Tag Archives: Cote d’voire

Parliamentary election begin months after Presidential election birth violence.

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Gbagbo was president during a turbulent period between 2000 and 2011, when civil warfare split the country.

Campaigning for parliamentary elections in Ivory Coast began on Friday, with the March 6 vote coming four months after a presidential election marred by violence.

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The opposition boycotted the presidential poll, calling for “civil disobedience”. But it has decided to take part in the vote to elect members of a National Assembly currently dominated by the ruling party.

For the first time in a decade, the branch of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) led by former president Laurent Gbagbo will put forth candidates, as part of coalition called Together for Democracy and Sovereignty (EDS).

EDS has forged an alliance with the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), headed by former President Henri Konan Bedie, who was allied with the ruling RHDP in the last legislative elections in December 2016.

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Between the PDCI and RHDP, they obtained an absolute majority with 167 out of 255 seats.

Now Bedie says he intends to win the majority with Gbagbo to “avoid the consolidation of absolute power in our country” and “to reconcile the Ivorian people”.

The election could he held in the absence of Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, after the 55-year-old travelled to France for a week for medical treatment.

RHDP executive director Adama Bictogo said he “would have like for him to be by our side, so that together he and I could have launched this campaign”.

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The opposition’s participation in the vote comes after signs of appeasement from the government, including the conditional release of several opposition figures arrested after the presidential election of October 31, 2020.

That election was easily won by Ouattara, but the opposition contested the result, saying his bid for a third term was unconstitutional.

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The violence that followed the election left 87 dead and nearly 500 injured.

The bloodshed led to all parties calling for peaceful parliamentary elections.

The campaign, which officially ends on March 4, began as Gbagbo’s supporters eagerly await his return to Ivory Coast, announced by his party for mid-March.

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Gbagbo was president during a turbulent period between 2000 and 2011, when civil warfare split the country.

He refused to accept that Ouattara beat him in a 2010 presidential poll and some 3,000 people died in post-election violence before Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011.

He was transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to be tried for crimes against humanity.

But Gbagbo was acquitted in January 2019, and has since lived in Brussels pending a possible appeal.

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The ICC has authorised Gbagbo to leave Belgium on the condition that the country he wishes to go to agrees to receive him.

Ouattara has stated several times stated he is in favour of Gbagbo’s return.

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#Newsworthy

Minister discusses return with ex president, Laurent Gbagbo.

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Gbagbo’s return is one of the big issues in talks on ending the post-election rift, gathering the government on one side

An Ivory Coast minister said Thursday he would shortly meet ousted ex-president Laurent Gbagbo to discuss his return home to help heal national divisions.

In an interview with AFP, National Reconciliation Minister Kouadio Konan Bertin said he would go to the Ghanaian capital of Accra next week.

From there, “I am going to Brussels to meet Laurent Gbagbo,” he said.

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The “conditions” for the former president’s return will be discussed, he said, without giving details.

The minister gave no date for the talks, but “the principle (of the meeting) has been reached,” and it was being carried out with the approval of President Alassane Ouattara, Gbagbo’s long-standing rival.

“I am acting in his name,” he said.

Gbagbo, 75, was ousted in April 2011 after refusing to concede electoral defeat to Ouattara, triggering violence that claimed around 3,000 lives.

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He and a former right-hand man, Charles Ble Goude, were tried on charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

They were acquitted in January 2019 and remain free pending the outcome of an appeal. Gbagbo is currently in Brussels.

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The former president retains significant political clout at home, through his party and a regional stronghold.

After bitterly contested presidential elections in October, Ouattara offered an olive branch to Gbagbo, apparently believing that his predecessor could help ease tensions.

Ouattara issued him with a diplomatic passport in addition to an ordinary one, but since then, there has been no movement in Gbagbo’s plans — initially set for December — to come back.

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Bertin, who trailed a distant third in the October 31 poll, described Gbagbo as a “major figure” in Ivorian politics “whose opinion should be taken into account.”

