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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid