(Updates with Zaidan comment in second paragraph.)
Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zaidan was released hours after being seized at a Tripoli hotel today, exposing the insecurity roiling the nation two years after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi.
Zaidan, who spoke from his office after his release, said “security agencies are doing their job in maintaining the security of Libyans and foreigners alike,” the state-run Libyan News Agency reported. His arrest was a result of “political maneuvering in Libya,” LANA said.
The incident came four days after U.S. forces seized Abu Anas al-Libi in Libya on suspicion of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and to conduct attacks against American interests worldwide. Militia violence has plagued Libya since the capture and death of Qaddafi in 2011 and has intensified in recent months with groups refusing to heed government calls to disband.
The group that took Zaidan did so based on false information that the public prosecutor had issued an arrest warrant for him, said Hashem Beshr, head of the Supreme Security Committee for Tripoli.
The prime minister’s detention “illustrates the criminality and lack of security for even the most senior officials in Tripoli,” said Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. “This will bring uncertainty to companies and governments operating there, and will highlight the fact that the security scene in Tripoli is subject to wild gyrations.”
‘Lack of Security’
Parliament Speaker Nuri Busahmein, who described the arrest as illegal, said Zaidan’s “morale is high,” according to a statement broadcast on the Libya Al Ahrar television channel.
Zaidan was taken from the Corinthia Hotel by the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room, Beshr said. The group told the LANA agency that Zaidan was suspected of corruption. The Interior Ministry’s Crime Combating Authority later said it was holding Zaidan, the group’s spokesman, Abdel Hakim Al Belaazi, told the news agency earlier.
Zaidan’s seizure was “a clear wake-up call” for Libya and other countries facing political transition, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a briefing on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Brunei today. “I condemn the abduction in the strongest possible terms.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said told reporters traveling with him in Kuala Lumpur that American embassy personnel are secure and “we’re confident about our abilities to keep them in that security.” The U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi was attacked in September 2012, killing four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The events today are “clearly a situation that is still evolving,” Kerry said.
The Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room is an alliance of former fighters who took part in the civil war against Qaddafi. The group is affiliated with the Defense Ministry, Busahmein said.
Libya currently produces about 700,000 barrels a day of oil, Oil Ministry Measurement Director Ibrahim Al-Awami said in an interview today. The nation’s production and export capabilities haven’t been affected by Zaidan’s brief detention, he said.
Brent for November settlement rose 1 percent to $110.10 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 5:33 p.m in Dubai.
Zaidan’s arrest shows how “volatile and unsafe Libya is,” Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said by phone today before the premier was released. “Yet again, it elevates the geopolitical risk in the whole region, adding to the one already existing in Egypt and Syria.”
--With assistance from Mariam Fam in Cairo, Neil Chatterjee in Brunei, Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai and Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Editors: Andrew J. Barden, Ben Holland, Karl Maier