Libyan policemen in civilian clothing protest against the kidnapping of the acting head of Criminal Investigations Department, Abdel Salam Al-Mahdawi, outside the Tibesti hotel in Benghazi, Thursday. — AFP
BENGHAZI – The acting head of the Criminal Investigations Department in Libya’s second city Benghazi has been kidnapped at gunpoint, officials said Thursday.
“Abdel Salam Al-Mahdawi was kidnapped late Wednesday when traveling from his farm to the Criminal Investigations Department,” a security official said.
“Bearded men stopped him at a traffic light on Venezia Street and kidnapped him at gunpoint,” the official said on condition of anonymity, recalling that the police chief had been abducted before.
Another colleague said that Mahdawi “had many enemies since he had files on everyone – Gaddafi loyalists, hardliners and common criminals.”
A small number of demonstrators – most of them fellow officers in civilian clothes – gathered in front of the city’s landmark Tibesti Hotel overnight calling for his release.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Ashour Shwayel expressed his regret over the kidnapping and promised to “search for the officer and determine the identity of the perpetrators.”
Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has witnessed a string of attacks against police stations and military officers. – AFP