In Ivory Coast, Defeated President Captured
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
The arrest ends a deadly political standoff that disrupted valuable cocoa exports and threatened to return the West African nation to civil war. Ivory Coast's new president, Alassane Ouattara, said Gbagbo will go on trial. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said his arrest would send a message to dictators and tyrants around the world.
HILLARY CLINTON: So that's a dramatic turn of events because for the past two weeks, we have seen fierce fighting going on here in the commercial capital Abidjan. Civilians blockaded in their houses and it looks as if the guns have fallen silent for now.
SIEGEL: Well, Ofeibea, what happens now to the Laurent Gbagbo?
QUIST: But it seems that Ouattara's people are pushing for some sort of trial on human rights abuses. But I have to add here that it's not only Laurent Gbagbo's forces who are accused of targeting civilians with heavy weapons, especially Gbagbo's side, but also the pro-Ouattara forces are also accused of human rights abuses, and that has been said by many humanitarian organizations and others, especially in western Ivory Coast, which is a tinder box. So both sides could be facing court cases.
SIEGEL: Now, I gather there are still a great many men with arms in Ivory Coast. Will today's arrest actually stop the conflict?
QUIST: So the U.N. says, that is the priority and certainly civilians are going to say that must be a priority. Restoring law and order must be number one because they are absolutely terrorized.
SIEGEL: That's NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Ofeibea, thank you.
QUIST: Always a pleasure.
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