(11 Apr 2011)
Ivory Coast – Celebrations after Gbagbo captured in bunker
Abidjan, 11 April 2011
1. People celebrating after the arrest of Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo
2. Civilians on balcony
3. Wide of smoke rising in the distance
Ivory Coast – Profile of arrested former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo
Abidjan – 4 December 2010
4. Incumbent Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo waving to supporters
5. Gbagbo giving oath during swearing in ceremony
Abidjan – 8 December 2010
8. SOUNDBITE (French) Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast Presidential candidate:
“The Conference of Heads of State and Government invites Mr Gbagbo to respect the election results without delay, in the best interests of the Ivory Coast.”
On April 11th 2011 jubilant civilians were celebrating the arrest of Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbago in Abidjan.
People were jumping around, shouting and punching the air as news of Gbagbo’s detention spread across the city.
On the streets of Abidjan one resident said he was very happy that Gbagbo had finally bee ousted.
“We have suffered a lot but we are free now,” he said.
Women and children cheered and waved their arms in the air, happy to be free of the former president who has been trying to cling to power since the election on November 28th, won by his rival Alassane Ouattara.
Other residents recognised the efforts of foreign powers to remove Gbago from power.
“May God give our president Alassane Ouattara a long life and also Soro they freed us from republican guards, we salute France and United States of America,” said one woman.
Laurent Gbagbo was arrested on April 11th, almost five months after refusing to step down following his defeat in 2010’s presidential election in Ivory Coast.
An eyewitness at the Golf Hotel where election winner Alassane Ouattara had been trying to run the presidency said he saw Gbagbo, his wife and son enter the hotel around midday (1400 GMT).
Prime Minister Guillaume Soro said Gbagbo gave up when troops loyal to Ouattara entered his compound.
A senior adviser to Ouattara said it was Ivorian forces who arrested Gbagbo – French forces were reportedly on the perimeter.
He was seen soon after in a hotel guarded by U.N. peacekeepers.
Gbagbo won 46 percent of November’s vote and had held power for a decade – five years beyond his mandate.
For years he had postponed holding a presidential election.
When the country’s election commission and international observers declared he lost the election, he stayed put.
The former history professor defied near-universal pressure to cede power to Ouattara.
The two set up parallel administrations that vied for control – Ouattara drew his support from the U.N. and world powers – while Gbagbo maintained his hold over the country’s military and security forces.
The UN passed resolutions allowing its peacekeepers to intervene to protect civilians.
The dispute over the presidency had pushed the world’s largest cocoa producer to the brink of a renewed civil war.
Hundreds of civilians were killed in the postelection violence.
On May 6th Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara took the oath of office, five months after the election that nearly ripped the African nation in two and left hundreds dead when the country’s strongman refused to concede defeat.
Ouattara spent much of that time barricaded inside a hotel, surrounded by troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, who used the army to terrorise the population.
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