Hours after being kidnapped and released, Libya’s Prime Minister said on Thursday that he had no intention of resigning.
Ali Zeidan was released six hours after he and two of his guards were snatched from the hotel in Tripoli in which he resides.
“I am fine, thank God. If the aim of the kidnapping operation was for me to present my resignation, then I won't resign. We are taking small steps, but in the right direction,” Zeidan wrote on his Twitter account shortly after being released.
He later appeared in cabinet meeting, and said, “We hope this matter will be treated with wisdom and rationality, far from tension There are many things that need dealing with.”
Zeidan reportedly appealed for calm in a later television broadcast, saying, “I hope this problem will be resolved with reason and wisdom' and without any 'escalation.”
He was kidnapped by an armed gang associated with Islamist groups that have attacked American embassies in Africa.
The group, the Libyan Revolutionary Operations Chamber, said that the kidnapping, which it termed an “arrest,” came in response to the detaining of top Al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Anas al-Liby in Tripoli last weekend.
Liby was on the FBI's most wanted list, with a $5 million prize on his head over his role in the bombings of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya in 1998, as well as other attacks. The U.S. had been actively searching for him for 15 years.
Al-Liby is currently held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea where he is being questioned by an elite U.S. interrogation team.
In a statement, the group said it had seized Zeidan because the Libyan government “was aware of the operation” carried out by the U.S., adding that it would keep the Prime Minister imprisoned until al-Liby was released.
Details of how Zeidan was released were not provided. Sources in Tripoli suggested that it appeared that government forces had been involved in the release, and that it wasn't voluntary.