Abidjan - Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo, arrested on Monday, has been placed under house arrest, President Alassane Ouattara's government announced late on Tuesday - without saying where.

In a statement, Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou-Kouadio recalled how the former strongman had been arrested after fighting between government forces and pro-Gbagbo troops “assisted by Liberian and Angolan mercenaries plus militias”.

“Pending the opening of a judicial inquiry, Mr Laurent Gbagbo and some of his companions have been placed under house arrest,” he said.

The government did not state where Gbagbo was being held, nor who the “companions” were.

Gbagbo was picked up on Monday by pro-Ouattara forces helped by the United Nations and France, and taken with his wife Simone and others to his rival's headquarters.

The UN said earlier on Tuesday he was still in the hotel and had not been moved out of the economic capital, contrary to first reports by a spokesperson. - Sapa-AFP