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Ivory Coast strongman Gbagbo captured

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Posted April 11, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 1,544 views

     


(CNN) — Laurent Gbagbo, the self-declared president of Ivory Coast, was arrested Monday, sources said, potentially ending a civil war that has claimed hundreds of lives in the cocoa-producing West African nation.

After days of holding out, his compound was stormed by troops Monday, according to Ivorian, French and United Nations sources.

Gbagbo “is well and alive and will be brought to justice,” said the country’s ambassador to the
United Nations, Youssoufou Bamba.

Gbagbo’s refusal to accept that he lost a presidential election to Alassane Ouattara last year plunged the country into civil war.

He was arrested “to stop these killings, this fighting,” Bamba said, adding that he thinks the fighting will stop as news of Gbagbo’s capture spreads.
Gbagbo: From president to prisoner Chaos in Ivory Coast Bitter battle in West Africa

Gbagbo was taken to the Golf Hotel, the headquarters of both Ouattara and the United Nations, U.N. spokesman Hamadoun Toure said.

His wife and other members of his entourage are with him, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the events.

Authorities are trying to move carefully and follow legal procedures to being him to trial, said the source, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The arrest is a “step in the right direction to return Ivory Coast to normality,” the source said, adding that the city of Abidjan is a wreck, with “death squads, militias roaming (and) burning bodies on the streets, which is posing a major humanitarian challenge.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Gbagbo’s capture “sends a strong signal to dictators and tyrants. … They may not disregard the voice of their own people.”

“There will be consequences for those who cling to power,” Clinton warned in a brief appearance.
It was not immediately clear who captured him.

Bamba and the French Embassy in Ivory Coast said Gbagbo was seized by forces loyal to Ouattara, the man recognized by the international community as the rightful president.
Who is Alassane Ouattrara?
But a Gbagbo adviser, Ahoua Don Mello, said earlier that the French military had stormed Gbagbo’s residence.
“The French army is there right now,” he said.
Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French Ministry of Defense spokesman in Paris, said no French troops entered the presidential palace.

The U.S. source says the French were in a supporting role, not in an active assault.
United Nations forces were not involved in the raid on Gbagbo’s residence, said Toure, the spokesman for the U.N. mission there.

He had earlier said the mission did not extend to extracting the former president from his stronghold.
But United Nations and French troops have pounded Gbagbo’s forces, citing their mission to protect civilians in the country.

The fighting left Abidjan with sporadic power and sanitation, and residents said dead bodies were left on the streets.

At least tens of thousands of people have fled into neighboring Liberia to escape the fighting, according to Oxfam, the international aid organization.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said that 800 people had been shot dead in the western cocoa-producing town of Duekoue during the conflict. A U.N. official put the death toll at 330 in the incident.

U.N. chief: Africa’s course could be set in Ivory Coast
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week predicted that the outcome of the crisis in Ivory Coast would set the tone for other nations in Africa.

“What happens in Cote d’Ivoire has huge implications for the continent that will have 16 presidential elections this year,” he said, using the French name for the country.

CNN’s Jack Maddox, Sarita Harilela, Carol Jordan, Mariano Castillo, Niki Cook, Matthew Hoye, Alan Silverleib and Zain Verjee contributed to this report.


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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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