Libya Live Blog
Libya - Aug 20, 2011 - 16:01
Last modified: 20 Aug 2011 13:01
Libya's oil chief, Omran Abukraa, is in Tunisia after deciding not to return to Libya from a trip abroad, a Tunisian official source has said, the third apparent defection this week of a senior figure associated with Muammar Gaddafi's rule.
"Libyan Oil Minister Omran Abukraa did not return to Libya after his mission in Italy, preferring to cut his trip short and go to Tunisia," the Tunisian official source told the Reuters news agency.
The report, if confirmed, suggests more senior figures are deserting Gaddafi's government since rebels seized the city of Az-Zawiyah, cutting off Tripoli from the outside world.
A senior security official, Nasser al-Mabruk Abdullah, flew to Cairo from Tunisia on Monday with his family. Rebels said Abdessalam Jalloud, Gaddafi's former deputy who is now out of favour with the leader, defected to their side on Friday.
Although Libya does not formally give its officials the title of minister, Abukraa represented Tripoli at an OPEC oil ministers' meeting in June.
He replaced Tripoli's long-serving oil chief Shokri Ghanem, who defected from Gaddafi's government and said he supported the aims of rebels trying to topple him.