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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid