Libyan prime minister released after abduction


By Giovanni Giacalone

It all began in the early hours of Thursday when a group of armed men entered the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli and apprehended Zeidan and two of his bodyguards. The Prime Minister was taken to the anti-crime department of the Interior Ministry and released around noon. He is now inside the government headquarters and he should soon release a statement.

The reasons behind the assault are still unknown. The armed militia that took action against the PM is known as "Libyan Revolutionaries Operation Room" (LROR); the group claimed to have acted  on the orders of the prosecutor general and in accordance with a section of Libya's criminal code. However the Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said that the prosecutor general had issued no arrest warrant.

Lama news agency reported the potential involvement of another militia known as "the Brigade for the Fight against Crime", which is affiliated with the Ministry of Interior.

The agency also reported that the office of the general prosecutor claimed that the arrest was illegal and that those who are responsible for such action will be punished.

The LROR was one of the many armed groups that were angered by the US commando raid in Tripoli that occurred on Saturday and brought to the arrest of Anas Sheikh al-Liby, an al-Qaeda senior member wanted by the US government in relation to the Kenya and Tanzania terror attacks in 1998. The Libyan government was accused of supporting the Americans in the operation. Although LROR claimed that Zeidan's capture was no related to al-Liby's arrest.

The circumstances of Zeidan's release are also still unknown; it is unclear if the armed men voluntarily released the PM or it was rather the consequence of an action carried out by security forces.

The Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room is one of many "semi-official" militias which control much of Libya in the absence of a regular police and army and they are also one of the main causes of the instability that the country is going through.

One of the objectives of Ali Zeidan's government is to restore security in Libya, which implies disarming the various militias and rebel groups, but without a proper and fully recognized police force it is quite a difficult task as many of these armed groups are well equipped and trained; although it is an essential step in order to put an end to the chaos that pervades in the country.

Giovanne Giacalone


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