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Libyan PM describes his kidnapping as attempted coup

Published: Updated:

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan called Thursday’s incident when gunmen kidnapped and released him in the same day as an attempted coup against his government in a national television address on Friday.

“This is a coup against national legitimacy,” Zeidan said, after recounting how armed gunmen with a convoy of “100 vehicles” arrived at midnight at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli where he was staying.

He said the gunmen “must have worked under a command of leaders who want to impede the process to build a civil state.”

Zeidan cautioned that “there are elements that want to topple the government,” and turn Libya into other war-torn countries such as Afghanistan or Somalia.

The group which whisked Zeidan from the hotel was the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries, which has criticized him in recent weeks.

Zeidan said the gunmen, “who terrorized people in the hotel” and “looted all his belongings,” including important government papers, falsified statements by Libya’s Attorney General, saying he was asked to resign.

“They lied about the Attorney General ordering me to resign,” he said, adding that “what was done was a barbaric act that doesn’t suit a civilized country.”

Meanwhile, a man by the name of Haytham Abdulrahman was kidnapped after rejecting to take part of the process to abduct Zeidan, the premier said, warning that the abduction’s consequences “won’t pass easily.”

Zeidan said the government is going to hunt down his kidnappers and bring them to justice.

“The violence in Benghazi is a clear sign that these elements do not want a civil state, and the bombings don’t need an explanation either,” he added.

On Friday, a car bomb exploded outside the Swedish consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, damaging the front of the building and nearby houses. No immediate casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, the General National Congress (GNC) – Libya’s highest political authority, is caught in a stalemate between secular leading party and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Zeidan has been facing a possible vote of no confidence.

The former rebels, now on the government payroll, who kidnapped Zeidan expressed anger at reports that the government had been informed in advance of a U.S. raid to capture an al-Qaeda suspect there.

The prime minister emphasized that Abu Anas al-Libi will be tried in Libya.