Laurent Gbagbo is in custody in Abidjan after French armoured vehicles moved on his compound.
The operation to arrest the Ivory Coast’s former president began overnight as French helicopter gunships attacked his bunker.
The former president then surrended to French forces without resistence.
It was a joint exercise involving the French, troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara and the United Nations.
Gbagbo and his wife and son are being held in the Golf Hotel, where his rival Ouattara has been staying.
Gbagbo refused to step down after Ouattara won last November’s election, according to the UN, reigniting a civil war, which has claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced more than one million people.
Despite his arrest, fighting could well continue with analysts claiming his capture could add to divisions within the country.
The UN accused Gbagbo’s forces of endangering civilians, and urged the French to move against the man who refused to stand down