Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan (left) speaks at a press conference shortly after his release.
TRIPOLI: Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was seized and held for several hours yesterday by former rebel militiamen angry at the weekend capture by US special forces of a Libyan Al Qaeda suspect in Tripoli.
“Libyans need wisdom... not escalation... to deal with this situation,” he told his cabinet in remarks broadcast on TV after his six-hour ordeal in the capital.
Gunmen associated with the fragmented Libyan security apparatus hauled him at dawn from the luxury hotel where he lives under heavy guard. Sources said the group relented in the face of pressure from officials and freed him.
Zeidan thanked some militia who helped negotiate his freedom and urged them to join the military forces.
He had distanced his government from US assertions it had cooperated in Saturday’s capture of Abu Anas Al Libi, wanted for the Al Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in Kenya in 1998. But the group which seized Zeidan appeared to hold him responsible for helping US operation.
Qatar, meanwhile, condemned the incident and a Foreign Ministry source called on the Libyan people to place their country’s interests above all else and support government efforts to achieve the goals of the revolution.
The source said the Libyan people had sacrificed a lot during the revolution to gain their freedom, justice and unity and urged all involved to exercise restraint and have a meaningful dialogue regarding their differences, to establish peace and stability.