The deputy intelligence chief Mustafa Nuh was kidnapped today. Lybian media says the abduction occurred in Lybia’s capital city Tripoli at the airport, but government officials can not confirm this.
The kidnapping comes as the Libyan capital observes a general strike in protest against the presence of militia groups in the city. The strike was called after more than 40 people died and hundreds were injured in two days of clashes.
The weak central government in Libya has struggled to keep control amid powerful local militia. These groups were originally formed to help oust Col Muammar Gaddafi, but two years later they refuse to disarm. No group has said it abducted Mr Nuh, but militias have seized senior officials before to get political leverage.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was held hostage for several hours by gunmen in October, before being released unharmed.
The Libyan capital has been tense and volatile since the clashes on Friday between militia based in Tripoli and protesters trying to evict them from their headquarters (read more about this here).
Tripoli’s local council has declared a three-day general strike, calling on all militia groups leave the area.
Most shops and schools are closed and many roadblocks have been erected by local residents and various armed groups.
People close shops to protest against the militias:
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