His return should be “negotiated… in order to consolidate social peace,” he said.

Bertin also said he would go to The Hague to meet a close aide of Goude, who also wants to return.

Gbagbo’s return is one of the big issues in talks on ending the post-election rift, gathering the government on one side and opposition figures who boycotted the poll on the other.

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The opposition said that Ouattara had already served two terms in office and his third term violated the constitution — a claim Ouattara denies on the grounds that a constitutional revision reset the presidential tenure to zero.

The ICC has given Gbagbo authorisation to travel outside of Belgium, provided the host country accepts him.

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#Newsworthy

Cote D’ivoire sets 60,000 seats stadium ahead 2023 AFCON.

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Ivory Coast inaugurated Saturday its new 60,000-seat Olympic stadium, built with the help of China, in Ebimpe, on the outskirts of Abidjan, in preparation for the African Cup of Nations soccer in 2023.

The ceremony, with a great show of dance and music, took place in the presence of 50,000 people, according to the organizers – including Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who is seeking a controversial third term in the October 31 presidential election.


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The president said he was “proud and happy of this Sino-Ivorian cooperation” for “this architectural jewel”.

The Ebimpe stadium will be the largest in Ivory Coast, replacing the Houphouët-Boigny stadium located in the center of Abidjan.

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It will host the opening match and the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The stadium and ancillary facilities (swimming pool and Olympic city, hotel …) cost 218 million euros, according to Ivorian authorities, with counterpart funding from China, which has a strong economic presence in the West African country.

The work was carried out in nearly four years by Beijing Construction Engineering Group, a Chinese firm.

The construction of the facility also aims to develop the Anyama area, on the northern outskirts of the Ivorian economic capital, where the first metro line is due to be built.


#NobleSport

[Ivory Coast] Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters file his election candidacy.

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Supporters of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, who lives in Belgium after being tried by the International Criminal Court, on Monday filed his candidacy for October’s presidential election.

Gbagbo, who was freed conditionally by the ICC after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity, had been barred by the country’s electoral commission from running.

“We have just submitted the candidacy file of our political leader, president Laurent Gbagbo, the father of democracy in Ivory Coast who we have applied to be our candidate for the presidential election,” said Georges-Armand Ouegnin, president of the pro-Gbagbo coalition called Together for Democracy and Sovereignty (EDS).

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The October 31 election in the world’s top cocoa grower is set to be tense after years of political turbulence and civil war, and Gbagbo’s return to national politics is highly sensitive.

The country remains scarred by a conflict that erupted after the 2010 vote when Gbagbo refused to hand over power to the victor, current President Alassane Ouattara. Around 3,000 people lost their lives in several months of violence.

Gbagbo, who has not made any public statement about whether he wishes to run again, is living in Brussels pending the outcome of an appeal against the ICC ruling.

In the meantime, he can travel, provided the country of destination accepts him.

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Struck from electoral lists
Independent Electoral Commission chief Ibrahime Coulibaly-Kuibiert has said that anyone convicted of a crime would be struck from the electoral lists for the ballot.

Gbagbo, 75, was sentenced in absentia to a 20-year term last November for the looting of the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the post-election crisis.

A supporter of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, president of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), gesture next to a banner in Abidjan on August 31, 2020, during the submission of his candidacy file to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). – Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagboa is the candidate of the opposition coalition Together Democracy Sovereignty (EDS) in the presidential election of October 2020. (Photo by SIA KAMBOU / AFP)

In theory he could be jailed if he were to set foot in Ivory Coast, which makes any return a hot-button issue in the election run-up.

Ouegnin said the decision to block Gbagbo from running was political, while judicial sources said they believe his candidacy is unlikely to be validated.

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“The Constitutional Council will have the heavy responsibility before the Ivorian people and history to decide on the validity” of blocking him from the electoral roll, said Ouegnin.

