Cote d'Ivoire's pro-Gbagbo fighters agree to lay down arms

15:08, April 30, 2011      

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Fighters loyal to Cote d'Ivoire's deposed president Laurent Gbagbo have agreed to lay down arms weeks after the arrest of the strongman on April 11, the military disclosed on Friday.

The pro-Gbagbo militia had continued armed resistance in Yopougon, the stronghold of Gbagbo's supporters in the economic capital Abidjan.

Several militia groups put down their kalachnikovs, rocket launchers and other types of deadly weapons they were using at a disarmament ceremony organized on Friday in Abidjan in the presence of the country's authorities headed by President Alassane Ouattara.

The chief of general staff for the Cote d'Ivoire army, general Philippe Mangou, called on the fellow militia to resort to the path of peace.

"There were so many deaths during this crisis, there was too much blood that was shed. It's now time to put down our weapons," Mangou said.

The spokesman for the pro-Gbagbo militia, Guy Gbetry, reaffirmed the willingness of the youths to put down their weapons, but said they needed to be guaranteed of their security and will not be victimized.

The representative of President Ouattara, Leon Alla Kouakou, promised the youths who had voluntarily put down their weapons that they would not be victimized.

He, however, lamented over the persistent pockets of resistance despite the repeated calls for peaceful disarmament.

"It's unacceptable that we should continue hearing of more deaths in Yopougon whereas residents of other Abidjan districts are sleeping peacefully," he said, while giving an ultimatum for those who still have weapons in Yopougon to hand them over.

Cote d'Ivoire opened another chapter of its socio-political history since the arrest of Gbagbo by forces loyal to his presidential rival Ouattara.

Source: Xinhua
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