Forty-six Ivorian troopers accused by Mali of being mercenaries have returned residence after six months in captivity.
Ivory Coast troopers return residence after months of captivity in Mali
The military arrived at Ivory Coast’s Abidjan airport late on Saturday, a day after receiving a pardon from Mali’s army ruler.
His arrest in Mali’s capital Bamako in July final yr sparked a bitter diplomatic battle between the neighboring international locations.
Mali accused them of being mercenaries, whereas Ivory Coast mentioned they had been flown in to supply routine backup safety for the German contingent of a UN peacekeeping mission.
Stepping out of their airplane residence on Saturday, every soldier held a small Ivorian flag and smiled as they shook arms with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who was ready to welcome them on the airport.
“Now that this crisis is behind us, we can resume normal relations with the country of Mali,” Ouattara mentioned as soon as they had been all on Ivorian soil.
A spokesman for the troops thanked Ouattara and “the Ivorian people for their support and active solidarity”.
“We are happy and relieved to return to our motherland,” he mentioned.
His launch comes days after he was sentenced by a courtroom in Bamako to twenty years in jail for conspiring towards the Malian authorities and undermining state safety. Three girls, who had been among the many unique 49 arrested on the airport and launched earlier, had been sentenced to demise in absentia.
The sentences got here forward of a January 1 deadline set by leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for Mali to launch troops or face sanctions.
But on Friday, Mali’s army chief Assimi Goita pardoned all 49 folks.
The authorities of Mali cited a memorandum of understanding that the 2 international locations had signed to “promote peace and strengthen relations of friendship, brotherhood and good-neighbourhood between the Republic of Mali and the Republic of Ivory Coast”.
It additionally thanked Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé, who mediated the dispute.
Relations between Mali and its West African neighbors have been strained since he led a coup towards elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020. The nation’s new rulers initially promised elections by February of final yr, however then introduced a delay of 4 years. don’t.
The transfer prompted stringent ECOWAS sanctions on Mali which crippled the nation’s financial system.
The punitive measures had been lifted in July after Bamako proposed a 24-month transition to democracy and promised a brand new electoral regulation.
[Disclaimer: This story was automatically generated by a computer program and was not created or edited by Journalpur Staff. Publisher: Journalpur.com]