An anti-Gaddafi fighter loads a cannon near Sirte, the hometown of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi
An anti-Gaddafi fighter loads a cannon near Sirte, the hometown of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi, September 17, 2011. Libyan interim government National Transitional Council (NTC) forces advanced on Sirte on Libya's central Mediterranean coast

As the Libyan conflict persists, with Gaddafi loyalists mounting counterattacks on National Transitional Council forces, the ex0-dictator's spokesman Moussa Ibrahim claims NATO "mercenaries" have been captured.

"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 said before adding the captives would be shown on television at a later time.

With false claims about the current situation and the state of the conflict reported on both sides, finding out what is taking place in Libya is becoming increasingly difficult.

Ibrahim insisted long after the NTC forces took Tripoli that the colonel was in "good spirits" and "walking freely," so his assertion that coalition personnel are in the hands of Gaddafi forces could prove to be yet another false claim.

A report that NATO troops had been captured by Gaddafi forces first emerged on Syria's Arrai TV but was denied by both French and British officials.

Despite assurances that no NATO troops would touch the ground, Western Special Forces have reportedly been deployed to help anti-Gaddafi forces.

Also despite a U.N. arms embargo, Qatar and France were also accused of providing weapons to the rebel forces, which France was forced to acknowledge.

Meanwhile, the NTC forces have suffered a real debacle in Bani Walid, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of Tripoli, as they have been forced into retreat and forced to instead head to Sirte, which despite being the birthplace of the colonel has proven easier to conquer than Bani Walid.

"There is a lack of organisation so far. Infantry men are running in all directions," Zakaria Tuham, a senior fighter with a Tripoli-based unit, told Reuters.

More bad news followed for the interim council as in Benghazi, interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril failed to name a new Cabinet when his proposals did not receive full support from all current members.

"We have agreed on a number of portfolios. We still have more portfolios to be discussed," Jibril told reporters at a news conference on Sunday.

With the conflict dragging on and the expiration of the NATO mandate fast approaching, the NTC forces are under increasing pressure to take control over the last Gaddafi bastions.