by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Feb 05, 2013
Ghana has arrested and extradited Major Jean-Noel Abehi, a key figure in Ivory Coast's security services under ousted president Laurent Gbagbo, an Ivorian security official said Tuesday.
Abehi, together with Jean-Yves Dibopieu, who used to head a pro-Gbagbo student union, "were arrested on Monday in Ghana," a senior security official said.
The two men were handed over at the border on Tuesday morning, a source close to the interior ministry said.
In a statement read on public television, the interior ministry confirmed the arrest of "several" people including Abehi "in a police operation run jointly with Ivory Coast and Ghana".
Abehi "is currently being held in Ivory Coast as part of legal proceedings involving him that are already under way," the ministry said. No details of the other people arrested were given.
Former commander of the armoured squadron at the Agban paramilitary police barracks in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan, Abehi fled after a bloody post-electoral crisis from December 2010 to April 2011, when Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in elections.
Abehi is considered by his critics and by international non-governmental organisations to be one of the main instigators of atrocities committed by Gbagbo's regime, particularly during its last throes.
Gbagbo was ousted, and elected President Alassane Ouattara took up his functions at an estimated cost of 3,000 lives.
A former head of the Student and School Federation of Ivory Coast (FESCI), a powerful trade union that backed Gbagbo throughout his rule, Dibopieu is close to Charles Ble Goude, ex-leader of the "Young Patriots" who served as a militia acting for the former regime.
Ble Goude was arrested on January 17 in Ghana and extradited to Ivory Coast the following day. Once known as "the general of the streets" because of his ability to mobilise supporters, he has been charged by the Ivorian courts with war crimes. He has also been under UN sanctions since 2006.
Gbagbo is currently being held by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he has been charged with crimes against humanity.
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