The Libyan crisis is further complicated by the lack of clarity about the future of the presidential and legislative elections that were originally scheduled to be held on December 24, 2021, and postponed for the second time hours before the transfer of the government to new Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed by the parliament on February 10, followed by the announcement of the kidnapping of two ministers from the Bashagha government on Thursday, March 3.
Two ministers kidnapped
On March 3, Libyan media announced that two ministers of the Bashagha government had been kidnapped near the city of Misrata, one of the cities where armed groups are active.
Sources close to the government said that the two ministers are Foreign Minister Khaled Kaddour and Culture Minister Salha Bashir al-Drouqi, adding that the operation took place near Misrata while they were on their way to Tobruk to take the constitutional oath before the Libyan House of Representatives.
According to Reuters, sources said that the accusing fingers point to what is known as the joint security force close to the former government of Abdul Hamid Dabaiba that was dismissed by the parliament, which indicates the complexity of the internal scene between the current and former governments.
Dabaiba assassination attempt
Weeks ago, former Prime Minister Dabaiba confirmed his adherence to his position, but the parliament had a different opinion and announced his dismissal and the inauguration of Bashagha in his place after the end of his term. Hours before the parliament session, people close to Dabaiba announced that he had been subjected to an assassination attempt.
Imran al-Moneth, Dabaiba’s brother-in-law, published pictures of his car, which showed signs of being shot at, after news that Dabaiba had been subjected to an assassination attempt in Tripoli at dawn on Thursday, February 10.
A source close to Dabaiba said that the prime minister was returning home when he was shot from another car before fleeing and that the incident was referred to the Public Prosecutor for investigation.
At the time, the sources indicated that armed and armored cars roamed the center of Tripoli and the Andalus neighborhood after Dabaiba’s car came under fire. The perpetrators of the assassination attempt were not arrested or identified, as they fled.
Political assassinations and kidnappings are not a new thing in Libya in recent years, but their danger comes from the coincidence of their occurrence and their frequent recurrence in light of the current political uncertainty that dominates the scene, which threatens the re-existence of two governments dividing the country between Bashagha and Dabaiba.
The Libyan territories witnessed frequent kidnappings, including on January 15, 2015, when gunmen kidnapped Hassan Al-Saghir, then-Deputy Foreign Minister, from a hotel room in the city of Al-Bayda in eastern Libya.
A Foreign Ministry official said that the gunmen who carried out the pre-dawn abduction told hotel employees that they were security men and that they took Saghir to an unknown destination.
In January 2022, a militia in western Libya kidnapped Ali Al-Zanati, then- Minister of Health, from Maitika International Airport in Tripoli. Sources in the Minister of Health’s office revealed that the RADA Special Deterrence Force militia had kidnapped Zanati while he was returning from the capital to Benghazi.
The Special Deterrence Force is the strongest and most ferocious in Tripoli, led by Abdel Raouf Kara. It controls the Maitika air base and its airport, as well as runs a prison that houses about two thousand terrorists from ISIS, al-Qaeda and other entities.