Gbagbo Army Officials Pledge Support to Ouattara

Published on Wednesday 13th April 2011

Several top army officials who fought for former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo have pledged their support to President Alassane Ouattara.The generals swore loyalty to Ouattara on Tuesday, a day after forces captured Gbagbo and ended his four-month struggle to remain in power.The United Nations says Gbagbo and his wife, Simone, are being held under U.N. protection at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan.  Pro-Ouattara forces searched the city Tuesday for fighters who backed the former leader, and brought them to the hotel as well.Ouattara has dismissed speculation that Gbagbo would be sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  He said those who have been arrested "will receive dignified treatment and their rights will be respected."Elsewhere in Abidjan, there was sporadic looting and heavy weapons fire Tuesday.  Pro-Ouattara forces are trying to round up members of Gbagbo's militant youth wing, particularly its leader Charles Ble Goude.Ouattara has called on all fighters to lay down their weapons following Gbagbo's capture Monday.In a national address Monday night, Ouattara called for peace after months of post-election violence killed hundreds of people and displaced up to a million.The U.N. human rights office said Tuesday that at least 536 people were killed in recent fighting in western Ivory Coast.Ouattara has vowed to set up a truth and reconciliation commission to hold accountable those who committed human rights abuses and other crimes.Pro-Gbagbo forces and fighters loyal to Ouattara have both been accused of killing and raping civilians since the political crisis began in December.Gbagbo had been president of Ivory Coast since being named the winner of the disputed 2000 election.  He survived a 2002 civil war that split the country into rebel- and government-controlled areas.Gbagbo then stayed in power more than five years past his mandate, as elections were repeatedly postponed.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.


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