Zee Media Bureau
Tripoli: Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was freed on Thursday afternoon after hours of being held captive by a group of former reebels working for the government`s Interior Minitry, the country`s Foreign Minister said.
Mohammed Abdelaziz issued a staement saying the PM "has been freed but we have no details so far on the circumstances of his release".
Government Spokesman Mohammed Kaabar told the agency, LANA, that Zeidan has been "set free" and was on his way to his office on Thursday.
The PM was said to have been "arrested" by a group of former rebels - the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR), who took away Ali Zeidan from Corinthian hotel in Tripoli at gunpoint "on the prosecutor`s orders".
The group LROR works with the government`s defence and interior ministry and is answerable to the ministry.
The group claimed that the PM was "arrested under the Libyan penal code... on the instructions of the public prosecutor", for "crimes and offences prejudicial to the state".
But the Justice Miniter of Libya denied of any arrest warrant against PM being issued by the Attorney General.
A spokesman for the group lror hinted that Libyan PM`s `arrest` was a fallout of the US raid on al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi as the government was aware of it.
"His arrest comes after ... (Kerry) said the Libyan government was aware of the operation (capture of al-Liby)," LROR spokesman told a news agency.
The PM was held at anti-crime department, an official of the Interior Ministry had said.
Earlier a statement on the government`s website said, "The PM was taken away "by gunmen to an unknown place for unknown reasons".
The report of PM`s abduction came just 5 days after the US Delta Force conducted a pre-dawn operation in Tripoli and nabbed an al Qaeda leader named Abu Anas al-Liby.
Al-Liby`s capture evoked vehement indignation in Libya where a weak government is struggling to tackle the flourishing extremism in the country.
The raid was considered by most as an attack on Libya`s sovereignty and the most vocal critics of the US raid were the militiamen and Islamist extremists who also threatened revenge.
Also, al-Liby`s father and brother voiced their concerns to the government after which the country`s justice ministry released a statement calling the US operation as an "abduction".
In fact, the PM`s abduction came just a day after Libyan Islamists had threatened revenge against the capture of al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-liby by US forces.
Libyan Prime Minister`s kidnapping might also be attributed to his call for help from Western powers to stop the spread of militancy in his country after al-Liby`s capture.
Zeidan had said in a BBC interview that Libya was being used as a base to export weapons throughout the region and there must be “international co-operation to stop it”.
Liby, who is on FBI`s most wanted list and also indicted in 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, is now being interrogated aboard a US Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.
Even though Libya raised objection over the capture of al-Liby and asked the US to explain the raid, there were speculations that the US forces were helped by the local authorities in the capture as reports quoted al-Liby’s son saying that the captors had Libyan accents.
Almost two years after dictator Muhammad Gaddafi was dethroned and killed in 2011, the country has failed to rein in the armed militias and Islamist extremists who weild increasing influence on the government, an example of which was witnessed today when the PM was taken away from a Tripoli hotel.
Libya reportedly contains the largest stock of unsecure weapons as many missiles, tanks and arms that went missing after Gaddafi`s ouster yet remain unaccounted for.
Thus, the massive presence of weapons and a weak government make Libya a breeding ground for militant groups.