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ECOWAS mission in Mali over 46 detained Ivorian soldiers. Will Bamako budge?

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The diplomatic tension between Mali and Ivory Coast has drawn reactions from leadership across the West Africa sub-region.

A mission deployed by the Economic Community of the West African States led by Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo and Gambian leader Adama Barrow and Togolese head of state who was represented by his minister of foreign affairs, Robert Dussey arrived Mali on Thursday over the diplomatic issue. The officials discussed the fate of Ivorian soldiers arrested upon arrival at the Bamako airport.

The West African neighbours have been locked in a diplomatic tug-of-war since July 10, when authorities in Bamako arrested 49 soldiers from the Ivory Coast.

Mali labelled the soldiers as “mercenaries”, claiming that the soldiers came to Mali to work for a contracting company of the United Nations mission. It later proposed a prisoner swap which

Ivory Coast denied the claim and insisted that the troops were simply on a routine rotation for personnel who provide backup services for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Beyond Ivory Coast, Mali lately has had diplomatic loggerheads with other entities, including its former colony and defence ally France, the United Nations, Germany, and Egypt amongst others.

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Exiled Ivory Coast politician, Charles Blé Goudé, returns home to cheering crowd. Old wounds opened?

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Exiled Ivorian politician, Charles Blé Goudé who was the right-hand man of former Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, is back home.

The Street General as he is fondly called is said to be allegedly involved in the violence that followed the 2011 presidential elections, returned home on Saturday after more than eight years abroad.

Thousands of supporters turned up to receive him at the airport after his arrival on a flight from Ghana’s capital, Accra, that was preceded by a heavy police presence.

Charles Blé Goudé while addressing the crowd said “in reality when I was told to come, it was frank, it was sincere. That is why I thank you here in Yopougon, the Ivorian authorities for having facilitated (my return, ed.) among you. If I see you today it is thanks to them.”

He thanked the Ivorian authorities for facilitating his return and said his “duty” was to “support the peace process”.

“I have arrived, I will gather all the information. In this same place, we will hold a political rally where I will discuss all the issues. And as the press is here, I ask them to come in a few weeks to a big press conference where we will discuss all the issues, I mean all the issues”, promised Blé Goudé.

The politician was arrested in Ghana in 2013 following the post-electoral crisis that engulfed the west African country in 2010. But the homecoming seems to be approved by the incumbent president, Alassane Ouattara, who in July pardoned his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé’s principal in the push for national reconciliation.

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Congo DR electoral body, CENI, announces date of presidential election

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The electoral authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Commission Electorale Nationale Independente (CENI) have announced dates for the next presidential election.

CENI on Saturday said the election will take place on December 20th next year.

The commission outlined several challenges, including the logistics of transporting ballot materials thousands of miles, health concerns about Ebola and COVID-19, and unrest that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The incumbent president, Felix Tshisekedi, who already expressed his intention to run again. He might be running against Martin Fayulu, who continues to claim that he won the 2018 election and was denied victory.

Terrorist activities, largely by a rebel group, M23 have drawn reactions from stakeholders in the East Africa region and global observers. The M23 is a rebel military group based in eastern areas of the DRC, mainly operating in the province of North Kivu.

According to the electoral authorities, insecurity remains the main challenge for the next elections.

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