Alain Toussaint, in Paris.
Reuters/Jacky Naegelen By RFI
A spokesperson for Laurent Gbagbo accused France of carrying out a coup d’état in Côte d’Ivoire by allegedly using its special forces to capture the former president. Paris denies the claims, and has announced a 400-million-euro aid package for its former colony.
“Gbagbo was captured by French special forces, who took him to the Golf Hotel,” Gbagbo spokesperson Alain Toussaint, who is based in France, told reporters in Paris.
“It was a coup d’état which had no other aim but to gain control of the resources of Ivory Coast,” he claimed.
French officials have repeatedly denied arresting Gbagbo.
“Not a single French soldier set foot in the [presidential] residence,” Prime Minister François Fillon told MPs on Tuesday. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero said Toussaint must be “unwell” and out of touch with reality.
France will give 400 million euros to Côte d’Ivoire as one-off financial aid, the government announced on Tuesday.
The money is to help the country provide emergency supplies for its citizens, restore public services, restart the economy and allow Côte d’Ivoire to begin repaying its debts to international institutions, said Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.
Several French papers have accused France of overstepping its mandate in Côte d’Ivoire. French troops’ role in Ouattara’s ascent to power will ultimately weaken his standing with Ivorians, speculates the left-wing daily Libération.