Masked gunmen have kidnapped Jordan’s ambassador to Libya on his way to work in Tripoli, shooting at his car and wounding his driver, officials say.
The incident is the latest targeting Libyan leaders and foreign diplomats in the increasingly lawless North African country, three years after NATO-backed rebels ended autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade rule.
“The Jordanian ambassador was kidnapped this morning. His convoy was attacked by a group of hooded men on board two civilian cars,” Libyan foreign ministry spokesman Said Lassoued told AFP.
Security and medical officials said the ambassador’s driver – reportedly a Moroccan – suffered two gunshot wounds but his life was no longer in danger after surgery.
Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur urged the Libyan authorities to secure the safe release of the kingdom’s ambassador, Fawaz Aitan.
“We call on the Libyan government and Libyan people to work on preserving his life and freeing him,” he told an emergency meeting of Jordan’s parliament.
Nsur vowed to do “what it takes” to free Aitan.
The ambassador’s family in Amman said they learned about his abduction by mere chance.
“My mother learned about the abduction of my uncle through one of the satellite channels before calling the authorities,” nephew Osaid told AFP.
“We don’t know why he was kidnapped or if he received threats before the abduction. The situation in Libya is unstable and we are not aware of the kidnappers’ demands.”
The United Nations Security Council condemned the kidnapping “in the strongest terms”, urging Libya to “work towards the safe release of the ambassador”.
Diplomats in Tripoli say militias that fought to topple the Gaddafi regime often carry out kidnappings to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyans held abroad.