Libyan spy agency chief kidnapped at Tripoli airport

Intelligence official abducted in car park days after deadly clashes in Tripoli

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 November, 2013, 5:30am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 November, 2013, 5:30am

Libya's deputy intelligence chief was kidnapped outside Tripoli airport yesterday, two security sources said, days after clashes between rival militias and protesters in the capital killed at least 45 people.

Mustafa Noah, head of the intelligence agency's espionage unit, was pulled into a vehicle in the car park, and had no bodyguards with him, one source said, without giving details on the attackers or their motives.

Libya's government is struggling to keep order as rival militias and hardline Islamists refuse to disarm two years after they helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in a Nato-backed uprising.

No group claimed responsibility for the abduction, but militias have snatched officials in the past to get political leverage. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was abducted by a government-payrolled militia group last month, but freed hours later.

Tripoli city leaders yesterday called for street protests and strikes at shops, schools and universities to press Libya's government to drive out militiamen blamed for the clashes.

Violence broke out on Friday when militiamen from the coastal city of Misrata opened fire on protesters marching on their brigade quarters in Tripoli to demand they leave the capital.

Dozens of people were killed in the fighting that followed - the deadliest street violence in Tripoli since Gaddafi's fall. Misrata gunmen and rival militias clashed again on Saturday, killing one more.

Saadat al-Badry, the head of Tripoli's local council, said city leaders wanted all armed groups from outside Tripoli to leave.

"We have declared a strike for three days from today, but if our demands are not met we will continue," he said. "We will not negotiate with them."