After hiding in his bunker for a week, Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo was captured by French forces and handed to the rebel opposition, a Gbagbo aide told Reuters. It was the first time the French got involved in the ground operation to oust him; the nation had been assisting rebel forces in their former colony from the air in a humanitarian mission to save civilians. Hundreds have died in the civil war that broke out over an election dispute between those loyal to Alassane Ouattare, who is widely recognized to have won the presidential bid, and Gbagbo, who refused to give up power. A French military spokesman told The New York Times they took the move to prevent a "bloodbath." Gbagbo's chief of staff called it "planned murder."