By Hannatu Sadiq
Former President of Côte d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has returned to the country for the first time since he was ousted from power in 2011.
Gbagbo was sent to The Hague to face charges bordering on war crimes, of which he was later acquitted in 2019.
There was heavy police presence upon his arrival on Thursday around Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan to prevent any violence.
Hundreds took to the streets to demonstrate and celebrate his arrival in Abidjan’s Yopougon district.
However, Police fired teargas in other neighborhoods to disperse similar crowds, NAN reports.
One group was heard chanting “Gbagbo is coming, we will install him,” “Respect the power of Gbagbo.”
Gbagbo, who came to power in 2000, was arrested after a brief civil war prompted by his refusal to concede defeat to Alassane Ouattara in the 2010 election.
In April 2011, Mr. Gbagbo was forced from office – captured in a bunker at the presidential palace by UN and French-backed forces supporting his rival Alassane Ouattara, internationally regarded as the winner of elections five months earlier. Mr. Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC at The Hague, where he became the first former head of state to be tried there.
Gbagbo was acquitted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court — charges he faced after 3000 people lost their life in electoral violence in 2010 when he refused to concede defeat to then-victor and current President Alassane Ouattara.
He was acquitted in 2019 of war crimes and crimes against humanity charges by the International Criminal Court for his role in the violence.