Why did Gbagbo choose the DRC for his first trip abroad?

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After his much-mentioned return to Côte d’Ivoire on June 17, former President Laurent Gbagbo chose the DRC for his first trip abroad. Here’s why.

Laurent Gbagbo was to arrive in Kinshasa by a commercial flight on July 2, for a private stay of six days. He will then return to Abidjan on July 8. The former president returned to Côte d’Ivoire on June 17, ten years after his arrest and incarceration in the prison of the International Criminal Court (ICC). And now he is making his first trip abroad. So why did he choose to spend his holidays in Kinshasa?

Meeting

According to our information, Gbagbo was invited by Jean-Pierre Bemba, the president of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), attend the wedding of Bemba’s daughter. The former Ivorian head of state will be accompanied by his second wife, Nadiana Bamba, his chief of staff, Narcisse Kuyo Téa, and his personal doctor, Christophe Blé. There are no reports of scheduled meetings with Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the DRC.

Bemba met Gbagbo while they were both in detention in The Hague. The two were held in the same prison block between 2011 and 2018 and became close, regularly sharing meals together. On his arrival at Scheveningen prison, Gbagbo received warm clothes that had belonged to the former Congolese warlord.

From their respective releases, they kept in touch. According to our information, they even recently spoke by phone during Gbagbo’s trip to Mama, his native village.

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