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Côte d'Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo's Fall

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011.

The breaking news came in at 1 pm GMT on April 11, 2011: Laurent Gbagbo was arrested at his residence in Cocody, with his wife, Simone, and close entourage. Five months after he refused to hand the power to internationally recognised new president of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, the crisis in the country has now seemingly found its epilogue.

The sequence of events from April 10 to 11, 2011

The French presidential office (@Elysée) [fr] announced via Twitter that France had accepted to take part in a new military intervention in Côte d'Ivoire on April 10, 2011:

@Elysée: En accord avec le Président #Ouattara, le SG #ONU a demandé à N #Sarkozy la poursuite de la participation française aux opérations ONUCI

@Elysée: In agreement with President Ouattara, the UN Secretary General [Ban Ki Moon] asked N. Sarkozy to continue the French involvement in the UNOCI [Côte d'Ivoire] operation

By making this statement, the Elysée justified resuming [fr] the military bombardments targeted at the Presidential Residence in Cocody, Abidjan, where Laurent Gbagbo was bunkering down. This decision was made in response to an attack [fr] directed at the Golf Hotel, the former headquarters of Ouattara's camp, by Gbagbo's Forces of Defense and Security (FDS). The bombings began at 5 pm GMT (Abidjan Time).

This video was posted by Youtube User terryko0 on April 11. Its title: “Abidjan 10-04-2001. Tirs de missiles contre la résidence de Laurent Gbagbo” (Missiles fired at Laurent Gbagbo's residence):

The offensive deeply weakened Laurent Gbagbo's camp, as following footage shot a few hours after the attack, can attest, posted to YouTube on April 10, 2011, by user Atteby. In it you can see a wounded Sidiki Bakaba, Ivorian actor who recently gave an interview on Slate Afrique [fr] website:

In this video, uploaded to YouTube by user atteby, medical staff are shown in action, healing soldiers in the presidential residence:

In the morning of April 11, 2011, the following video shot from Blockhaus, an Ebrié borough in the district of Cocody, Abidjan, showed tanks belonging to UNICORN, the French force in Côte d'Ivoire on the move. According to lgconnectTV, the user who posted the media on YouTube on April 11, they were headed to Laurent Gbagbo's residence:

At 11 am GMT, international French television channel France24 confirmed the information on its live coverage page [fr]:

Armoured vehicles, backed by an helicopter, are approaching the residence of the outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo, according to testimonies gathered by AFP.

According to a Reuters press release published two hours later, Laurent Gbagbo was then arrested by French Special Forces, and handed to Ouattara's Republican Forces. France24, referring to the latter wrote :

[BREAKING NEWS] Reuters reports that Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested by French Special Forces

Peace against all odds

Following their arrestation, the Gbagbo couple was taken to the Hotel du Golf, under the close escort of international forces. In the following video broadcasted by TCI, a TV channel known to be close to Alassane Ouattara, Laurent Gbagbo is handed a bulletproof vest to protect his life as he is being arrested:

Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president of Côte d'Ivoire ordered his forces not to violate Laurent Gbagbo and wife Simone's human rights.

TCI also posted another video in which the former president Gbagbo calls for the end of fightings, and for the return to peace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qca5nDIw4yc

Je souhaite qu'on arrête les armes, qu'on rentre dans la partie civile de la crise, et qu'on la conclue rapidement pour que le pays reprenne.

I want us to stop using weaponry, I want us to enter the civilian part of the conflict, and end the crisis as fast as possible for the country to restart.

In an address to the Ivorians and to the international community on April 11, 2011, Alassane Ouattara reaffirmed his will to enforce the rule of law, guarantee the “physical integrity” of Laurent Gbagbo and his wife, and take the first steps towards rendering justice.

This drive for peace is shared by many Ivorians, such as Diouf Mamy (@mymaluydealbi) who wrote on Twitter:

@mymaluydealbi: Après ce qui s'est passé, j'espère que Ouattara sera le président de tous les Ivoiriens sans exception. Que la paix revienne en #civ2010

@mymaluydealbi: After all that's happened, I hope Ouattara will be the president of all the Ivorians without exception. Let peace be back in Côte d'Ivoire. #CIV2010

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011.

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