Kidnapped Libyan intelligence official freed by abductors

AFP, TRIPOLI and BENGHAZI, Libya

Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - Page 7

Libya’s deputy intelligence boss Mustafa Nuh was freed by his abductors yesterday, one day after they seized him near Tripoli airport, a source in the intelligence services said.

“Nuh was freed today,” the source said on condition of anonymity, without giving further details.

On Sunday, private television channel al-Naba had quoted a witness who escaped the abduction as describing the incident.

Former rebel commander Ala Abu Hafess told al-Naba he was in a car with Nuh when they were ambushed as they left the airport. Gunmen forced them out of their car and into another vehicle, Abu Hafess said, adding that he was able to flee by jumping out of the car.

“I ran. They opened fire at me but didn’t hit me,” he said.

MISRATA TENSIONS

The abduction of Nuh, who is originally from the western coastal city of Misrata, came amid high tensions between armed groups from his hometown and rival groups in Tripoli.

More than 40 people have been killed and hundreds wounded since Friday last week when residents of the capital rose up against the continued presence in the city of a Misrata militia.

The violence left 43 people dead and more than 450 wounded, the health ministry said.

Community leaders, officials and ex-rebel commanders from Misrata issued a statement late on Sunday urging militias from the city to leave Tripoli within 72 hours.

The statement suggested the clashes resulted from a plan to “undermine [Misrata’s] image and show it as if it were the only obstacle to the construction of the state.”

Dozens of soldiers and armored vehicles were deployed yesterday in Tripoli, a correspondent and witnesses said.

“A number of units of the national army are about to enter the city of Tripoli from several areas in order to secure it,” the government said in a statement.

ASSASSINATION BID

Meanwhile, the military governor of Benghazi yesterday escaped an assassination attempt that killed a member of his entourage and seriously wounded another, a security official said.

“The motorcade of Colonel Abdallah al-Saati, head of the joint security room and military governor of Benghazi, was attacked as he passed through the al-Hadeq area, leaving one dead and one seriously wounded from his entourage,” security forces spokesman Colonel Abdallah al-Zaidi said.

Benghazi’s joint security room is a body grouping all the different security bodies in the city.

“Explosives experts are combing the neighbourhood to determine how the convoy was attacked and the amount of explosives used,” Zaidi said.