Fourteen years after Côte d’Ivoire’s former leader, General Robert Guei, was murdered, a trial has opened to try his alleged killers. Guei was the country’s military ruler for a year in 1999, before he was shot dead three years later, along with his wife and children in 2002.
The late morning session was interrupted but continued in the afternoon, where discussions on the backgrounds and hearing of the first defendants was done.
Nineteen people, including General Dogbo Blé, a strong ex-man Laurent Gbagbo’s regime, and Anselme Seka Yapo popularly known as “Seka-Seka,” former head of the bodyguards of Simone Gbagbo, were in the docks of the military court in Abidjan, to be tried for murder and complicity in murder.
This is the first time in Ivory Coast that we judge the assassination of a former head of state - Ange Kessi
Nicknamed “the trellis Santa” Robert Guei led the military junta installed in Côte d’Ivoire after the coup of December 24, 1999 against President Henri Konan Bédié.
General Guei had been defeated by Laurent Gbagbo in the presidential election of October 2000, and ousted in the streets while trying to maintain it.
Aged 61, he was shot dead September 19, 2002, the day of a failed coup against Gbagbo which led to the takeover of the north and west of the country by the rebellion. His wife, members of his family and his bodyguards were killed on the same day.
“This is the first time in Ivory Coast that we judge the assassination of a former head of state,” the government commissioner (military prosecutor) Ange Kessi was recently quoted as saying.