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Côte d’Ivoire: Why did Gbagbo pick DRC for his first foreign trip?

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Friday, 2 July 2021 17:25

Laurent Gbagbo in Mama, 28 june 2021. © SIA KAMBOU/AFP

After his much talked about return to Côte d'Ivoire on 17 June, former president Laurent Gbagbo chose the DRC for his first trip abroad. Here is why.

Laurent Gbagbo was due to arrive in Kinshasa by a commercial flight on 2 July, for a six-day private stay. He will then go back  to Abidjan on 8 July. The former president returned to Côte d’Ivoire on 17 June, ten years after his arrest and incarceration at the International Criminal Court (ICC) prison. And now he’s making his first trip abroad. So why did he choose to holiday in Kinshasa?

Reunion

According to our information, Gbagbo has been invited by Jean-Pierre Bemba, the president of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), to attend the wedding of Bemba’s daughter. The former Ivorian head of state will be accompanied by his second wife, Nadiana Bamba, his chief of staff, Narcisse Kuyo Téa, and his personal doctor, Christophe Blé. There are no reports of any scheduled meetings with Félix Tshisekedi, the DRC president.

Bemba met Gbagbo when they were both in detention in The Hague. The two men were held in the same prison block between 2011 and 2018 and became close, regularly sharing meals together. On his arrival in Scheveningen prison, Gbagbo was given warm clothes that had belonged the former Congolese warlord.

Since their respective releases, they have remained in contact. According to our information, they have even recently spoken by telephone during Gbagbo’s trip to Mama, his native village.

 

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