TRIPOLI/AMMAN : Jordan’s ambassador to Libya was kidnapped in Tripoli on Tuesday by masked gunmen who attacked his car and shot his driver, Libya’s Foreign Ministry said, the latest in a slew of kidnappings as Libya struggles to establish rule of law.
The driver survived the attack and was in hospital, Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Laswad said.
Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told lawmakers in parliament that the ambassador, Fawaz al-Itan, had been abducted from his car as he was leaving his house but that the identity of the perpetrators was unknown.
“The Jordanian government holds the kidnapping party responsible for the safety of the ambassador and will take all necessary measures to protect his life and release him,” Ensour said, without elaborating further.
Kidnappings have become commonplace in Libya and abductors frequently target foreign officials. Since the start of this year alone, five Egyptian diplomats, a Tunisian diplomat and a South Korean trade official have been abducted.
The weak interim government has been unable to disarm former rebels and the militants who fought in the uprising that deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and who have formed increasingly powerful and violent militias.
Parliament has deep divisions that further undermine Tripoli’s authority. Last week, Libya’s interim prime minister resigned after just one month into the job, saying gunmen had tried to attack his family.
Random acts of violence are also on the rise. In December, an American teacher was shot dead in Benghazi and in January, a British man and a New Zealand woman were shot execution-style on a beach in the west.
Tribal groups, militias and even local citizens frequently resort to road blockades and more seriously to shutting down the OPEC member’s vital oil facilities as a negotiating tactic.
The bulk of the country’s oilfields and some major ports have been shut down by federalists in the east and tribes in the west demanding more rights or demonstrating against parliament.