Ivory Coast: according to Alassane Ouattara, the 46 soldiers sentenced in Mali will return "soon"

Ivory Coast: according to Alassane Ouattara, the 46 soldiers sentenced in Mali will return "soon"

“My thoughts go particularly to the place of our soldiers detained in Mali since July 10,” said Alassane Ouattara on Saturday in his end-of-year speech broadcast on national television RTI.

" Grace to the diplomatic actions undertaken with the support of leaders of several friendly countries, in particular the President of the Togolese Republic » Faure Gnassingbé, “three female soldiers were released last September,” he recalled, adding: " The 46 other soldiers will soon return to Ivorian soil”.

The 46 Ivorian soldiers suspected of being "mercenaries" detained in Mali since July have been sentenced on Friday to twenty years' imprisonment, before the expiry of the ultimatum set for January 1 by the West African heads of state to the Malian junta to release them.

heavy condemnations

They were found guilty of "attack and conspiracy against the government", "undermining the external security of the State", "possession, carrying and transport of weapons and ammunition of war (...) intended to disturb public order through intimidation or terror", following a two-day trial in Bamako.

The three female soldiers released in mid-September were sentenced to death in absentia. The Ivorian head of state, however, did not mention in his speech neither these heavy condemnations, ni this ultimatum.

Since July 10, Ivory Coast demands the release of its soldiers while categorically denying that they were "mercenaries", but that they were on a mission for the UN, as part of logistical support operations for the United Nations Mission in Mali (Minusma).


On December 22, a visit to Bamako by an official Ivorian delegation took place in a “fraternal” spirit. It ended with the signing of a memorandum, the Ivorian Defense Minister, Téné Birahima Ouattara, brother of the Head of State, stressing that the case was "in the process of being resolved".

The agreement reached between Mali and Côte d'Ivoire leaves open the possibility of a presidential pardon for the head of the Malian military junta, Assimi Goïta, who, for his part, did not mention the Ivorian soldiers in his speech the end of year Saturday.

(With AFP)

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