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Ivory Coast: residents of Gbagbo's hometown ready for his return

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SIA KAMBOU/AFP or licensors

Ivory Coast

Local villagers could be seen shouting and dancing as they ready for the return of Laurent Gbagbo to his hometown of Mama.

After ten years of legal procedures, the former president is expected to arrive in Ivory Coast on Thursday. 

He should soon make the trip to the Western town of Mama, where his supporters, whilst awaiting his return, are already celebrating.

"He is our president. When he was here the village was good, we were happy. So we wish he would come back," says Sylvie Bazil, a resident of Mama.

"He will come on 17 June," assures Mama's land chief Goli Obou Joseph.

"We do not sleep, we are all awake waiting for Gbagbo's arrival!"

In last April, after Laurent Gbagbo was cleared of crimes against humanity charges by the International Criminal Court, Ivory Coast president Alassa ne Ouattara cleared the way for Gbagbo to return to Ivory Coast. 

All accross the country, supporters of the former president celebrated the news. 

In Mama, some even showed their devotion to the former ruler, by repainting his father's house. 

Others took to the streets

"I am Gbagbo or nothing. Without Gbagbo there will be no reconciliation. We prayed for Laurent Gbagbo to come back to us. Thank God he is coming back to us alive. We are so happy. We are ready to welcome him, to send him to his village. Without Gbagbo there will be no reconciliation,"  'Gbagbo or nothing' activist Béatrice Kragba says, as she steps off a bus coming from Gagnoa, a town located at a thirty minutes drive from which buses keep bringing Gbagbo supporters.

Many of Laurent Gbagbo's supporters hope he will go back to politics after his return this Thursday. A possibility, that has angered victims of the 2010-2011 crisis, who still demand justice.

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