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Military Officials Flee Qaddafi's Libya

8:29 AM, May 31, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Libyan military officials have left Muammar Qaddafi's army, "defect[ing] in protest [of Qaddafi's] actions against his own people, saying there had been a lot of killing of civilians and violence against women," according to Lebanon's Daily Star.

Eight Libyan army officers appeared in Rome Monday, saying they were part of a group of as many as 120 military officials and soldiers who defected from Moammar Gadhafi’s side in recent days.

The eight officers – five generals, two colonels and a major – spoke at a news conference organized by the Italian government.

Al-Arabiya television said 120 Libyan officers had arrived in Rome. The Libyan ambassador to Rome, who has also defected from Gadhafi, said only the eight present at the hastily called news conference were in the Italian capital.

The New York Times reports that the African Union's most recent attempt to negotiate peace with Libya has failed:

Talks between President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi ended Monday with no sign of the breakthrough Libyan officials had said they hoped for ahead of the visit. The outcome appeared to leave the Tripoli government and its rebel foes still mired in the stalemate that has settled over the conflict, and NATO with the prospect of an extended campaign of airstrikes in its bid to topple the Libyan leader.

At the end of a six-hour mission to the Libyan capital on behalf of the African Union, Mr. Zuma listed Colonel Qaddafi’s conditions for peace, which included an immediate cease-fire followed by talks with the rebels. But there was no sign that the Libyan ruler had made any concession on the issue at the center of the stalemate, his rejection of demands that he abandon power and seek exile outside Libya.

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