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Libyan Muslim Brotherhood: PM Zeidan Must Go

The leader of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood political party says the country’s prime minister has failed and needs to be replaced.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/13/2013, 4:39 AM

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan
Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan
Reuters

The leader of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood political party said Saturday that the country’s prime minister, who was briefly abducted earlier this week, has failed and needs to be replaced.

Mohammed Sawan, leader of Justice and Construction party, told The Associated Press that the Libyan parliament is “seriously searching for an alternative” to Ali Zeidan.

Sawan said mismanagement by Zeidan’s government might have led to “irresponsible actions” by individuals, referring to Zeidan’s kidnapping.

On Thursday, Zeidan was kidnapped from the Tripoli hotel in which he resides, but was released several hours later.

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.

He is currently held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea where he is being questioned by an elite U.S. interrogation team.

Referring to Liby’s arrest, Sawan told the Associated Press, “This was a blatant violation to the national sovereignty. It has caused big problems and grave repercussions.”

Zeidan for months has been facing mounting pressures from parliament, first by Islamist blocs including the Muslim Brotherhood and another group of ultraconservative Salafis. Independents later joined the criticism of Zeidan over allegations of corruption and wasting public fund, as well as the country’s deteriorating security.

On Friday, Zeidan described his abduction as an attempted coup by his Islamist political rivals, using militias that he said are trying to “terrorize” the government and turn the country into another Afghanistan or Somalia.

Zeidan, however, did not name those specifically behind his kidnapping, only referring to the Libyan Revolutionaries Operation Room, the militia umbrella group loosely affiliated to Interior Ministry.

The Muslim Brotherhood was long banned in Libya under strongman Muammar Qaddafi, but resumed its activities after he was ousted.

Sawan spent eight years in jail under Qaddafi’s regime before being released and being named the head of the Brotherhood’s political party in Libya.