Ivory Coast Gbagbo exiles return home after 10 years

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Noel Ebrin Brou BBC News

Six allies of Ivory Coast former President Laurent Gbagbo have returned home from 10 years in exile.

They had fled the country in the aftermath of a bloody five-month conflict that erupted when Mr Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing the presidential run-off in 2010 to Alassane Ouattara.

The six arrived in Abidjan on a flight from the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

The three most well-known among them are:

  • Justin Koné Katinan, spokesman for the former president
  • Damana Pickass, a former member of electoral commission, remembered for tearing up the results of the 2010 presidential election on camera
  • Jeanette Koudou, Mr Gbagbo’s younger sister.

President Ouattara, who won a controversial third term in office last year, had urged their return.

He has also said that Mr Gbagbo is free to return to the country after he was acquitted of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The acquittal of his ally, former youth leader Charles Blé Goudé – accused of leading a militia backing him – was also upheld by The Hague-based war crimes court last month.

No precise date has been set yet for their homecoming.