He called for the release of all political prisoners and the return of political exiles including Gbagbo.

The 2020 election is already set to be tense.

Violence erupted after Ouattara’s announcement he is seeking a third term, claiming the lives of at least eight people in August.

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The constitution limits presidents to two terms, but Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock.

Candidates have until midnight Monday to submit their files with the electoral commission.

Relatives of the former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, forced into self-imposed exile in France in the face of a long list of legal problems at home, are expected to submit his candidacy on Monday.

Former president Henri Konan Bedie, 86, who also contested the 2010 election, is also expected to run.


#Newsworthy…

Cote d’ivoire releases deadline for candidacy papers

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The schedule for submitting candidacy papers to run for October’s presidential election in Cote d’Ivoire ends by midnight.

At least 36 candidates are expected to be registered by the end the day for the presidential race, if all application are submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission.

Opposition leaders, Pascal Affi Nguessan of Ivorian Popular Front, and Henri Konan Bedie of the opposition Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire had earlier submitted their candidacy last Thurday.

Political Icons, Laurent Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro, are also expected to file in their candidacy despite being struff off by the electoral body and having lost their civil rights.

Outgoing President Alassane Ouattara, was the first to submit his application last Monday, with the signatures of one million citizens, a condition for eligibility to contest for the presidency:

Ivorian voters are expected to go to the polls on October 31, 2020, the constitutional deadline, to elect a new president.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Government finds 3,550 contacts, concern as cases rise.

…Osun Cote d’Ivore returnees’ patients rise to 18

..Lagos discharges 11 patients

…248 on self-isolation in Oyo


The Federal Government on Thursday said it had succeeded in tracing 3,550 people who came in contact with patients infected with COVID-19 in the country.

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who disclosed this at a press conference organised in Abuja by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the 3,550 people were being monitored for symptoms of coronavirus.

The NCDC said this as there were concerns in the country over the rising COVID-19 cases, which increased to 190 on Thursday.

In Osun State, residents of Ejigbo, where six Cote d’Ivoire returnees tested positive, stayed indoor for fear of contracting the virus.

But in Abuja, the NCDC assured Nigerians that the Federal Government was fighting the virus.

Ihekweazu had, at a press conference on Tuesday, said government was searching for 5,000 people who came in contact with COVID-19 positive patients

The director general, who said there was an urgent need to get such people and prevent community transmission of the virus, said many of the contacts came from abroad and gave wrong phone numbers and addresses on the flights they boarded.

On Thursday, Ihekweazu was asked the extent government had gone in tracing the contacts following the two-week lockdown the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) ordered in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states.

He responded, “We have traced and monitoring 71 per cent of all of them. By the end of today, that figure will increase. This is what this period of two weeks is for. Lagos has been transformational in the last few days. The teams have been able to move incredibly across the state to monitor all these contacts.

“The early cases had large number of contacts. Many of them were on planes and we have to basically contact everyone. But everyone we identify now has a maximum of 30 or 40 contacts. So the number of contacts in confirmed cases is reducing because we no longer have people that were exposed to a plane.”

On the kits donated to the country by a Chinese billionaire, he said every state government was asked to come to Abuja to collect its share of the kits.


No preferential treatment for those in isolation –NCDC boss


He also said there was no preferential treatment for anyone in all the coronavirus isolation centres across the country.

He said, “There is no preferential care at treatment centres. Everybody is getting the same level of care in Abuja and Lagos and health care workers are really working hard to make sure everybody is supported through the period of care.”

At the press conference, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said registers would be opened, particularly in Abuja and Lagos for retired health workers who would be recalled to strengthen the workforce for COVID-19.

Ehanire disclosed that he had met with the Nigerian Medical Association, adding that the association had promised to assist government in the fight against coronavirus.

He said, “Yesterday, I had a meeting with the Nigerian Medical Association leaders. We have urged them to invite retired members particularly in Lagos and Abuja to register and volunteer their services.”


Lockdown: FG exempts fertiliser transport


The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said the movement of vehicles transporting fertilizer across Lagos, Ogun and the FCT had been included in the list of services exempted from the lockdown.


Govt recommends 300-bed limit for COVID-19 isolation centres


Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said, “We are requesting that the sub-national governments should provide at least a 300-bed facility; either a hotel or other facilities.”

According to him, such facilities should contain basic nursing and other required procedures before patients are moved in.

He added, “Those facilities starting from 300 beds should be expanded as the need arises.”


Satellite markets, others also join exemption list


The National Coordinator for the fight against COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, at the press conference, said businesses exempted from the lockdown also included markets, food stores and supermarkets.

He explained that the neighbourhood markets were essential services that could open for four hours every other day.

Aliyu, however, explained that operators of such facilities were expected to provide equipment for measuring body temperature and sanitising hands.

He said, “The decision of the PTF is that satellite markets will operate every other day from 10 am to 2 pm. This does not refer to the main markets that are already closed and neither does it refer to markets that had been closed by local authorities. We do not expect them to open.

“But for markets that supply neighbourhood, we will allow them to operate for just four hours every other day.

“I need to re-emphasise to shop owners, particularly those operating supermarkets and food stores, that they are allowed to operate only if they are dealing with food and perishable items, including pharmaceuticals.”


In Oyo, 248 in self-isolation


The head of the Oyo State contact tracing team, who identified himself simply as Dr Sola, in an interview said, “All of the 248 ‘people of interest’ are under close surveillance and they are being monitored twice a day. They are all in self-isolation.

“Of these 248 people, 44 have already completed the 14-day self-isolation period and have been cleared of coronavirus. We are actively containing the virus in Oyo State.

“We even want to announce now that anyone who feels he or she had contact with any of the known cases should call us. The names are in public domain. We would do risk assessment for you and let you know what you need to do.”


Ekiti centre has one ventilator – Commissioner


The Ekiti State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, on her part, said the state had only one ventilator in its isolation centre.

Yaya-Kolade, who disclosed this at a press conference in Ado Ekiti, said the state was awaiting the result of a test conducted on a 23-year-old male patient, who manifested some symptoms of the virus.

She said the second COVID-19 case in the state, a 42-year-old male patient who tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, had been admitted into the isolation centre while the environment team would be going to disinfect his premises as soon as possible.

The commissioner also stated, “We have only one ventilator at the isolation centre at Oba Adejugbe Hospital. However, we are making efforts to source for others to make it two.”


A’Ibom’s five cases came in contact with foreign medical outreach – Commissioner


The Akwa Ibom State Government said it had commenced tracing contacts with persons suspected to have come in contact with a foreign mission from where the five index cases might have contracted the virus.

The state Commissioner of Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, who briefed journalists on Thursday after a meeting with the state incident management committee, said the five cases were those whose came in contact with a foreign mission that conducted a medical outreach in the state.

He said, “We have started tracing the contacts of those who assisted the foreign mission that conducted a medical outreach here in Akwa Ibom State. We started doing that yesterday( Wednesday) when the results were announced.”


Health ministry fails to provide sanitiser, thermometers for workers


The Federal Ministry of Health has failed to provide sanitiser and forehead thermometers to check the temperature of workers and visitors to its office in Abuja.

Findings on Thursday showed that workers and visitors to the ministry were not screened or given sanitiser despite the leading roles of the health ministry in the campaign against the coronavirus disease in the country.

One of our correspondents, who visited the ministry’s office located at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja on Thursday, was not screened with the thermometer or given sanitiser as was being done in other public places, including shopping malls and private offices.

An assistant director in the ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that everyone was baffled by the failure of the authorities to provide the safety kits for the staff of the ministry.

He said that the workers had resorted to buying sanitiser, face masks and other safety kits that should have been supplied by the government.

