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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid