Libyan PM calls abduction coup attempt

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Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan says his hours-long kidnapping on Thursday from a hotel in the capital Tripoli was a coup attempt by his political opponents.

“They wanted to overthrow the government,” Zeidan said in a televised address on Friday. “This was not an attempted kidnapping only of a prime minister, but of the government.”

He blamed members within the country’s national assembly, officially known as the General National Council, for plotting the abduction.

“I do not think that more than 100 armed vehicles can seal off the hotel district (in Tripoli) to people without a command being given,” the Libyan prime minister said.

“This bears the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’etat against legitimacy,” said Zeidan, who was picked from the Corinthia Hotel. He had been living in the hotel for months because of security concerns.

“When they failed to bring down the government through democratic means, they resorted to the use of force,” he added.

Armed men, who abducted Zeidan, said they were angry at reports the government had given permission to US forces to conduct an arrest operation against an al-Qaeda suspect, an act which they said violated the country™s sovereignty.

Since the overthrow of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the Libyan government has been struggling to tackle the presence of armed militants, who fought against forces loyal to Gaddafi.

Libyans rose up against Gaddafi™s four-decade rule in February 2011 and deposed him in August 2011. He was slain on October 20 of the same year.

Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 uprising. It is largely governed by militias in the absence of unified Libyan security and military forces.

The former rebels refuse to lay down their arms, despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.

Over the past few months, Tripoli and its suburbs have been hit by violent clashes between rival militias who participated in the 2011 uprising.

Meanwhile, a blockade by armed groups on key Libyan oilfields and terminals has paralyzed the country™s oil industry, choking output to a tenth of normal levels.

Guards working with the oil industry have been on strike since July and imposed a blockade on oilfields and terminals. Many armed militants and defected soldiers have also joined the guards in their campaign against the government.

The Libyan government is importing fuel to keep power stations running and queues are growing at petrol stations across the country.

GJH/MHB

Copyright: Press TV