Gunmen Kidnap Libya's Deputy Intelligence Chief

Libya's deputy intelligence chief, Mustafa Nuh, abducted in Tripoli as violence continues to rage in Libya's capital.

Elad Benari ,

Militiamen in Tripoli, Libya
Militiamen in Tripoli, Libya

Libya's deputy intelligence chief, Mustafa Nuh, was abducted Sunday by gunmen in Tripoli, AFP reports.

The kidnapping follows a weekend of violence that was the deadliest in the city since the 2011 uprising that resulted in the ousting of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. The violence started Friday when demonstrators took to the streets to protest against an unruly militia of ex-rebels.

At least 43 people were killed and more than 450 wounded in the violence that began Friday and continued into Saturday, the health ministry told AFP.

On Saturday night, Tripoli city council announced a three-day strike across the private and public sector to mourn the dead, also urging citizens to exercise "calm and restraint."

During the strike, however, people exasperated by the government's failure to rein in militias set fires ablaze and put up barricades on major roads, blocking them amid calls for civil disobedience.

As reports emerged that Nuh had been kidnapped, dozens of protesters broke into the General National Congress (GNC), Libya's parliament and top political authority, reported AFP.

A security official said that Nuh was abducted shortly after returning to Tripoli from a visit abroad.

Former rebel commander Ala Abu Hafess told Al-Naba private television channel he was in a car with Nuh when armed men ambushed them as they left the airport.

Abu Hafess said he managed to flee but Nuh was driven off by the gunmen. "I ran. They opened fire at me but didn't hit me," he was quoted as having said.

In October, gunmen briefly abducted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in Tripoli. 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 by U.S. troops in Tripoli.

Two years after the fall of Qaddafi, independent militias still control large part of the North African country and regularly fight each other.

Just last week, anti-aircraft gunfire and grenade blasts erupted in several parts of Tripoli as rival militia groups were fighting.

Recent reports indicated that Al-Qaeda terrorists in Libya are trying to get their hands on a massive weapons arsenal that was left behind by the Qaddafi regime.

Qaddafi’s arsenal, which remains in an abandoned desert warehouse in southern Libya, reportedly includes 4,000 surface-to-air missiles, each capable of downing a passenger jet, and thousands of barrels of uranium yellowcake.