MOSCOW, January 25 (Sputnik) – An official from Libya's internationally recognized government has said that gunmen kidnapped its deputy foreign minister on Saturday, Reuters reports.
"The kidnappers told staff they were members of the security forces when they entered the hotel before dawn," the ministry source told the agency, passing on information from witnesses at the hotel in the city of al-Bayda.
Libya's official government is currently based in al-Baida, a coastal city in the east of the country, having previously fled to the eastern city of Tobrok in July when militias took over the capital, Tripoli. Interior Minister in the government, Omar al-Zanki, said that deputy foreign minister Hassan al-Saghir was seized from the hotel and driven to an unknown destination. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Libya has been plagued by factional violence since the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011 by militant groups, who subsequently became rivals for power. Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni is head of Libya's elected parliament, the "House of Representatives," who were elected in June but forced to sit in Tobruk after Islamist-led armed groups contesting the result took over Tripoli and reinstated the former legislature, Libya's General National Congress.