This is part 3 of a 4-part series
Côte d’Ivoire – Guillaume Soro, back to hell
49-year-old Guillaume Soro has gone back into hiding. In April 2020, the former leader of the Forces Nouvelles rebellion was sentenced to 20 years in prison for handling misappropriated public funds. In April 2021, he was then sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to undermine state authority, for conspiracy, disseminating false information and disturbing public order. As such, Soro has undergone a brutal descent into hell in just a few short months.
Even though the French authorities have still not responded to the arrest warrant that Abidjan issued in November 2020, they quickly made it clear to the National Assembly’s former president that he was no longer welcome on their soil. Soro had taken up residence in Paris ever since he left Côte d’Ivoire in late 2019. Elusive, he now travels constantly between Brussels, Geneva, Turkey and the French capital. Only a handful of people, with whom he exchanges messages and videoconferences, know exactly where he is.
Soro – who used to be long-winded on social media, which he had made his favourite playground – is now discreet. Is he waiting for the weather to change? Is he hoping to take advantage of the political appeasement underway on the shores of the Ebrié Lagoon? Laurent Gbagbo said he had discussed Soro’s case during his tête-à-tête with Alassane Ouattara (ADO) on 27 July. “The president told me two [things] about Soro: […] all this is part of our struggle, but we must move forward step by step. For the moment, these are the ones that can be removed by decree. I will also stick my neck out for the others so that they can return to the country,” said the former president.