A dozen relatives of the former prime minister and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, a candidate for the Côte d’Ivoire presidential election in October, were released on Wednesday, September 23, AFP was told by his relatives.
“Finally, we are free and it is only temporary freedom,” Deputy Loukimane Camara wrote in an SMS to his wife, who transferred him to AFP.
Guillaume Soros’ entourage, which relies on a document signed by the dean of the investigating judges and mentions several other releases, produces a total of “a dozen releases”.
This is conditional freedom, in the sense that the released can not get in touch with each other or participate in “meetings” and must refrain from “cyber activism”.
About twenty relatives of Guillaume Soro, including five deputies, were arrested in Côte d’Ivoire in late December 2019 after the former prime minister aborted back to Abidjan. Most are accused of “attempted insurrection”.
Amnesty International then considered the indictment against Guillaume Soro and his followers “very suspicious”, “the accusations seemed politically motivated”.
On September 14, the Constitutional Council rejected his candidacy for president (as did 39 others of the 44 candidacies, including former president Laurent Gbagbo) but validated it for outgoing president Alassane Ouattara for a controversial third term.
The opposition demanded civil disobedience and accused the Constitutional Council and the Independent Electoral Commission of being “subordinate” to power.
A senior ruling party official recently told AFP that there would be “surveillance measures in the coming days” as tensions escalate in the country. These unexpected releases without public announcement by the authorities may be part of these “measures”.
Long allied with President Ouattara, whom he helped bring to power during the post-war crisis of 2010-2011, then fell Guillaume Soro, who was his first prime minister, then president of the National Assembly. with him, until the break in early 2019.
If he could compete, Guillaume Soro, currently in France, would be considered a serious challenger to the presidential election by political analysts.
Fear of deadly violence is strong in this West African country, ten years after the post-election crisis of the 2010 presidential election, which left 3,000 dead, following Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to admit his electoral defeat to Alassane Ouattara.
Violence, in the wake of the announcement of President Ouattara’s candidacy, killed about 15 people in August.
Elected in 2010, re-elected in 2015, Alassane Ouattara, 78, announced in March that he was resigning for a third term before changing in August, following the death of his designated dolphin, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
The constitution limits the number of presidential terms to two, but the Constitutional Council estimated that the entry into force of a new constitution in 2016 had restored the counters to zero, which the opposition strongly denies.