He noted, “We have been demanding the reason for the refusal of the health minister and the permanent secretary to provide safety kits such as sanitiser, forehead thermometers and face masks for workers, but no one is saying anything.

“When you (our correspondent) were coming into the office, did anyone check your temperature or give you sanitiser? The same thing happened during the outbreak of Ebola. We were not given any safety or protection kit until one month after the crisis had ended.”

But the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mrs Enefaa Bob-Manuel, claimed the authorities had provided bottles of sanitiser for the workers.


We are testing samples from Enugu, Abia – Abakaliki centre


The Chief Medical Director of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Dr. Emeka Onwe-Ogah, on Thursday, said the laboratory in the hospital was testing samples from Abia and Enugu states.

The CMD, in an interview, noted that the centre just commenced work on Wednesday.

On the number of testing kits that had been deployed in the laboratory, he said, “We were given testing kits and they (the NCDC) said more would be given to us soon.”

Ogah said, “We don’t have those you can call suspected patients in the Lab currently. The people we have there now are not for test; they are for observation.

“These people, who are currently in the Laboratory, do not meet the criteria for which they could be described as, “suspected Coronaviris” patients. We don’t just test people anyhow. For one to be tested, one must have NCDC criteria.

“The samples being tested at the Testing Lab, currently, are from other states namely, Abia and Enugu states.


Why we allowed Côte d’Ivoire returnees who tested positive — FG


The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, defended the decision of the Federal Government to allow 127 Nigerians, who returned from Côte d’Ivoire through the Ogun State land border, to enter Nigeria

He said, “Depending on the characteristics of such a returnee, he could be picked up based on his record and detained and, in this instance, the arrangement made by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and other agencies involved is to isolate such returnees.

“We have even signed an international treaty that says no human being is stateless. We are not even talking about those who are accredited nationals of Nigeria. We are saying, by our own admission and commitment, we do not believe any human being is stateless.”


Edo doctor treating Covid-19 patient contracts disease


A doctor treating COVID-19 patients at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, has contracted the disease, the President of the National Association of Resident Doctors has said.

The NARD President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by our correspondent on Thursday.

He stated, “Just yesterday again, one of our doctors in the ISTH, Iruaa, tested positive for the COVID-19 disease. What that means is that these doctors that are testing positive for various diseases are being left alone to take care of themselves.

“There is no form of life insurance for them. There is no form of compensation. To say the least, what these doctors benefit at the end of every month as hazard allowance is N5,000. So, we are worried that if victory against COVID-19 and Lassa fever outbreak in the country is to be achieved, the welfare and wellbeing of doctors and other health workers who are on the frontline must be secured.”


11 Lagos COVID-19 patients recover, discharged


The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday said 11 more COVID-19 patients were been discharged from the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba after testing negative

The governor, in a series of tweets, said, “I am happy to break to you, my good people of Lagos, the news of the release today of 11 more patients from our facility in Yaba.”

“They have fully recovered and have tested negative to #COVID19 and have been allowed to return home to their families.

“The patients include two females and nine males. Their results came out negative in two rounds of tests. I want to use this opportunity to, once again, thank our frontline health workers and other professionals for their service.

“Let me reiterate that this is not the time to relax, but to maintain our vigilance because of the community infection that we are beginning to see. I assure you that at the end, we will hoist a flag of victory – with your cooperation and by the grace of the Almighty.”


Six more Cote d’Ivoire returnees test positive


The Osun State Government on Thursday confirmed that six more Cote d’Ivoire returnees tested positive for coronavirus. With the latest cases, the state now has 20 COVID-19 cases.

The Osun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, said that all the 127 returnees had been tested and 18 of them had returned positive.

All the 18 coronavirus cases were said to have been moved out of the isolation centre to another facility. Before 18 cases were recorded, the state had two COVID-19 patients.

The 127 travellers from the West African nation had arrived the state last Saturday and were kept in isolation at the Unity High School, Ejigbo, where many of the returnees hailed from.

