News / Africa

Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Captured at Presidential Compound

Laurent Gbagbo shown on Ivorian television shortly after his capture in Abidjan, Apr 11 2011
Laurent Gbagbo shown on Ivorian television shortly after his capture in Abidjan, Apr 11 2011

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo has been captured by fighters backing the country's internationally recognized president.

He was captured at the presidential residence after U.N. and French attack helicopters fired rockets into the compound Monday morning.

"Mr. Gbagbo and his wife have been arrested and they are in custody," said Hamadoun Toure," said Hamadoun Toure, the spokesman for the U.N. mission in Ivory Coast.

Toure says no U.N. troops were involved in Mr. Gbagbo's capture which he says was carried out by fighters supporting internationally-recognized president Alassane Ouattara.

Those fighters were backed by French special forces who used a convoy of more than 30 tanks and armored personnel carriers to advance on the compound, where Mr. Gbagbo was holding out in an underground complex, refusing to recognize that he lost November's presidential vote.

Mr. Gbagbo's capture ends the four-month political standoff between the presidential rivals.  Gbagbo troops slowly deserted their leader as French, U.N. and Ouattara forces increased the pressure on the incumbent president.  More than 300 members of his Republican Guard surrendered Monday less than two hours before he was captured.

Still at large are many members of the youth wing of Mr. Gbagbo's political party, who human rights groups say have been attacking Ouattara supporters. With Mr. Gbagbo's capture, Toure says restoring law and order in Abidjan is now the top priority.

"During the fighting we witnessed an increase in banditry activities," said Toure. "Young armed people were roaming around breaking into houses, carjacking, snatching people's mobile phones and valuables. That has to stop of course. It is a challenge."

Ouattara forces swept across Ivory Coast when international mediators failed to convince Mr. Gbagbo to give up power. They reached Abidjan 12 days ago but were unable to capture the presidential compound where hundreds of Gbagbo loyalists held them off with heavy weapons.

U.N. and French helicopters attacked the compound one week ago, but still Ouattara forces could not fight their way in. U.S. and U.N. officials say Gbagbo troops used a brief ceasefire to regroup and rearm and late last week were regaining ground in Abidjan.

That momentum appears to have collapsed when U.N. and French attack helicopters again bombed the presidential compound Sunday.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the attacks were carried out because Gbagbo forces were using heavy artillery and mortars to attack the U.N. base in Abidjan as well as Mr. Ouattara's headquarters.

Mr. Gbagbo and his wife Simone are now being detained at Mr. Ouattara's hotel headquarters where Ouattara officials say the former leader will be brought to justice for crimes against the Ivorian people.


Key events in Ivory Coast political crisis, culminating in capture of former President Laurent Gbagbo
Late 2010 After five years of delays, Ivory Coast holds a presidential election. Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo leads after first round but official results show him losing run-off to former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. The Gbagbo-controlled constitutional council annuls 10 percent of ballots as fraudulent and proclaims Mr. Gbagbo winner.
December 2010 The United Nations, African Union, the west African bloc ECOWAS recognize Mr. Ouattara's victory and urge Mr. Gbagbo to step down. The incumbent refuses and his forces blockade Mr. Ouattara in an Abidjan hotel, where he is protected by U.N. peacekeepers.
December 2010/January 2011 ECOWAS and AU send mediators to Abidjan in unsuccessful attempts to resolve the power struggle peacefully. The West African regional bank cuts off Mr. Gbagbo's access to state funds. Gbagbo troops fight deadly battles in Abidjan with Ouattara supporters.
March 2011 Pro-Ouattara fighters, including former rebels from Ivory Coast's 2002 civil war, capture towns in western Ivory Coast, near border with Liberia.
March 28, 2011 Pro-Ouattara fighters launch a huge offensive, capturing towns and cities across Ivory Coast and moving to outskirts of Abidjan within four days.
April 4 French and U.N. helicopters attack Gbagbo-controlled heavy weapons in Abidjan, on the grounds they are being used to attack civilians and U.N. peacekeepers. French and Ivorian officials say Mr. Gbagbo is negotiating surrender, but the incumbent then gives interviews insisting he won election.
April 6 Gbagbo loyalists fight off an attack by Ouattara forces on the presidential compound.
April 10 French and U.N. helicopters launch airstrikes on the compound.
April 11 Mr. Gbagbo is captured at residence after assault by pro-Ouattara fighters, aided by French special forces.

 

Discuss this story with other readers on VOA forums

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid