Côte d'Ivoire: New Videos Detail Capture of Former President

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

After the arrest in the city of Abidjan on April 11, 2011, of Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Cote d'Ivoire, and his wife Simone, some confusion remains regarding the process that led to his capture.

Website Abidjan.net [fr] has published a series of videos [fr] entitled, “The film of Laurent Gbagbo's arrest: New elements” (”Le Film de l'arrestation de Laurent Gbagbo: De nouveaux Éléments”), divided into four videos of 10-14 minutes each. The videos show the sequence of events of the Gbagbos’ arrest, from the bombing of their residence by French Special Forces, to the transfer of the Gbagbo family to the Hotel du Golf.

New elements

The first video [fr] of the series shows what happened in the room just after the capture of the Gbagbos. Simone Gbagbo, the former first lady, even says a few words to the camera; on the armed soldiers and Liberian mercenaries who were still fighting in Abidjan at the time, she says:

Les tirs ce n'est pas bon.

Gun shots are not a good thing.

She is asked to speak louder, but replies:

I cannot, I am out of breath.

The couple seem to be quite well treated, and Simone is even called “Maman” (Mother), a mark of respect in most African societies. This confirms that instructions given by Alassane Ouattara, now official president of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, were respected.

In the last video, one of the Ivorian militaries who took part in the arrest of the former President explains what happened in the “bunker”:

Désiré Tagro a appelé pour dire qu'il va sortir avec un drapeau blanc, (…) de ne pas tirer. (…) On a arrêté de tirer, et ils sont tous sortis en rang comme des rats. Gbagbo en tête dans un gilet pare-balle français. Nous avons pris Gbagbo seul, on l'a mis dans la voiture du Gal Wattao, direction le Golf

Désire Tagro (one of Gbagbo's former ministers, who died [fr] shortly after these events) called to say that he was going to come out waving a white flag, […] asking us not to shoot. […] We then stopped shooting, and they all came out in a line like rats. Gbagbo was at the head of the queue, wearing a French bulletproof vest. We took Gbagbo alone, we put him in a car with General Wattao, in the direction of the [Hotel du] Golf.

The same video also shows family members, who were arrested with the presidential couple, gathered in another room of the hotel:

Alleged Gbagbo interview

Following his arrest, Laurent Gbagbo was transferred [fr] to Korhogo, in the north of the Côte d'Ivoire, where he is now living under house arrest. He still has some support, especially among the Ivorian, and African diaspora [fr].

News even spread about an alleged interview [fr] that Laurent Gbagbo secretly gave to a journalist in Geneva.The journalist in question has explained that he received a text message from the former president, who used a mobile phone one of his jailers had forgotten.

Ivorian netizens reacted to news of the alleged interview with irony. Yopougon10, who comments under a blog post [fr] about this interview says:

mdr !!! Gbagbo a certainement autant gagné ces élections qu'il a réalisé cette interview !!

LOL!!! Gbagbo probably won the elections as much as he gave this interview!!

According to @Woizo_SP on social network Twitter:

Lol le sms de gbagbo pour interview: “c'est Laurent Gbagbo. Appelez-moi si vous pouvez, c'est pas une blague” mdrr ça sent le faux

Lol, Gbagbo's SMS for the interview: “It's Laurent Gbagbo, call me if you can, this is not a joke” Lol, it seems like a fake

The authentification of the interview hasn't been confirmed, and according to specialists, it is almost sure that the interview never took place.

A well treated former president

On Monday May 2, 2011, Laurent Gbagbo received a visit from three members of “The Elders” group: Koffi Anan, Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson. He said he wants the country to “return to normal”.

John James, BBC correspondent in Côte d'Ivoire posted a few pictures of the visit on his Facebook profile.

Lauren Gbagbo and Koffi Anan in Korhogo, Côte d'Ivoire. Image by John James, posted on Facebook.

Lauren Gbagbo and Koffi Anan in Korhogo, Côte d'Ivoire. Image by John James, posted on Facebook.

The preliminary hearing of Laurent Gbagbo is scheduled [fr] to happen on May 4, 2011, but according to journalist Théophile Kouamouo on his blog [fr], the date has been postponed to May 6.

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

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