Rebel forces operating in the Western Libyan mountains claim that former Prime Minister Abdessalam Jalloud has defected to their side and is currently in rebel custody in the town of Zintan.
Jalloud was a key ally of Gadhafi during the 1969 coup and served as the nation’s Prime Minister from 1972 through early 1977. Even after this, Jalloud was considered the second most powerful man in Libya through 1993.
In 1993, he had a very public falling out with Gadhafi after a failed coup attempt, and by 1995 he had his passport revoked and was spending most of his time under virtual house arrest. Despite this, he remained a popular figure in the nation for years.
His defection will likely not have any practical impact, as his role in the Gadhafi regime has long since evaporated. But if he decides to formally endorse the rebels it may give them more legitimacy, particularly among his Magariha tribe.
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