Gbagbo: I'm still the 'real president of Côte d'Ivoire'

A spokesperson for Côte d’Ivoire’s toppled ruler Laurent Gbagbo who has been under house arrest since April, says Gbagbo still considers himself the country’s legal president.

Spokesperson Katinan told the Associated Press by telephone late on Thursday that Gbagbo has “told his lawyers to declare loud and clear that he is the [real] president of Ivory Coast.”

Removed from power in April with the help of French and United Nations after he refused to cede power in a November election, the former leader says those who hold the “legal and constitutional power” in the country are now in prison or in exile.

He called France’s intervention in the country “abusive” and said international powers “violated the sovereignty of country” when they removed him by force from the bunker beneath the presidential residence where he was hiding in April.

Gbagbo refused to step down when Alassane Ouattara won November’s presidential election, according to results certified by the United Nations. - AP

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