COTE D’IVOIRE: FORMER LEADER GBAGBO TO RETURN

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is expected to return to the country for the first time since he was arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in November 2011 for his role in the 2010-2011 post-election crisis.

Mr Gbagbo was acquitted of all charges on 15 January 2019 and the ICC upheld the acquittal in March 2021.

His flight from Brussels is scheduled to land in Abidjan at 1545 GMT.

Ivorian authorities have promised that he will be received “with all the honours due to a former head of state”.

Mr Gbagbo’s return is expected to be a boost for his party, the Ivorian Popular Front, which has been beset by division for several years now.

His political ambitions are unclear but he could play an important role as an opposition leader.

Victims of the post-election crisis have vowed to protest his return.

Mr Gbagbo still faces charges in Cote d’Ivoire for lost funds from the Abidjan branch of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).

He was sentenced to a 20-year-jail term in January 2018.

President Alassane Ouattara pardoned his co-accused in the case but excluded “persons facing charges before international courts”.

Source: BBC

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