Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo arrested

Laura Rozen

Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested at his presidential compound in Abdijan, French embassy officials there have told the Associated Press.

Opposition forces arrested Gbagbo after French special forces attacked his presidential compound in the west African nation Monday.

The move comes after Ivory Coast has slipped into near civil war in recent weeks, following Gbagbo's refusal to cede power since losing November presidential elections to his rival Alassane Ouattara.

French troops and United Nations peacekeeping forces joined Ouattara's efforts last week to militarily oust Gbagbo from his presidential palace bunker in the former French African colony.

"The aim [of the military operation] is to ensure a bloodbath is averted," Frederick Daguillon, a spokesman for the 1,600-strong French military force in Ivory Coast, told Reuters Monday.

(Video of Laurent Gbagbo reportedly made after his arrest. Photo: Soldiers allied with Alassane Ouattara stand in a road in the Youpougon neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast Sunday, April 10, 2011. Human Rights Watch called on Alassane Ouattara to investigate and prosecute abuses by his forces and those supporting his rival, strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who was reportedly arrested Monday.: Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo.)