The military court in Abidjan on Thursday, February 18, sentenced to life imprisonment three soldiers loyal to former President Gbagbo for the murder of former head of the junta, General Robert Guei, in 2002 in Ivory Coast.
After nearly a month of trial, the court found Commander Anselme Seka Yapo, former chief of the bodyguards of former first lady Simone Gbagbo guilty of “murder”; and General Dogbo Blé Brunot, former commander of the Republican Guard and Sergeant Daléba Sery guilty of “complicity in murder”.
Six of the 19 defendants were sentenced to ten years imprisonment and the others were acquitted.
General Guei, 61, was shot dead on September 19, 2002, the day of a failed coup against Gbagbo in Abidjan that had led to the northern takeover and the west by a rebellion.
Members of his family and his bodyguard were killed the same day.
Nicknamed “le père Noël en treillis,” Guei led a junta after the coup of December 24, 1999. He was defeated by Laurent Gbagbo for the presidency in 2000 and was ousted despite trying to hold on to power.
On Tuesday, the military prosecutor of Abidjan had requested life imprisonment for Commander Anselme Seka Yapo and General Brunot Dogbo Blé in the first trial in Ivory Coast for the assassination of the former head of state.
The defense lawyers had argued their release on Wednesday citing lack of evidence. They announced on Thursday their intention to appeal.