Former President Laurent Gbagbo returns to Côte d’Ivoire | Ivory Coast News

The 76-year-old arrives in Abidjan after ICC judges earlier this year confirmed his 2019 acquittal on charges related to the 2011 post-election violence.

Former President Laurent Gbagbo returned to Côte d’Ivoire for the first time since his arrest nearly 10 years ago following his acquittal by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The 76-year-old, who had been in power since 2000, was sent to court in The Hague in 2011 after some 3,000 people were killed in a multi-month conflict that followed his refusal to accept electoral defeat in the hands of the outgoing president. Alassane Ouattara.

He was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, but was acquitted by the ICC in 2019. Judges confirmed the decision earlier this year, paving the way for his return on Thursday.

Gbagbo arrived in Abidjan, the country’s economic center, on a commercial flight from Brussels on Thursday with a large crowd gathered to welcome him.

Ahmed Idris of Al Jazeera, from Abidjan airport, said the situation in the city was “quite tense” in the hours leading up to his arrival as many Gbagbo supporters attempted to approach the site. .

“The police have barricaded the entire area near the airport, and there have been incidents where they have used tear gas to disperse the crowds,” he said.

More soon.

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