Home South Africa Former Ivorian militia leader Ble Houde returns home after exile – SABC...

Former Ivorian militia leader Ble Houde returns home after exile – SABC News

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Charles Ble Hood, a former militia leader who was acquitted of crimes against humanity related to his role in Ivory Coast’s civil war, returned from exile on Saturday as politicians sought to reconcile after years of instability and conflict.

Hundreds of fans, dressed in clothing depicting Blé Goudet, sang and danced in Jopouga, a suburb of the capital Abidjan, to welcome him home after eight years.

“My leader, Minister Blé Goudet, will play an active role in the reconciliation process,” says Guillaume Dagot, who was in the crowd in Jopugon.

Blé Goudet’s return after his acquittal by the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2019 is part of a wider rapprochement between old political factions in Ivory Coast that President Ouattara hopes will ease political tensions ahead of elections in 2025.

Much of the tension stems from a brief civil war following the 2010 election, in which former president Laurent Gbagbo could not come to terms with Ouattara’s defeat. Since then, tensions have boiled over and at least 20 people have been killed in clashes as Ouattara decided to run again in 2020 elections.

Gbagbo, who was ousted during the civil war and also acquitted of war crimes at The Hague, returned home last year after a decade in exile. Ble Gude, who led the notorious Young Patriots street police during Gbagbo’s presidency, was accused of inciting attacks on civilians and United Nations soldiers. In 2019, he was sentenced in absentia by a court in Abidjan to 20 years in prison for his participation in the civil war.

Ble Goode told Radio France Internationale last week that he expects the charges to be dropped when he returns.

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