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Ivory Coast standoff ends with strongman's capture

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — The elected president of this West African nation heralded "the dawn of a new era of hope" Monday when a bloody, four-month standoff ended with the capture of his rival, the strongman who lost the presidential election but refused to give up power.

Video of former President Laurent Gbagbo, 65, being led into a room in a white undershirt was broadcast on television as proof of his detention. He would not sign a statement formally ceding power after losing the Nov. 28 election to economist Alassane Ouattara, 69.

More than 1 million civilians fled their homes and untold numbers were killed in the power struggle between the two rivals that threatened to re-ignite a civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer. Gbagbo's security forces have been accused of using cannons and machine guns to mow down opponents during the standoff.

"After more than four months of post-electoral crisis, marked by so many human lives lost, we are finally at the dawn of a new era of hope," Ouattara said in an address to the nation.

Ouattara cut short speculation that Gbagbo, who ruled for a decade, would be delivered to the International Criminal Court at The Hague top face charges, calling for an Ivorian investigation into the former president, his wife and their entourage. Ouattara also said he intended to establish a truth and reconciliation commission and called on all fighters to disarm.

President Barack Obama welcomed Gbagbo's capture, calling it a victory for the democratic will of the Ivorian people.

Ivory Coast standoff ends with strongman's capture 04/11/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 11, 2011 11:41pm]
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