Gbagbo held after French troops move in

April 12, 2011 - 0:0

ABIDJAN (Agencies) – Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo was arrested on Monday after French armored vehicles closed in on the compound where he has been holed up in a bunker.

A column of more than 30 French armored vehicles moved in on Gbagbo's residence in central Abidjan after helicopter gunships attacked the compound overnight.
“Yes, he has been arrested,” Affoussy Bamba, a spokeswoman for Ouattara, told Reuters.
Earlier a Gbagbo adviser in Paris had told Reuters that French special forces had detained Gbagbo after breaking into the compound with tanks.
“Gbagbo has been arrested by French special forces in his residence and has been handed over to the rebel leaders,” Gbagbo adviser Toussaint Alain told Reuters in Paris.
Gbagbo's spokesman in Ivory Coast Ahoua Don Mello told Reuters: “President Laurent Gbagbo came out of his bunker and surrendered to the French without opposing resistance.”
However according to other reports, Gbagbo surrendered to the forces of presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara and is being held by them, the United Nations has said.
“The United Nations mission in Cote d'Ivoire has confirmed that former President Laurent Gbagbo has surrendered to the forces of Alassane Ouattara and is currently in their custody,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said on Monday.
Haq said the UN mission, known as UNOCI, was “providing protection and security in accordance with its mandate.”
He told Reuters that UNOCI was mandated to protect political stakeholders in Cote d'Ivoire, which included Gbagbo.
Jean Marc Simon, the French ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire, confirmed the capture to the AFP news agency, saying that he was detained by soldiers loyal to Ouattara.
A Ouattara spokesman told Al Jazeera that Gbagbo, along with his wife and several advisors, was being held at the Golf Hotel, which has been Ouattara's headquarters since a disputed presidential poll in late November.
Youssoufou Bamba, Cote d'Ivoire's ambassador to the United Nations, said that Gbagbo was “alive and well”, and that he would “be brought to justice for the crimes he has committed”.
A pro-Ouattara television station showed footage of Gbagbo being brought into the Golf Hotel shortly after news of his capture broke. Footage of him receiving medical treatment was also shown.
Guillaume Soro, the country's Ouattara-appointed prime minister, has made an appeal to rivals to join the Ouattara camp.
“To all the forces, I make a last appeal to rally
[with us] ... there cannot be a manhunt,” Soro said in an address to the Ivorian people carried by French television station i-tele. “Join the Republican forces!”
Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, in Abidjan, reported that the city was tense following the arrest, with neighborhoods around the presidential residence completely deserted, while those around the Golf Hotel were beginning to fill up with armed Ouattara supporters.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, spoke with Ouattara on the telephone at length shortly after Gbagbo's arrest, the Elysee palace said.
William Hague, the British foreign minister, greeted the news by saying that Gbagbo must be “treated with respect and any judicial process that follows should be a fair and properly organized judicial process”.
The United Nations Security Council received a briefing from Alain Le Roy, Under Secretary-General and Head of Peacekeeping, at the body's headquarters in New York following the capture.