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Thousands celebrate return of Charles Blé Goudé to Ivory Coast

Charles Blé Goudé returned to Ivory Coast on Saturday   -  
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Ivory Coast

Thousands of supporters cheered on Saturday the return to Ivory Coast of Charles Blé Goudé, a key figure involved in the violence that followed the 2011 presidential elections.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who earlier this year pardoned his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo in the name of national reconciliation, has approved the return.

"In reality when I was told to come, it was frank, it was sincere. That is why I thank you here in Yopougon, the Ivorian authorities for having facilitated (my return, ed.) among you. If I see you today it is thanks to them", said Charles Blé Goudé in front of a crowd.

Addressing supporters in Abidjan, Blé Goudé, thanked the Ivorian authorities for facilitating his return and said his "duty" was to "support the peace process".

"I have arrived, I will gather all the information. In this same place, we will hold a political rally where I will discuss all the issues. And as the press is here, I ask them to come in a few weeks to a big press conference where we will discuss all the issues, I mean all the issues", promised Blé Goudé.

The former right-hand man to ex-president Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court last year.

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