News24

Ivory Coast's Ouattara urges calm

2011-04-12 08:43

Abidjan - Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo was captured on Monday by forces loyal to his rival Alassane Ouattara, who urged no reprisals or violence following the dramatic climax of a months-long crisis.

"I ask you to remain calm and show restraint," Ouattara, 69, the internationally recognised president of the west African nation, said in a televised address, while hailing "the dawn of a new era of hope".

He also announced the launch of "legal proceedings against Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and his allies," adding that "all measures are being taken" to protect them.

Gbagbo, 65, who had held power since 2000 and stubbornly refused to admit defeat in November's presidential election, also called for a laying down of arms in televised comments shortly after his capture.

Gbagbo was detained and taken to his rival's temporary hotel headquarters with his wife Simone and son Michel.

"The nightmare is over," Ouattara's prime minister, former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, said on the victorious camp's television channel, calling for any forces still loyal to Gbagbo to change sides.

The network showed footage of Gbagbo inside a room in the Golf Hotel along with several senior aides, wearing a vest, wiping himself down with a towel and then changing shirts. He appeared visibly tired but otherwise unharmed.

‘Don’t kill me’

A fighter who witnessed his capture said Gbagbo had put up no resistance when finally confronted by one of the commanders of the pro-Ouattara forces.

"When he found himself face to face with Gbagbo, in front of his desk, the first thing Gbagbo said was 'Don't kill me!'" said the witness, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ouattara spokesperson Anne Ouloto told AFP the former first couple had been brought to the Golf Hotel, where Ouattara's camp was for months besieged by Gbagbo's forces, at around 13:00, shortly after the arrest.

Speaking in New York, Ivory Coast's UN envoy Youssoufou Bamba vowed that Gbagbo would now stand trial.

"Mr Gbagbo was arrested, he is alive and well and he will be brought to justice for the crimes he has committed," Bamba said, adding that only Ivorian forces were involved in his detention.

The UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said Gbagbo and his wife were under the protection of the UN police at the Golf Hotel amid fears of reprisals or summary justice.

"UN gendarmes are now ensuring the security of Mr Gbagbo and his wife in an apartment in the Golf Hotel," Le Roy said. "To my knowledge most of the fighting has stopped but there are pockets of resistance."

Work of reconciliation


The UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Gbagbo's arrest came at the "end of a chapter that should never have been", as the world body confirmed about 800 dead in the conflict between the rival camps following the November election.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the "decisive turn" of events in Ivory Coast and the end of Gbagbo's "illegitimate claim to power" as a victory for democracy.

"For President Ouattara and the people of Cote d'Ivoire, the hard work of reconciliation and rebuilding must begin now," Obama said.

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore regretted that it had taken so long for Gbagbo to be arrested, but added: "I think that Ivory Coast must regroup around President Alassane Ouattara to move toward reconciliation, toward an economic upturn."

Ouattara in his address on Monday also said he wanted to create a truth and reconciliation commission to shed light on charges of human rights violations during the past four months of unrest.

After the capture, General Bruno Dogbo Ble, the head of Gbagbo's Republican Guard, called the UN to say he wanted to surrender and Le Roy said at least 200 Gbagbo fighters had laid down their weapons.

"It is an important step in the process, but we cannot call it euphoria. This is not over. It is extremely important that we maintain law and order inside Abidjan and the whole country," Le Roy said.

Special forces


Earlier, witnesses reported seeing pro-Ouattara forces entering Gbagbo's besieged residential compound, from which they had been repeatedly repulsed, while French and the UN armoured vehicles deployed on a road nearby.

Troops from the cocoa-rich nation's former colonial ruler France and from a UN peacekeeping force had been pounding Gbagbo's forces since Sunday in a bid to destroy the heavy weapons they were reportedly using against civilians.

A spokesperson for the UN mission in Ivory Coast (Unoci) said its peacekeepers and allies from France's Licorne force had aimed to destroy heavy weapons that were being used against civilians.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said the French leader had a lengthy phone conversation with Ouattara, a former deputy head of the International Monetary Fund, shortly after Gbagbo was arrested.

France said its military had taken part in the weekend raids at the UN chief's request, and firmly denied reports that its special forces had taken Gbagbo and handed him over to Ouattara's men.

The International Criminal Court's prosecutor has launched a preliminary investigation into the violence in Ivory Coast. Both sides have been accused of massacres during the stand-off and ensuing conflict, with mass graves reportedly found near Abidjan and hundreds killed or raped in the western town of Duekoue.

Comments
  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 09:40

    Imagine if, when he lost the election he handed over power and shook hands with the winner. He could have contested the next vote in four or five years as a man of integrity..... Africa does not understand democracy.

      penada - 2011-04-12 10:03

      imagine if france did not meddle in, and they had the vote recount, imagine if the UN did not sent air strikes (no resolution thereto was passed) to Ivory Coast, imagine if Ivory Coast did not have oil...imagine if the blind over your eyes was pulled off and you saw france and the UN for the oil hungry evil they are...

  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 12:49

    Thanks...You just proved my last comment!

      penada - 2011-04-12 13:46

      if your point was africa does not understand democracy...then i agree 100%, but the issue of ivory coast has little to do with democracy. do you understand that....are u even 100% sure that gbagbo lost the election? do u know what france did in algeria, all for oil...that led to a 10 yr civil unrest....maybe my friend you may may noy be understanding the issues

  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 14:01

    Yes, he lost. The UN and France only got involved when he refused to go. Besides 11 years is enough. Any longer and they seem to think they are ruler for life.

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:21

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:21

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:21

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:21

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:22

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:24

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:26

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

      penada - 2011-04-12 14:39

      i agree with you friend, 10 yrs is too long, but i dont think it is up to france to decide that, and truly the election might be rigged, why didnt outtarra want a recount, just becoause the un says the election was free and fair does then tyhat mean that was the case, do u believe in the UN. do u know how many civillians died in the hands of outtarra...do u know that france already has drilling plans to exctract the oil in IC...do u not feel the slightest bit annoyed by french/un involvemnt in this friend, cos i do...and that does not make me pro gbagbo....i am tired of these tyrants interchanging hands at the helm...the UN/France/UK/US/Canada they are all complicit in this...and you support them. if only u knew those countries care nothing for democracy and stabilty in the region....

  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 14:49

    I see you have read the "Dogs of War". BTW it's fiction not non-fiction...

  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 14:49

    I see you have read the "Dogs of War". BTW it's fiction not non-fiction...

  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 14:49

    I see you have read the "Dogs of War". BTW it's fiction not non-fiction...

  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 14:50

    I see you have read the "Dogs of War". BTW it's fiction not non-fiction...

  • Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-04-12 14:51

    I see you have read the "Dogs of War". BTW it's fiction not non-fiction...

      penada - 2011-04-12 15:20

      nope, havent read dogs of war, and i can differentiate fiction from non fiction....sorry abt the spamming....its my lousy explorer

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