Kenya PM calls for Gbagbo amnesty

2011-04-13 22:34

Washington - Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a key mediator in Ivory Coast's political crisis, recommended on Wednesday that captured strongman Laurent Gbagbo be granted an amnesty.

Gbagbo was Ivory Coast's president for more than a decade until he was captured in his Abidjan bunker on Monday by forces loyal to the man most of the world says beat him in a November election, Alassane Ouattara.

Ouattara has said that Gbagbo and his entourage will stand trial for alleged crimes committed under his authority and says he wants to set up a truth and reconciliation commission.

But Odinga, who was appointed in December the African Union's envoy to the Ivorian crisis, advised against taking such a course.

"I talked about amnesty because I do not believe that retribution or a commission will solve the problems of Cote d'Ivoire," Odinga told a think-tank meeting in Washington.

"If you begin to trial Mr Gbagbo, he becomes a rallying point for his supporters, which is what you really don't want in a country that is coming from civil war. The civil war will not end.

"If you want to reconcile, give Gbagbo a safe exit," he said.

Gbagbo refused to respect the result of last November's presidential election, which UN observers said was won by Ouattara, and for four months his troops were locked in a bloody stand off with the victor's forces.

At least 900 deaths have been confirmed from the conflict and revenge attacks in Abidjan and the western Ivory Coast.

On Monday, after French and UN helicopters bombarded Gbagbo's home with rockets, Ouattara's men managed to storm the compound and arrest him. He has been taken to a "secure location" and will face trial, Ouattara has said.

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Read more on:    au  |  raila odinga  |  laurent gbagbo  |  kenya  |  ivory coast  |  west africa
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