Following reports that at least one of the returnee left the centre and visited pub, many residents of Ejigbo stayed indoor.

Sources in the town told one of our correspondents that the decision to stay indoor was not only as a result of the stay-at-home directive of the state government, but largely due to the fear that the man that reportedly left the isolation centre might have spread the virus.

A resident of Ejigbo, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Some of them don’t believe they are threats with their status, but we have been explaining to them the need to remain in isolation to prevent community spread of the disease.

At the isolation centre, sources confided in one of our correspondents, said agitation by those in the centre continued, even though operatives of Department of State Services had also been drafted into the premises to join anti-riot police in providing security.

Osun State deputy governor, Benedict Alabi, it was learnt also visited the centre on Thursday to ensure that the situation was put under control.


COVID-19 cases rise to 190


Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases in the country increased to 190 on Thursday. On Wednesday the NCDC said the cases were 174.

On Thursday, it said seven cases were recorded in Lagos and three in the FCT. The agency was, however, silent on the six Cote d’Ivoire that Osun State Government earlier on Thursday said tested positive.

With the latest cases, Lagos now has 98 cases; the FCT, 38, Osun, 20, Kaduna, four; Oyo, eight, Enugu, two, Edo, four, Bauchi, three, Ekiti, two, Akwa Ibom, five and Ogun, four.

Rivers and Benue have one case each.

20 patients have been discharged with two deaths recorded.


#Newsworthy…

Cote d’ivoire: Political leader, Ble Goude sentenced to 20 years


A court in Ivory Coast has sentenced controversial political leader Charles Ble Goude to 20 years in prison over murder, rape and torture charges.

Ble Goude was cleared of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Hague this year, along with his former boss, Ivory Coast ex-president Laurent Gbagbo.

But following his acquittal, an Ivorian court brought a fresh trial against him over the 2010-2011 bloodshed which followed a disputed vote in the West African nation.


The former aide to Gbagbo, who has remained in the Netherlands following his ICC trial pending a possible appeal by the prosecution, told AFP the Ivorian court had convicted him on Monday.

Ble Goude who was sentenced in absentia said he was “surprised by the verdict”, adding that he had been sentenced to 20 years in prison, 10 years deprivation of his civil rights, and a fine of 200 million CFA francs ($340,000) to be paid to the victims.


The court has issued an arrest warrant for him, he added.

About 3,000 people died in the turmoil that swept Abidjan, once one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities — in the aftermath of the November 2010 presidential polls when Gbagbo refused to accept defeat to bitter rival Alassane Ouattara, who remains in power.


Leonard Lebry, the prosecutor general at the Court of Appeal in Abidjan has previously said the case against Ble Goude, once dubbed the “general of the streets” for his ability to mobilise Gbagbo supporters during the conflict, was “wider” than the ICC prosecution and covered different events.

“The court will try him (Ble Goude)” for allegations of “torture, murder, rape”, Lebry said last month.


Gbagbo, the first former head of state to stand trial at the ICC, and Ble Goude were tried over responsibility for murder, attempted murder, rape, persecution and “other inhumane acts” during five months of violence, both pleading not guilty.

They were released by the ICC to live in Belgium in February under conditions including that he would return to court for any prosecution appeal against his acquittal.


Ble Goude is living in the Netherlands under similar conditions.

Last month the Ivorian court rejected an appeal over the January 2018 sentencing of Gbagbo and three aides for the “robbery” of the Central Bank of West African States (Bceao) during the post-election crisis.

Ble Goude


The opposition has claimed Ouattara is attempting to prevent Gbagbo returning to the country ahead of 2020 elections expected to be a crucial test for Ivory Coast, which has long been west Africa’s top economic performer and is the world’s leading cocoa producer.

The court conviction comes in the same month that an arrest warrant was issued for former rebel leader and would-be Ivory Coast presidential candidate Guillaume Soro, who aborted his planned return to the country at the last minute.


#Newsworthy…