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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid