Gbagbo declares end of war in ex-rebel zone

Bouake- Côte d'Ivoire (PANA) -- President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d'Ivoire on Monday in the ex-rebel zone of Bouake officially declared the end of the civil war that erupted 22 September 2002 and dichotomised the country.
"The war is over! The war is over! People of Côte d'Ivoire, the war is over!" shouted Gbagbo in the presence some 50,000 persons gathered at the municipal stadium in Bouake.
Gbagbo, who was flanked by prime minister Guillaume Soro of the consensus government at the occasion attended by Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali, Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Joao Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau, and Yayi Boni of Benin.
The first deputy-speaker of the Angolan National Assembly, the Prime Minister of Niger and the Senegalese Foreign Minister, as well as almost all the members of the diplomatic corps in Abidjan attended this colourful ceremony.
The pinnacle of the occasion was the incineration of arms and ammunition, thus symbolically marking the beginning of the disarmament process of the ex-belligerents of the Ivorian crisis.
Gbagbo and Soro received two AK-47 rifles from the chiefs of staff of the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FDS-CI), Brigadier General Philippe Mangou, and his counterpart of the Armed Forces of the New Forces (FAFN), General Soumaïla Bakayoko, followed by the release of a dove into the air.
Earlier on arrival in Bouake by road around 7.
30 am (local and GMT time), Gbagbo, who had not set foot in the headquarters of the ex- rebels since 2002, when he went there to preside over the final of the national football cup, ran a lap of honour with Soro.

30 july 2007 21:38:00

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