5 Libyan Generals Defect to Rebels
One says Gadhafi's forces only 20% as efficient as they were before conflict
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 30, 2011 1:45 PM CDT
From left, officials who defected from Gadhafi's regime, Colonel Ahmed G.I. Ali, General Khaled Albesir, General Own Mohamed Own, spokesman Shamman, General Meilud Massoud, Shalgam abdul Rahman, Saleh...   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
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(Newser) – Five Libyan army generals who defected from Moammar Gadhafi's regime are appealing to fellow officers to join them in backing the rebels. Italian foreign ministry officials presented the generals, two colonels, and a major at a news conference in Rome today. Gen. Melud Massoud Halasa said Gadhafi's forces are only 20% as efficient as they were before the rebellion, and at most 10 generals are still loyal to him.

Mahmoud Shammam of the Libyan Transitional National Council said other officers, based in Tripoli or the rebel-held city of Misrata, have also fled to Tunisia. Shammam's account, along with his claim that some 120 officers have fled in recent days, could not immediately be verified.