Tripoli: March 25
Zintan brigadesmen have released the manager of the Rixos hotel after kidnapping him last night for seven hours. . . .[restrict]
The Turkish hotelier, Sukru Kocak, was released after widespread official representations by diplomats from the Turkish embassy.
The Turkish-owned hotel confirmed reports in yesterday’s Libya Herald that the incident had arisen over an unpaid bill. A senior brigadesman identified as Ali Dau Zintani, had been told to quit the hotel if he did not settle an unpaid account run up over six months. The Zintan brigades have taken upon themselves security duties in the area around the hotel.
Told to pay or go, the angry brigadesman stormed from the hotel to return shortly after with armed militiamen, who shot up the lobby and seized Sukru Kocak.. CNN reported this morning that the manager was taken to a militia headquarters in the Fallah district of the capital, where he was beaten on his legs and suffered a burst ear drum. However, another Zintan militia commander Mohammed Madani insisted that Kocak had not been kidnapped but merely held for questioning. He added that the issue had been resolved. Shortly afterwards the manager was released.
The Rixos was closed after the attack, with most guests being moved to other hotels. Staff were this morning still cleaning up and making repairs. It is hoped that the hotel will reopen for business on Monday.
CNN quoted an hotel official as saying that NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil would be visiting the Rixos today to apologise on behalf of the government, but no official source has yet confirmed this. [/restrict]