Libya media authority: Journalist detained after PM presser

CAIRO (AP) — Authorities in western Libya on Saturday revealed that they had detained a local journalist, two days after he disappeared in the capital Tripoli following a news conference with the prime minister.

Libyan television journalist Ziyad al-Warfali disappeared after the conference with newly appointed Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah late Thursday, the Libyan media authority said in a statement.

The statement said al-Warfali, who works for Libya’s al-Ghad al-Arabi television network, had been arrested but did not mention which of Libya’s many, often competing, security agencies detained him. It also did not reveal his whereabouts, saying only that he would be released “soon.”

The statement came after al-Warfali’s family and employer spoke out about his disappearance.

At the news conference, al-Warfali asked about the fate of Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been imprisoned in Lebanon, according to the Libyan Organization for Independent Media.

He also asked about the unification of Libya’s army, which requires dismantling several militias that have profited from years of chaos in the oil-rich North African country.

The media authority said al-Warfali had not obtained the proper work permit required for journalists in Libya.

The Libyan capital is controlled by an array of armed groups and militias, loosely allied with a U.N.-supported government. Those militias have proved difficult for the Tripoli government to control in the past.

Last week, Fathi Bashagha, the powerful interior minister of Libya’s U.N.-backed government, survived an ambush by gunmen on his motorcade in Tripoli. Bashagha’s office called the attack an “attempted assassination.”

Libya plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled Gadhafi, who was later killed. The county has since been split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

Since 2011, at least five journalists have been killed by militias and militant groups, according to the Committee to Protect Journalist, a media watchdog.

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