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Libya PM calls abduction failed ‘coup’ attempt

In a televised news conference on Friday,Zeidan accused political opponents of trying to “overthrow the government.”

Written by New York Times | Tunis | Published: October 13, 2013 2:50:32 am

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan of Libya said on Friday that his kidnapping the day before by militia members was no different than a “coup” and had been orchestrated by opponents in the legislature who want to force him from office.

Scores of armed gunmen seized Zeidan from his hotel room in Tripoli early Thursday and released him nine hours later only under pressure from Defense Ministry officials and rival militias.

In a televised news conference on Friday,Zeidan accused political opponents of trying to “overthrow the government.” News agencies quoted him saying,“This was not an attempted kidnapping only of a prime minister,but of the government.”

On Friday he appeared ready to confront those behind his abduction. He accused members of Parliament of plotting to remove him and using the militias for their political goals. He said the armed men who abducted him told him they belonged to the Revolutionaries Operations Room,a security agency that was recently created out of several militias by Nouri Abusahmain,the head of the Parliament. But the Prime Minister thanked Abusahmain for his help in ensuring his freedom,AP reported.

Nevertheless Zeidan said the militias would not have acted against him without orders. “I do not think that more than 100 armed vehicles can seal off the hotel district to people without a command being given,” he said. “This bears the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’état against legitimacy.”

CARLOTTA GALL & MARLISE SIMONS

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