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Hague welcomes Libyan PM's release

The release of the Libyan prime minister after he was seized by armed men has been welcomed by Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Ali Zeidan was taken before dawn from his hotel in the capital Tripoli but released later.

Reports suggested the abduction was in retaliation for a US special forces raid over the weekend in which a Libyan al Qaida suspect was seized from the streets of Tripoli.

Mr Hague initially condemned the abduction and called for Mr Zeidan's immediate release.

After learning that Mr Zeidan had been freed, he said on Twitter: "I welcome release of Libyan PM. We will work with Libyan gov on ensuring the transition remains on track and insecurity is addressed."

There was confusion over what happened to Mr Zeidan, reflecting the chaotic conditions in the country since the overthrow of former dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A statement on the Libyan government's official website said the prime minister was taken at dawn to an "unknown location for unknown reasons" by a group believed to be "revolutionaries" from a security agency known as the Anti-Crime Committee.

An official with the Anti-Crime Committee told the Associated Press news agency that Mr Zeidan had been arrested on accusations of harming state security and corruption, but the public prosecutor's office said it had issued no warrant for his arrest.

A government official said the gunmen broke into the luxury hotel where Mr Zeidan lives and abducted him and two of his guards.

Following the abduction, the Libyan cabinet met in emergency session, chaired by Mr Zeidan's deputy, Abdel-Salam al-Qadi.

Britain, together with France, was at the forefront of the international coalition which backed the rebels who ousted Gaddafi, launching airstrikes against regime forces.


From Belfast Telegraph