Cote d'Ivoire's Gbagbo arrested by Outtara's force

16:22, April 12, 2011      

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File photo shows Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo speaking to his supporters during an election campaign at Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium in Abidjan, Oct. 29, 2010. The incumbent leader of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, surrendered and is now in custody, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said here Monday. (Xinhua/Zhao Yingquan)

Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo was arrested Monday in Abidjan by Alassane Ouattara's force with support of UN and French troops, French media reported.

"It is not the French forces who arrested Laurent Gbagbo," an unnamed official of the French Defense Ministry was quoted by local media as saying. "Those are the forces of Ouattara supported by UNOCI and Licorne."

France has authorized its force Licorne (Unicorn) stationed there to "neutralize" Gbagbo's force in joint operations with the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI).

The latest development came after the months-long political impasses between Gbagbo and Ouattara, who is internationally recognized as the winner of the Nov. 28 presidential runoff.

Since Gbagbo refused to leave office and hand over power to Ouattara, violent clashes between the two camps have dragged the country into unrest.

Herve Cohx, a spokesman for the Ouattara camp in Paris, said that Gbagbo and his wife were both arrested and taken to the Golf Hotel, the headquarters of Ouattara's force, according to France 2 television.

Meanwhile, Cote d'Ivoire's envoy to UN Youssoufou Bamba said hours after the detention that Gbagbo is now "alive and well" and will be put on trial.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Ouattara held lengthy talks over phone after the arrest of Gbagbo, according to the Elysee palace.
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