The acting head of the criminal investigations department in Libya’s second city Benghazi has been kidnapped at gunpoint, officials told AFP on Thursday.
He said he believed hardline Islamists were behind the kidnapping.
Another colleague said that Mahdawi “had many enemies since he had files on everyone — Kadhafi loyalists, hardline Islamists and common criminals.”
A small number of demonstrators — most of them fellow officers in civilian clothes — gathered in front of the city’s landmark Tibesti Hotel overnight calling for his release, an AFP photographer reported.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Ashour Shwayel expressed his regret over the kidnapping and promised to “search for the officer and determine the identity of the perpetrators.”
Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has witnessed a string of attacks against police stations and military officers.
It has also become a focus for jihadist groups, including militants who killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in a September 11 attack on the US consulate.