8 August 2013

Nigeria: Ouattara Welcomes Release of Gbagbo Loyalists

Photo: Fraternité Matin
Laurent Gbagbo at the International Criminal Court.

Cote d'Ivoire's President Alassane Ouattara has said the recent provisional release of 14 supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo was a welcome development.

Ouattara stated this during a live interview programme on the Ivorian national television, RTI, as part of the nation's 53rd Independence Anniversary celebration.

"I am delighted at the decision; fundamentally, it is an act of appeasement. Such step will also help to accelerate the process of justice", he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ivorian government, in an official reaction to the bail decision, expressed hopes that it would lead to reconciliation with the opposition.

NAN reports that Gbagbo's son, Michel, the Chairman of Ivorian Popular Front, Affi N'Guessan and the party Youth Leader, Justin Kua, are among those granted freedom.

In a statement in Abidjan, Michel said he was interested in seeing an Ivorian political atmosphere that was devoid of rancour and acrimony.

"I want to see a more peaceful Côte d'Ivoire; I want to see a country increasingly reconciled, where politics will be played without violence.

"This provisional release is to me quite a positive step, it is part of the reconciliation process, our release shows that the government is part of reconciliation", he said.

He said he was a happy person talking freely, especially on the 53rd anniversary of the country's freedom from France.

The arrest of Michel, Gbagbo and his wife Simone on April 11, 2011, ended the Ivorian post-election crisis.

Both Ivorians and international organisations in the country have, on many occasions, urged the government to be honest in the reconciliation process to ensure the return of total peace. (NAN)

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