Ex-first lady bodyguard in Ivory Coast charged

AP News
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Posted: Sep 14, 2012 4:06 PM
Ex-first lady bodyguard in Ivory Coast charged

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — The chief bodyguard of Ivory Coast's ex-first lady Simone Gbagbo has been charged in connection with the country's recent post-election violence, and he is a prime suspect in the 2002 assassination of former President Robert Guei, the military prosecutor said Friday.

The head of first lady Simone Gbagbo's bodyguard unit, Anselme Seka, who was known as "Seka Seka," has been charged with crimes including murder and embezzlement during the violence, which erupted when former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede office after losing the 2010 election, military prosecutor Ange Kouame said.

Besides the post-election violence, Seka was also questioned this week over the killing of Guei, who briefly served as president after a 1999 coup against President Henri Konan Bedie. Guei was killed in Abidjan along with his family in September 2002, on the same day a coup attempt was launched against Gbagbo.

The assassination of Guei marked one of the many dark turning points in Ivory Coast's descent. At least 3,000 people were killed, according to a United Nations count, in the most recent upheaval last year following Gbagbo's electoral loss.

In Abidjan, Seka was more feared than even the president's inner circle of guards — and he was especially dreaded by the media. Investigators have previously questioned him over the 2004 killing of Canadian-French journalist Guy-Andre Kieffer and the murder of French journalist Jean Helene in 2003, but he was not charged in those cases and he has not been questioned recently over them, Kouame said.