Gbagbo aide accuses France of Ivory Coast 'coup'

12th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A spokesman for ousted Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo on Tuesday accused French special forces of carrying out a coup d'etat in its former colony on behalf of his rival Alassane Ouattara.

"It was a coup d'etat which had no other aim but to gain control of the resources of Ivory Coast," Alain Toussaint told reporters in Paris.

"Gbagbo was captured by French special forces, who took him to the Golf Hotel," where Ouattara has his headquarters, he said.

Toussaint demanded that Gbagbo and his family be released.

France has repeatedly denied claims that French troops had arrested Gbagbo when he was captured Monday in a bunker in Abidjan, insisting they never set foot in his compound despite having bombarded it from the air.

Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero immediately dismissed Toussaint's accusations, telling AFP that "Mr. Toussaint must be unwell.

"I would be happy if he got back in touch with reality," he said.

French former foreign minister Roland Dumas also said earlier Tuesday that French troops had captured Gbagbo, who had held power since 2000 but stubbornly refused to admit defeat in a presidential election last November.

"The truth is clear and it is that the French army, on political orders, delivered his (Ouattara's) adversary," Dumas told France Inter radio.

"It even brought him to the home of his adversary, a little like in traditions of old, in antiquity," said Dumas, a senior lawyer who visited Ivory Coast recently to show support for Gbagbo.

© 2011 AFP

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