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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More