliation for the United States special forces' raid over the weekend that ended with a Libyan Al-Qaeda suspect being seized in Tripoli - reflected the deep chaos and lawlessness gripping Libya.
Government spokesman Mohammed Kaabar told the Lana news agency that Mr Zeidan has been "set free" and was on his way to his office. The brief report gave no further information and details were sketchy, but it appeared Libyan forces had intervened and that the abductors did not free him voluntarily.
A militia commander affiliated with the Interior Ministry told a private Libyan television station that the Prime Minister was freed when members of a Tripoli-based militia stormed the house where he was held hostage.
Mr Haitham Al-Tajouri, commander of the so-called Reinforcement Force, told Al-Hurrah television that his men exchanged fire with the captors, but Mr Zeidan was not injured.
"He is now safe in a safe place," he said. His account could not be verified independently.
Mr Zeidan's abduction reflected the weakness of Libya's government, which is virtually held hostage by powerful militia, many of which are made up of Islamic militants.
Militants were angered by the US capture of suspected militant Abu Anas Al-Libi, and accused the Libya government of colluding with or allowing the US to raid the capital.
In a sign of Libya's chaos, Mr Zeidan's seizure was depicted by various sources as either an "arrest" or an abduction - reflecting how interwoven the militia are in Libya's fragmented power structure.
With the country's police and army in disarray, many are enlisted to serve in state security agencies. The militia are rooted in brigades that fought in the uprising that toppled autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and are often referred to as "revolutionaries".