Abidjan: A militia leader accused of grave crimes during Ivory Coast`s 2010-11 post-election violence was taken into custody on Saturday not far from the national park where his forces had been illegally occupying in the country`s volatile western region, officials said.
Amade Oueremi, a native of Burkina Faso, fought alongside forces backing President Alassane Ouattara in the conflict, which erupted after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office despite losing the November 2010 election.
At least 3,000 people died in five months of fighting, according to the United Nations.
Denis Badouon, vice mayor in the western town of Duekoue, said Oueremi was taken into custody on Saturday morning in a village close to Mount Peko National Park, where the militia leader had been based since 1986, according to a UN report.
He said multiple military sources had confirmed Oueremi`s detention.
"I can confirm that he was arrested in the village of Bagohouo, not far from Mount Peko," Badououn said.
A military commander, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the operation, said Oueremi had turned himself in after the military bolstered its presence in the region, apparently in preparation for an operation to remove him from the national park.
It was not immediately clear whether Oueremi had been charged with a crime.
In its 2011 report on the post-election conflict, Human Rights Watch said Oueremi was "among the main perpetrators" of the notorious March 2011 massacre in Duekoue that killed hundreds of Gbagbo supporters.