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Unidentified men kidnap Libyan Prime Minister in Tripoli

October 10, 2013, 9:17 UTC+3
Libyan government gathers for emergency meeting
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CAIRO, October 10 (Itar-Tass) - Prime Minister Ali Zeidan of Libya has been kidnapped by unidentified militant in Tripoli on Thursday, the Arabic-language TV channel Sky News - Arabia reported. The Libyan government has confirmed the abduction of the Prime Minister and gathered for an emergency meeting.

The meeting is held under the chairmanship of the Cabinet’s Deputy Head Sadiq Abdul Rahman.

Armed men reportedly forced their way into the capital's hotel, which houses the headquarters of the Head of Cabinet, and took him away at gunpoint to an unknown destination. Who precisely stands behind the kidnapping is unknown so far. None of Libyan militant groups has claimed responsibility for the incident.

According to some reports, the Prime Minister might have been arrested by local security forces upon accusations of crimes that threaten national security. The General Prosecutor's Office, which allegedly issued an arrest warrant, does not confirm this information. According to Sky News - Arabiya, the abduction of  Libyan Prime Minister may be linked to the arrest by U.S. military special forces of one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda Abu Anas al-Liby on Saturday, October 5.

How the Al-Qaeda leader was captured

One of the alleged leaders of Al-Qaeda Abu Anas al-Liby was abducted by American special forces Saturday in the streets of Tripoli. American authorities were searching him in connection with bombing attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 that claimed lives of more than 200 people.

The White House confirmed that U.S. intelligence operations recently conducted in Libya and Somalia have been personally sanctioned by Obama.

Libyan authorities announced that they had not been timely informed by the U.S. side about the operation, which was termed a kidnapping of a country’s citizen, and insisted on explanations. Meanwhile, local Islamists on Tuesday announced the "beginning of the hunt for U.S. citizens and U.S. agencies" in Libya.

Another high-profile kidnapping in Tripoli

Overnight September 24 in Tripoli was kidnapped the son of Libya's Defense Minister Abdullah al-Thani. Observers believe that Mohammed al-Thani could become a victim of one of the Libya-based terrorist organizations. Despite the efforts of local authorities, the situation in the country remains tense. Governmental agencies often become targets for militants. In early September, a powerful explosion seriously damaged the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Benghazi.

Trial of Gaddafi’s son

September 19, 2013, in Tripoli began the trial of the ousted regime functionaries, who are accused of war crimes.

Among the 38 defendants are one of the sons of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam and the former head of intelligence Abdullah al-Senussi. All of them are suspected of committing “crimes against the Libyan people” during the so-called revolution of February 17, 2011. There is a total of 11 charges. The charges of crimes against humanity were also brought against Gaddafi's son by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which sought his extradition for trial in The Hague. However, the Libyan authorities have refused to fulfill the request, insisting on the need to try him at home. Meanwhile, the ICC said that the trial of Saif al-Islam, held in Libya cannot be considered fair: lawyers fear that at home he will inevitably face death penalty.

Situation in Libya: security and oil production

New Libyan authorities are not able to control numerous armed groups of former revolutionaries who refuse to join the police and the army.

"If the international community does not help to put weapons and ammunition under control, if we do not get support in the formation of the army and the police," that insecurity will persist for many years, the Libyan Prime Minister said during the London conference on foreign direct investment in the economy of Libya.

At the end of August it became known that oil production in Libya has dropped five times to 250 thousand barrels per day. Then Prime Minister Ali Zeidan assured that the authorities wanted to peacefully stop the protests that block access to the industry, but threatened to apply “other measures”. September 17, Ali Zeidan said that to restore Libya's oil industry the country needs to solve its security problems. Zeidan stressed the need to solve such issues as political instability and terrorism. Authorities are unable to restore order in the country, the army and the police cannot effectively confront militant groups, the head of government noted. Before the war in 2011, which led to the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, the country mined 1.6 million barrels daily.

Before the 2011 war in Libya, which is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produced 1.6 million barrels daily. After the overthrow of Gaddafi the maximum was about 1.25 million barrels per day. Recently, the production dropped to about 230 thousand barrels of oil, according to Deputy Minister of Oil Omar Shakmak.

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