Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo arrested

Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo

Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo

By Nangayi Guyson, Abidjan – Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested by Forces loyal to  Alassane Ouattara and  taken  to the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, a Ouattara spokesperson in France told Reuters.

Separately, a French defence ministry official confirmed to Reuters that Gbagbo had been detained at his residence. He said he was arrested by Ouattara’s forces, backed by UN peacekeepers and French forces.

“He’s been taken to the Golf Hotel,” Herve Cohx, a political adviser and spokesperson, told Reuters.

A French diplomatic source denied, however, that French forces had penetrated Gbagbo’s residence.

News that he was being held was broken by a Gbagbo aide and confirmed by France’s ambassador and forces loyal to his rival Alassane Ouattara.

There were conflicting accounts about how Mr Gbagbo had been captured, with France’s ambassador saying he had been taken by troops loyal to Mr Ouattara.

French tanks earlier advanced on the presidential residence in Abidjan.

Mr Gbagbo has been refusing to cede power to Mr Ouattara after losing November’s presidential election.

UN peacekeepers have accused Gbabgo forces of endangering the civilian population, and had asked French troops in Ivory Coast to act against the defiant leader’s heavy weapons.