By Henry Gombya
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has confirmed that Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo has indeed been captured. Speaking at a press conference at his offices in London, Mr Hague said Gbagbo has since been taken to the Golf Hotel to meet with his nemesis Allasane Ouattara.
Earlier today we received news that French Special Forces had broken into the residence of Gbagbo and arrested him. According to a Reuters news report, Mr Gbagbo was handed over to soldiers royal to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of last year’s presidential elections. Gbagbo has been resisting to accept that he lost the election to Ouattara and has used the country’s armed forces loyal to him to continue running the country as leader.
A French foreign ministry source reached to confirm that French forces had detained Gbagbo had told Reuters: “We have no evidence that can confirm that.” Earlier on Monday a column of more than 30 armoured vehicles advanced towards Gbagbo’s residence in Abidjan, a witness told Reuters, and Alain said they had penetrated the building. “It’s French forces taking in the rebels,” he said. “French special forces are inside the residence.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Sunday issued an order to UN troops in the country’s capital Abidjan to mount an attack on Gbagbo’s residence where the army had been using heavy weapons to attack the Golf Hotel which Ouattara has been using as his residence and offices since he was elected President. The handing over of Gbagbo to forces supporting Ouattara brings to an end a saga of who runs Cote d’Ivoire as the two politicians each claimed to be President.
Thousands of people have lost their lives since Gbagbo refused the voter’s choice for President. Many more have died in the last couple of weeks as Gbagbo desperately held onto the leadership while his opponent was helped by the international community after deciding he had won the elections and have since asked Gbagbo to step down.
Ban Ki-Moon’s order Sunday looks like it has finally brought the curtains down on a sad saga that has seen Ivoirians walking in fear and looking dazed as they struggled to find food and water in the capital Abidjan. It has also set new precedents unlike in other situations where UN troops have looked on helplessly as marauding troops massacred their own people like in Rwanda, Srebrenica and other countries.
This is a breaking story and we will continue to update it as we get more details.