Ivory Coast – France arrests Gbagbo, conflict coming to an end?

Ivory Coast – France arrests Gbagbo, conflict coming to an end?

In a report by the BBC¹, it has claimed that hundreds of innocents have been killed in the Ivory Coast. It asserted that at least 800 died to which they quoted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Ivory Coast is in turmoil after the 2010 elections in December which Laurent Gbagbo has controlled power after what was recognized by the international community as him losing. Alassane Ouattara the internationally recognized winner of the elections is currently trying to gain power with the help of the United Nations. (UN)

After the elections there were a number of issues as to who would control the country. Currently as it stands it seems that Laurent Gbagbo is currently the guy in the big seat, controlling the presidential office which effectively runs the country. However before all the elections there were further problems in the Ivory Coast to which effect the country was split into two after a long and bloody civil war where the French and the UN intervened. The north was controlled by the rebels and the south controlled by the government. It was hoped that the recent elections would solve the problems between the two and unite the country.

The ceasefire was breached in late January of 2011 after the situation intensified and after it was reported that violence in certain regions flared.

Meanwhile France increased its troop numbers from 900 to 1,600 in the city of Abidjan, the former capitol of the troubled nation. The UN has around 8,000 troops in the Ivory Coast and is protecting Alassane Ouattara and facilitating his running of the country.

Mr Quattara's supporters according to the BBC are also further trying to oust Gbagbo out of power meeting little or no resistance by the national army. However Gbagbo still has the republican guard protecting him in his presidential building in Abidjan to which end it is stated that Quattara supporters have found it hard to take over the city. However the report further claims that the Quattara supporters "launched an offensive to oust Mr Gbagbo on Monday, sweeping down from the north to capture the capital, Yamoussoukro, and the key port of San Pedro."

ECOWAS the Western-bloc African union has also stated that it would facilitate the stepping down of Gbagbo and his urged him to step down to end the violence. So it appears that Gbagbo's days are numbered in a similar way to the situation that is on-going in Libya.

Though military intervention in forcefully removing Gbagbo has been discussed and is a possibility if Quattara is unsuccessful in his efforts to gain power.

The question however remains still, whether or not the polls were cheated and that is still on-going as there hasn't been evidence to prove or disprove whether the elections were in-fact doctored. Which is why Gbagbo has stated that he would like a recount in the numbers if anything before whatever fate takes place. However the succession of the international community to leap onto this situation bears the question on whether it has started an investigation into the matter of the claims made by both sides and not purely just one side.

05/04/2011 – Quattara's forces have captured the residence of Gbabgo according to reports from the BBC². This comes as the UN response changed significantly on Monday as the BBC reported that French and UN helicopters had made attacks near the presidential residence. It isn't clear whether Mr. Gbabgo has been captured however the BBC articles go onto an interview with Patrick Achi, a spokesperson for Mr. Quattara. It states that if Mr. Gbabgo were to be found he would be "…arrested and brought to justice".

The UN response

In a response similar to the situation in Libya, the 8,000 UN peacekeeping force and the 1,600-strong French force have been given the go ahead by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It was yesterday on April 4th 2011 that the Secretary General 'instructed' UN troops to take "necessary measures" to protect the civilian population.¹

The announcement came after Security Council resolution 1975 was adopted uncontested unanimously last week.  The resolution strongly condemns attacks by militias and mercenaries against a UN peacekeeping force. The resolution also gave power to the Secretary General to order UN forces to take all "necessary measures" to protect the civilian population.

The French Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for the UN, stated that the operation to neutralize Gbabgo's heavy weapons is on-going. – With efforts from French attack helicopters to either disable or destroy heavy weapons which would include the numerous amount of tanks and other armoured vehicles the Ivory Coast possess.

Negotiating a surrender… or buying time?

05/04/2011 – Ivory Coast – After bloody fighting which is said to have taken the lives of at least 1,000 people and displaced over a million it is said Gbabgo is now surrendering. It comes after pro-Quattara forces surrounded and captured the residence of the self-declared president, according to CNN². The report could not confirm the whereabouts of Mr. Gbabgo but stated that he could still be in his residence. President Obama also called on Gbabgo to step down immediately and to call on anyone fighting for him to lay down their arms.

Though Gbabgo is currently only negotiating his surrender.

The UN³ according to a BBC report has also confirmed that 3 Generals under the loyalty to Mr. Gbabgo are also negotiating terms for surrender. According to this report the "deputy commander" of the pro-Quattara forces, a Mr. Cisse Sindou, had told the BBC that "We won the battle. Gbagbo is with the French. He is negotiating how to leave the country". However earlier it was clear that if captured, Mr. Gbagbo would have been "…arrested and brought to justice", said the spokesperson Patrick Achi for Quattara. It does seem at the moment that there could be a stoppage in violence which I'm sure the Ivorian people are more than jubilant about and possibly a re-unification of the country itself.

Arrested

11/04/2011 – The BBC reports that Mr. Gbagbo has been arrested by French special forces. As pro-Ouattara forces were fighting with pro-Gbago forces in the city of Abidjan, French forces moved in, via French armored vehicles into the residence of Mr. Gbabgo and swiftly arrested him under the prying cover of French attack helicopters. He is apparently under the protection and guard of the United Nations (UN) forces in the Ivory Coast.

The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations (UN) stated that arrest of Mr. Gbagbo will have brought an end to the "unnecessary" violence which has continued for months since late December 2010. Further stating that the UN would support the new government run by Alassane Dramane Ouattara.

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