Libya's PM accuses 2 rivals in abduction

2013-10-21 07:32
Ali Zeidan (File, AP

Ali Zeidan (File, AP

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Tripoli - Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's government on Sunday accused two lawmakers from an Islamist party of involvement in orchestrating his brief kidnapping by one of the militias whose rivalries threaten to spiral into war.

Two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's fragile government is crippled by infighting, unable to disarm former militia fighters in a country still awash with weapons from the Gaddafi era.

Former rebels briefly seized Zeidan last week from a Tripoli hotel during a dawn raid, only to release him hours later, in an abduction he blamed later on his enemies in the General National Congress assembly.

"There are forces who want to obstruct the construction of the state," Zeidan told reporters on Sunday.

His government accused two members of the GNC, Mustafa al-Tariki and Muhammed al-Kilani, for involvement in the incident.

Both lawmakers rejected the accusations.

But the brief abduction and those charges will increase tensions in Libya, where the central government and the GNC are already deadlocked by political divisions and rival groups of former rebel fighters are still imposing their will at gunpoint.

Zeidan, a liberal, has been facing a possible vote of no confidence from members of the GNC, especially those from the Islamist Justice and Construction Party, and independents who say he has mishandled a wave of protests that have shut down oil ports and slashed exports in the OPEC producer.

The premier said Libya had lost 6 billion Libyan dinars ($4.89bn) from oil protests that began months ago and at one point cut crude production to less than half of the normal 1.4 million barrels per day.

Militias who took over the ports are among several semi-official armed groups who are testing the government's authority, and threatening to push Libya deeper into chaos.

The gunmen who snatched Zeidan - former anti-Gaddafi rebels now on the government payroll - said they acted because of reports the government had been informed in advance of a U.S. raid to capture an al-Qaeda suspect in Libya.

Read more on:    ali zeidan  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

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