Witnesses: Militiamen seize Libyan ex-premier in Tripoli
BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — A former prime minister who once led Libya’s first democratically elected government has been abducted by militiamen for a second time in the capital, Tripoli, witnesses said Monday.
They say Ali Zidan was led by an armed group out of a hotel where he was meeting with security officials late Sunday. The militiamen were from the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade, which is allied with the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli. A competing government and parliament are headquartered in eastern Libya.
There was no official statement on Zidan’s whereabouts.
Libya has been rife with chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Much of the vast North African country is ruled by a patchwork of local militias, and the two governments are locked in a power struggle.
Zidan was abducted once before by Tripoli’s unruly militias, in October 2013, but was released within days. He fled the country before competing militias seized Tripoli in 2014, but later returned.
A former diplomat and human rights lawyer, Zidan joined the opposition in exile in the 1990s. He was appointed as a prime minister by Libya’s first elected parliament, the General National Congress, in 2012.