Key Gbagbo ally arrested in Ivory Coast

A former defence minister and key ally of ex-Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested in Abidjan, his lawyer said Saturday.

AFP| Updated: Oct 26, 2014, 01:47 AM IST

Abidjan: A former defence minister and key ally of ex-Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested in Abidjan, his lawyer said Saturday.

Moise Lida Kouassi, an official of the opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party, was detained on Thursday evening, his lawyer Felix Bobre told AFP.

The authorities did not reply to requests for information about the arrest, according to the lawyer and a member of Kouassi`s family.

"Despite my efforts, I don`t know why he was arrested nor where he is being held," Bobre said.

The lawyer said it was rumoured that Kouassi was being held for a breach of state security.

He said an Ivorian magistrate and relative of Kouassi, Noel Kouadjene, had also been detained.

A government spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Kouassi belongs to a hardline wing of the FPI, created by Gbagbo, that calls for the release of the former president -- who has been in detention awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for more than two years.

The former defence minister was involved in a punch-up during a party meeting in July with a member of a moderate faction that wants the party to take part in 2015 elections.

Kouassi fled to Togo after post-election violence in 2010-11 that left 3,000 dead, and was extradited to Ivory Coast in June 2012 for allegedly taking part in "subversive activities".