TRIPOLI (AFP) – Gunmen posing as security personnel kidnapped a top aide of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, just hours after the premier revealed members of his government had received death threats, a cabinet source told AFP on Monday.
“The adviser and head of the prime minister’s office was kidnapped on Sunday evening as he was driving to Tripoli” from Libya’s third city Misrata, the source told AFP on condition of anonomity.
“His car was found in Tajura (an eastern suburb of Tripoli),” the source said adding that Mohammed Ali al-Gattus “was without doubt taken at a fake checkpoint.”
Just hours before the abduction, the prime minister had said that 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 Moamer Kadhafi in October 2011.
Tensions have been rising between the government and the militias for several weeks, after the launch of a campaign aimed at dislodging the armed groups from Tripoli, where they occupy more than 500 public and private properties.
One armed group controlling a prison in Tripoli stormed the justice ministry in the capital on Sunday.
Justice Minister Salah Margani said that the attack took place after the militia was ordered to hand control of the jail over to the authorities.