News / Africa

Detained Gbagbo Calls for End to Ivory Coast Fighting

Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo after being arrested, April 11, 2011
Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo after being arrested, April 11, 2011

Ivory Coast's former president is calling for an end to fighting after he was captured on Monday by forces backing the country's president-elect.  

Former president Laurent Gbagbo is calling on his supporters to lay down their weapons so the country's political crisis can come to a swift end and life can return to normal.

Mr. Gbagbo says "the fighting is over," so that is why he asked his chief of staff to "go out with a white handkerchief."  Mr. Gbagbo spoke on a television station run by President-elect Alasssane Ouattara, hours after he was arrested by Mr. Ouattara's fighters.

French forces surrounded Mr. Gbagbo's compound, but they say they did not enter the underground bunker where Mr. Ouattara's fighters captured the former president, gave him a bullet-proof jacket and helmet, and then took him, his wife, and his son into custody.

Mr. Gbagbo is being held at Mr. Ouattara's hotel headquarters from where Mr. Ouattara addressed the nation on what he called "a historic day."

Mr. Ouattara said that "a white page opened before the people of Ivory Coast, white like the white in the national flag that symbolizes hope and peace."  "Together," he said, "Ivorians can write a story of reconciliation and forgiveness."

Mr. Ouattara guaranteed Mr. Gbagbo's safety and assured the people of Ivory Coast that the former president will stand trial.

Human Rights Watch says Mr. Gbagbo should not be allowed exile in a country that would shield him from prosecution.  At the same time, the group says Mr. Ouattara's forces have an obligation to treat him and others in their custody humanely, in accordance with international law.

Mr. Gbagbo's capture ends a four-month political standoff between the presidential rivals as Gbagbo troops slowly deserted their leader.  Hundreds of members of his Republican Guard surrendered to U.N. peacekeepers on Monday.  Mr. Ouattara met late in the day with several former generals from the Gbagbo army.

With Mr. Gbago's capture, the spokesman for the U.N. mission here, Hamadoun Toure, said that restoring law and order in Abidjan is now the top priority, especially as many members of Mr. Gbagbo's militant youth wing are still at large.

"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 officials say that they are searching for key Gbagbo supporters, including militant youth leader Charles Ble Goude.

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 they 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 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 they were regaining ground in Abidjan.

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

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Mr. Gbagbo's arrest "sends a strong signal to dictators" in West Africa and beyond, and that they cannot disregard the voice of their own people in free and fair elections.   

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

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

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
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 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 US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
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.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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