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Gaddafi spokesman: 17, including French and British, captured

CAIRO (Reuters) - A spokesman for Muammar Gaddafi said on Sunday that 17 "mercenaries," including what he called French and British "technical experts" had been captured in the Gaddafi bastion of Bani Walid in Libya.

"A group was captured in Bani Walid consisting of 17 mercenaries. They are technical experts and they include consultative officers," Moussa Ibrahim told Syrian-based Arrai TV.

"Most of them are French, one of them is from an Asian country that has not been identified, two English people and one Qatari," he added.

He said the 17 would be shown on television at a later time, but did not give more details.

It was not immediately possible to verify Ibrahim's claims. The French foreign ministry said it had no information regarding the report.

NATO, French and British officials had on Saturday denied a report by Arrai TV that some NATO troops had been captured by Gaddafi loyalists.

Western special forces are known to have been in Libya and to have liaised with anti-Gaddafi officials during the conflict. Private security firms have also been helping anti-Gaddafi forces, according to Western media reports.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

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