Algeria's interior minister says a regional official's kidnapping was unconnected to al-Qaida's North African wing.
Dahou Ould Kablia told reporters Wednesday that the kidnapping of Mohamed Laid Khelifi "was an improvised act by three youths and has no connection" with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
Khelifi, the top government representative of the Illizi region in Algeria's southeast, was kidnapped Monday and smuggled across the border with Libya. Khelifi was freed on Tuesday in Libya and his captors were arrested.
Some Algerian newspapers reported that the kidnappers were linked to a leading figure of AQIM.
AQIM is understood to have made millions from kidnapping foreigners and local residents across a swath of desert in northwest Africa. However, it has not been known to kidnap state representatives.