Congo-Kinshasa: Gbagbo Meets Jean-Pierre Bemba in Private Visit to DR Congo

Laurent Gbagbo à Abidjan

Kinshasa — Two weeks after his return to Côte d'Ivoire, former president Laurent Gbagbo has chosen Democratic Republic of Congo for his first trip abroad.

Gbagbo discreetly arrived in Kinshasa in the evening of Friday, July 2.

Reports indicated that he had been invited by former vice-president of the DRC Jean-Pierre Bemba for a private visit.

There has been no public communication from the DRC authorities over Gbagbo's visit.

Gbagbo met DRC President Félix Tshisekedi at a wedding party for one of Bemba's sons. But no official meeting with President Tshisekedi is scheduled.

In Kinshasa, Gbagbo was accorded privileges entitled to a former head of state.

The former Côte d'Ivoire president is expected to stay in the DRC until July 8, according to a statement from his handlers. He went to honour his fellow former detainee at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Like Gbagbo, Bemba spent 10 years at the ICC where he faced charges of crimes against humanity committed by his private army, called the Congolese Liberation Movement, which he sent to neighbouring Central African Republic from October 2002 to March 2003 to put down a coup. He was acquitted in 2018.

Both Gbagbo and Bemba forged a strong bond during their time in custody.

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