Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo captured


Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo has been captured and is now at the Abidjan headquarters of his rival Alassane Ouattara, according to diplomatic sources.

Toussaint Alain, a Gbagbo advisor, told the Reuters news agency that the incumbent president had been “arrested by French special forces in his residence” and “handed over to the rebel leaders”.

Jean Marc Simon, the French ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, confirmed the capture to the AFP news agency, saying that he was detained by soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president-elect of the country.

A Ouattara spokesman told Al Jazeera that Gbagbo, along with his wife and several advisors, was being held by at the Golf Hotel.

The hotel has been used as Outarra’s headquarters since a disputed presidential poll in late November.

Farhan Haq, a spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general, told Al Jazeera that Gbagbo surrendered to pro-Ouattara forces, and is now being held at the Golf Hotel under the protection of the UN mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI).

French officials denied that French special forces had detained the incumbent president, saying that the arrest was made by forces loyal to Ouatarra.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, spoke with Ouattara on the telephone at length shortly after Gbagbo’s arrest, AFP reported.