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Libya security chief proud of seizing PM

The head of Libya's anti-crime unit, Abdelmonem Essid, boasts of being behind Ali Zeidan's 'arrest'.

Last Modified: 21 Oct 2013 00:55
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Zeidan was kidnapped by gunmen for several hours last week before being released [EPA]

A Libyan security chief accused of involvement in Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's abduction 10 days ago said he was behind the "arrest" and that he was "proud" of it.

Gunmen seized Zeidan from a Tripoli hotel on October 10, before he was released and appeared on television hours later to accuse a political party of being behind the attempted "coup".

"It was me who arrested Ali Zeidan, and I'm proud of it," Abdelmonem Essid, the head of an interior ministry anti-crime unit, told journalists in Tripoli on Sunday.

Essid's remarks came during a news conference that two Islamist members of the General National Congress, Mohammed al-Kilani and Mustafa al-Triki, called to deny their involvement in the brief abduction.

It was me who arrested Ali Zeidan, and I'm proud of it.

Abdelmonem Essid, Libyan security chief,

Zeidan said the three men were among the leaders of the "kidnapping", and the government indicated it was a matter for the judiciary.

The two Islamist politicians, for their part, said Zeidan had singled them out only to "cover up his failure" in running the country.

Kilani and Triki acknowledged trying to bring down Zeidan's government, but added they were unable to garner enough support in the Congress.

On Sunday Zeidan reiterated that his captors had tried to force him to resign.

Zeidan 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 $4.89 billion 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.

Zeidan told a separate news conference that Congress members had "failed to oust the government by democratic means and tried to use force to achieve their goal".

His abduction illustrates the chaotic state of Libya's security services, with various units run by former rebels from the country's 2011 uprising, which led to the death of Muammar Gaddafi on October 20, 2011.

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