Kidnapped top aide of Libya PM 'freed'

2013-04-09 12:37


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Tripoli - A top aide to Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan kidnapped at the end of last month in a Tripoli suburb has been released, a source close to the cabinet said on Tuesday.

"Mohammed Ali al-Gattus, an adviser and head of the premier's office, was freed on Monday and is now with his close ones and in good health," the source told AFP, asking for anonymity.

"We don't at present have information on the kidnappers or their motives."

Gattus was abducted on March 31 as he drove to the capital from Libya's third city Misrata. His car was found in Tajura, an eastern suburb of Tripoli, after he was apparently stopped at a fake checkpoint.

Just hours before the abduction, the prime minister had said his cabinet was working under "very difficult conditions", and that "death threats" had been made against members of the government.

Faced with rising instability, Libya's new authorities have promised to deal firmly with the militias that are a legacy of the armed uprising that overthrew veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.

Tensions have been rising between the government and the militia for several weeks, after the launch of a campaign aimed at dislodging the armed groups from the capital.

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