Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the Hague

A key ally of Ivory Coast?s former President Laurent Gbagbo has gone on trial in Abidjan, in the first case of those accused over the 2010-11 post-election violence.

General Dogbo Ble was the commander of the Republican Guard under Mr Gbagbo.

He and several other security officials are accused of murdering a colonel during the six-month crisis.

Mr Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court. He denies charges of crimes against humanity.

Ivory Coast has recently accused Gbagbo loyalists based in neighbouring Ghana of carrying out cross-border raids to destabilise the government of President Alassane Ouattara.

The BBC?s John James says the courtroom in the buildings of the Court of Appeal was packed for the start of Gen Ble?s trial.

Our correspondent says that Gen Ble, who is from the same ethnic group as Mr Gbagbo, became the dominant military commander during the 2011 battle for control of Abidjan, operating from a well-fortified base at the presidential palace in the centre of the city.

He was one of the few generals not to switch allegiance to President Ouattara as the fighting came to a close.

Human rights activists have welcomed his trial but warn that it must appear to be fair otherwise it could further heighten political tensions in Ivory Coast.

Gen Ble has not yet entered a plea.

Source: BBC

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