Update at 5.15 a.m. EDT: Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been freed by the former rebels who had siezed him from a hotel in the capital city of Tripoli early Thursday morning, media reports said, citing foreign minister Mohammed Abdelaziz.
"He has been freed but we have no details so far on the circumstances of his release," Abdelaziz said, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was taken from the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli early Thursday by a group called the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room, according to media reports citing Hashem Beshr, head of the Supreme Security Committee for Tripoli.
“Zaidan is still with them,” Beshr said in a phone interview, Bloomberg reported. According to Beshr, the group took Zeidan from where he was staying due to “erroneous” information that a warrant had been issued for the prime minister's arrest, the Bloomberg report said.
The interim government, in a statement on its Facebook page, said that the prime minister was taken by gunmen “for unknown reasons and to a unknown destination.” It further said that the cabinet is unaware of the prime minister's immunity having been lifted, and denied knowledge of an arrest warrant for Zeidan.
The government urged for calm even as a photo, reportedly showing the prime minister at the moment of his abduction, circulated on the social networking site.
According to earlier reports, the prime minister was kidnapped by armed rebels and, according to a Twitter post claiming to be from a member of the group that conducted the abduction, the prime minister "is fine" and "has made phone calls with his family and the government."
Zeidan recently called on the West to help stop militancy in Libya, which he said was being used as a base to export weapons throughout the region, BBC reported.
On Saturday, the U.S. military captured an alleged top al Qaeda leader in Tripoli in a raid angering militant groups in the country, and the Libyan government had demanded an explanation from the U.S. government for the raid, which it called a “kidnapping of the suspect.”