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46 soldiers pardoned by the Malian junta return to Côte d’Ivoire

The pardon is also intended to reinforce relations between Mali and Côte d'Ivoire.

News 360

Story by Daniel Stewart

The 46 Ivorian soldiers detained since July in Mali and pardoned this week returned last night to their country, where they were received by their families, the country’s president, Alassane Ouattara, and a delegation of ministers.

The return ended shortly before midnight at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny airport in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, after a stopover in Togo, where the soldiers met briefly with the President, Faure Gnassingbé, who acted as mediator in this crisis.

The events were precipitated on December 30 when the soldiers were sentenced by the Malian junta to 20 years in prison as “mercenaries” — according to Ivory Coast they provided logistical support to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) — before being granted, only a week later, a full pardon as a gesture of goodwill by the Malian coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita.

The pardon is also intended to reinforce relations between Mali and Côte d’Ivoire following the signing in late 2022 of a Memorandum of Understanding on the promotion of peace and the strengthening of friendly relations.

In fact, according to Radio France Internationale (RFI) sources, a forthcoming meeting between Goita and Ouattara is not ruled out in order to iron out the differences, to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again and to promote above all “the line of negotiation and diplomacy”.


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