ABIDJAN - A top military commander under Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday in the first trial involving an accused instigator of last year's post-election violence.

General Bruno Dogbo Ble headed the elite Republican Guard during the brief conflict, which killed more than 3,000 people and erupted after Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat to rival Alassane Ouattara in an election held in late 2010.

"Dogbo Ble is guilty of complicity in kidnapping, illegal detention and murder ... The tribunal condemns him to 15 years of military detention," lead judge Mathurin Yao Kanga told a court in the commercial capital Abidjan.

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