Qaddafi Tells Regime Officials: Now Yous Can’t Leave

Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa speaks during a press conference in Tripoli on March 19, 2011. Libya has asked UN chief Ban Ki-moon to send observers to monitor a ceasefire it said it declared in response to demands from the Security Council. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images/Getty

After the second high-profile defection from the Qaddafi regime in as many days — yesterday it was foreign minister Moussa Koussa, today it was Ali Abdussalam el-Treki, who has served as Libya's foreign minister and ambassador to the U.N. — Colonel Qaddafi is taking measures to ensure that everyone else stays put. The Times reports:

The capital of Tripoli was alive with rumored defections on Thursday, with the prime minister and the speaker of Parliament, among other top figures, said at various times to be quitting the country. None of those reports could be verified. But the authorities were taking no chances, assigning guards to senior officials to assure they cannot leave, a former Libyan official said.

A government spokesman did not mention the guards when he insisted today that “Colonel Qaddafi is surrounded by many people who admire him and are prepared to work with him and under his leadership."

Rumors Fly in Tripoli as a Second Official Flees [NYT]