A few weeks ago the Prime Minister of the liberated Libya, Ali Zeidan was sitting in 10 Downing St talking to David Cameron. A few hours ago he was kidnapped, in what appears to be retaliation for the seizure of an al-Qaeda leader by the Americans in Tripoli a few days ago. The Libyan government has said Zeidan was ‘taken at dawn this morning by gunmen to an unknown place for unknown reasons.’
He had been living staying in the Corinthia Hotel, sister to the luxurious Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall. One guard at the hotel described it as an ‘arrest’ according to Reuters. Libya’s justice minister says it was a kidnap, and that there are CCTV stills of Ali Zeidan being hauled out of the building by heavies (right). Word is that the heavies were loosely connected to the government.
So whodunnit? The Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries, a group which in theory reports to the defence and interior ministries, has posted on its Facebook page that it nabbed him “on the prosecutor’s orders”. It says he was detained for “crimes and offences prejudicial to the state” and its security
A separate statement from the Libyan Revolutionary Operations Chamber says Ali Zeidan’s:
‘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 reference to an al-Qaeda suspect captured by the Americans on Saturday. This was controversial even amongst government officials, who said Liby should have been tried in Tripoli – the manoeuvre made it easier for jihadis to argue that Zeidan is an American puppet. The FBI had put a $5 million bounty on Liby’s head and have been after him since the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
UPDATE: According to the New York Times, Zeidan has been freed just a few hours after he was captured. Few details are known, only that Zeidan was released by early afternoon, according to his spokeswoman.Tags: Ali Zeidan, kidnap, Libya