Ivory Coast former first lady moved to north of country

Simone Gbagbo is in detention since her husband`s arrest on April 11.

Updated: Apr 24, 2011, 09:24 AM IST

Abidjan: Ivory Coast`s former first lady Simone Gbagbo, in detention in Abidjan since her husband`s arrest on April 11, has been moved to the north of the country, a minister said on Saturday.

She was "moved early yesterday to Odienne and placed under house arrest”, said Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio.

She had been held at Abidjan`s Golf Hotel where Alassane Ouattara, the country`s new president, has been based since November after winning Presidential Elections whose results Laurent Gbagbo refused to recognise.

Gbagbo and his wife were arrested by forces loyal to Ouattara, ending almost five months of a bitter stalemate sparked by the strongman`s refusal to give up power.

The two were initially detained at the Golf Hotel, but Gbagbo was transferred two days after his arrest to the northern town of Korhogo where he is also under house arrest.

Authorities last week freed scores of other people arrested alongside the former president and his wife.

Gbagbo was captured after United Nations and French forces bombarded his residence in Abidjan where he had been holed up, allowing Ouattara`s forces to move in.

Ouattara`s administration is struggling to re-establish security and basic services disrupted during fierce fighting earlier this month in the west African nation, the world`s leading cocoa producer, in a bid to topple Gbagbo.

However, some hardcore Gbagbo fighters are yet to disarm and resisted an offensive this week to dislodge them from their hideout in Abidjan`s northwestern Yopugon district.

On Friday, the new President ordered his top Army commanders to ask militia leaders still active in the main city Abidjan to lay down weapons or be disarmed by force.

Ouattara said he expects to take oath of office in the second half of May and voiced hope Legislative Elections will be held before the end of the year.

Bureau Report