News24

All fighters must disarm, says Ouattara

2011-04-12 12:43

Abidjan - President Alassane Ouattara called on all fighters to put down their arms now that the longtime strongman has been captured after his refusal to cede power sparked violence leaving bodies piled at morgues.

More than one million civilians fled their homes and untold numbers were killed in the more than four-month power struggle between the two rivals. The standoff threatened to re-ignite a civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer, once divided in two by a civil war nearly a decade ago.

"After more than four months of post-electoral crisis, marked by so many human lives lost, we are finally at the dawn of a new era of hope," Ouattara said in an address to the nation on radio and television late on Monday.

Residents of the commercial capital of Abidjan refrained from celebrating in public, still fearful of the many armed fighters prowling the streets and refusing to believe their leader Laurent Gbagbo had been arrested.

An Associated Press reporter heard heavy fire in a southern district of Abidjan lasting into early Tuesday. Residents in the rest of the city said that most of the combat had ceased, though gunfire continued around three university student residences where pro-Gbagbo militia are believed to stay.

Gbagbo's security forces have been accused of using mortars and machine guns to mow down opponents during the standoff. Gbagbo could be forced to answer for his soldiers' crimes, but an international trial threatens to stoke the divisions that Ouattara will now have to heal as president.

Truth and reconciliation commission


Ouattara cut short speculation that Gbagbo would be delivered to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, calling for an Ivorian investigation into the former president, his wife and their entourage. Ouattara also called on his supporters to refrain from retaliatory violence and said he intended to establish a truth and reconciliation commission.

"Every measure has been taken to assure the physical integrity of Mr Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and all those arrested," he said. "They will receive dignified treatment and their rights will be respected."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to Ouattara on Monday and said he expected that with Gbagbo in custody, "any further bloodshed will be avoided", the UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said in a statement late on Monday.

Nesirky said that, at Gbagbo's request, the UN peacekeeping mission will provide security and protection while Gbagbo is in custody. He said Ban stressed to Ouattara "the need to ensure that there is no retaliation against Mr Gbagbo's supporters".

Gbagbo, who ruled the former French colony for a decade, was pulled from his burning residence by Ouattara's troops on Monday following fighting earlier in the day. The pro-Ouattara forces had received support by French tanks and helicopters.

Gbagbo's dramatic arrest came after days of heavy fighting in which French and the UN helicopters fired rockets at arms depots around the city and targets within the presidential compound.

Ouattara's final push began just after French airstrikes ceased at around 03:00 on Monday. A simultaneous French armored advance secured large parts of the city, and pro-Ouattara troops entered the presidential compound just after midday.

"We attacked and forced in a part of the bunker," Issard Soumahro, a pro-Ouattara fighter at the scene, told The Associated Press.

Comments
  • YES - 2011-04-12 13:55

    I identify with people of Abidjan, who do not believe that Gbagbo is indeed arrested. If indeed the reports are true then the UN is in contravention of a fundamental legal principle not to unseat a democratically elected president of the country. It's good that Gbagbo did not voluntarily cede power when he was asked to as it made him the first incumbent president to be forced out of power by the UN. The Un's direct involvement in the demise of Gbagbo no longer makes it an independent body. Neither is its peace keeping force must be trusted in missions that it intends to undertaking in the future. The fact, that Ban ki Moon instructed "peace keeping" forces to assist France in military action to pursue Gbagbo means "peace keepng" forces must be received with suspicion in the future. While unfolding events might be true, however, the preferred president in Ivory Coast will not have easy with other members of community and those outside Ivory Coast. He will always be perceived as a stooge and a preferred candidate of the West - even when he is among his own people.

      penada - 2011-04-12 16:30

      wow, love your post and your mind, you have raised a mighty mighty important point, i have been telling my friends the same thing...the UN has effectively changed its mission statement from an unbiased uninvolved peace keeping organ to an actively political international body with powers to actively infleunce the outcomes of the politics of soveriegn states. on that i too am glad that gbagbo did not leave voluntarily..

      Rustique - 2011-04-12 21:08

      The UN is used to give quasi legality to the neo-colonialism of large, powerfull but declining nations. France is currently the culprit here but US, UK and others are not far behind. Africa beware, these powers want to control your resources as they always have. No country with oil and other comodities is safe from this aggression.

      bluntynatty - 2011-04-12 21:19

      Keep in mind that a lot of people are died because Gbagbo did not step down. All that blood for ONE MAN!and the UN only step up to there job once they got the OK from the AU!

  • YES - 2011-04-12 13:55

    I identify with people of Abidjan, who do not believe that Gbagbo is indeed arrested. If indeed the reports are true then the UN is in contravention of a fundamental legal principle not to unseat a democratically elected president of the country. It's good that Gbagbo did not voluntarily cede power when he was asked to as it made him the first incumbent president to be forced out of power by the UN. The Un's direct involvement in the demise of Gbagbo no longer makes it an independent body. Neither is its peace keeping force must be trusted in missions that it intends to undertaking in the future. The fact, that Ban ki Moon instructed "peace keeping" forces to assist France in military action to pursue Gbagbo means "peace keepng" forces must be received with suspicion in the future. While unfolding events might be true, however, the preferred president in Ivory Coast will not have easy with other members of community and those outside Ivory Coast. He will always be perceived as a stooge and a preferred candidate of the West - even when he is among his own people.

  • YES - 2011-04-12 13:56

    I identify with people of Abidjan, who do not believe that Gbagbo is indeed arrested. If indeed the reports are true then the UN is in contravention of a fundamental legal principle not to unseat a democratically elected president of the country. It's good that Gbagbo did not voluntarily cede power when he was asked to as it made him the first incumbent president to be forced out of power by the UN. The Un's direct involvement in the demise of Gbagbo no longer makes it an independent body. Neither is its peace keeping force must be trusted in missions that it intends to undertaking in the future. The fact, that Ban ki Moon instructed "peace keeping" forces to assist France in military action to pursue Gbagbo means "peace keepng" forces must be received with suspicion in the future. While unfolding events might be true, however, the preferred president in Ivory Coast will not have easy with other members of community and those outside Ivory Coast. He will always be perceived as a stooge and a preferred candidate of the West - even when he is among his own people.

  • Pundit - 2011-04-13 14:46

    "Residents of the commercial capital of Abidjan refrained from celebrating in public, still fearful of the many armed fighters prowling the streets and refusing to believe their leader Laurent Gbagbo had been arrested." Couldn't it be that the people in Abidjan just do not fancy this Ouattara chap? Gbagbo did get 46% of the votes you know.

  • pages:
  • 1