Africa

Daughter of Libya's former spy chief Senussi kidnapped

Abdullah al-Senussi (5 September 2012)
Image caption Abdullah al-Senussi is in jail awaiting trial for crimes committed in the Gaddafi era

The daughter of Libya's former intelligence chief has been abducted after leaving a prison in Tripoli.

Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said police had been escorting Anoud Abdullah al-Senussi from al-Rayoumi prison on Monday afternoon when they were ambushed by heavily armed gunmen.

The kidnappers opened fire on them before seizing Ms Senussi, he added.

Ms Senussi had just finished a 10-month prison sentence for entering Libya with a forged passport in October 2012.

She was arrested after reportedly flying back to Libya to visit her father, Abdullah al-Senussi, in jail.

Her father is being detained for his alleged role in crimes committed during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has accused him of responsibility for crimes against humanity during the uprising that ousted Gaddafi in 2011.

Judicial police officers were escorting Ms Senussi to Tripoli's airport to board a flight with relatives to the southern city of Sebha when their convoy was ambushed, Mr Marghani said.

"The convoy was ambushed by five vehicles. [The gunmen] were armed to the teeth and started firing their weapons, but it quickly became clear that they wanted to take her. No-one was injured.

"The incident took place about 50m away from the gate of the prison."

Mr Marghani appealed for "hints" about the incident, and said he expected everyone, particularly "revolutionaries" to help find Ms Senussi.

In recent months, she was granted a visit to her father.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says the latest kidnapping may well reinforce the ICC's argument that Libya is not ready to prosecute high-profile cases like that of Abdullah al-Senussi and Saif Gaddafi, both wanted by The Hague.

The central government's lack of control over various armed groups driven by a myriad of agendas has contributed to lax security, our correspondent adds.