Politics

15
Jun
15:20 UTC

Ivory Coast Tactical: Former President Laurent Gbagbo slated to return to Abidjan on June 17 at 15:45 (local time), to receive official welcome at airport’s Presidential Pavilion; maintain vigilance

Please be advised

  • Reports citing statements issued by opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) Secretary-General Assoa Adou on June 14 indicate that former President and FPI leader Laurent Gbagbo is slated to return to Abidjan on June 17 at 15:45 (local time).
  • Adou further noted that President Alassane Ouattara will hold an official ceremony to welcome Gbagbo as “an act of national reconciliation” at the Presidential Pavilion at Abidjan’s Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport immediately after his landing.
  • Due to existing COVID-19 restrictions, the airport will reportedly be closed to Gbagbo’s supporters and the reception ceremony will be limited to 130 guests. 
  • As of writing, the government has yet to erect roadblocks outside Abidjan’s airport or announce restrictions for gatherings outside the Presidential Pavilion. 
  • Furthermore, negotiations are reportedly ongoing between the government and the FPI party to settle security arrangements for Gbagbo and his family upon their arrival. 
  • The government has reportedly agreed to provide Gbagbo with certain benefits and security assurances due to his status as a former Head of State.

Assessments & Forecast

Gbagbo would be returning to Ivory Coast for the first time since his arrest in 2011 and thus, this is a highly notable development. FORECAST: Given the attendance of President Ouattara and senior government members at the official ceremony to welcome Gbagbo, security presence at the airport is expected to be high. In light of the president welcoming him and his alliance with other leading parties during the 2020 elections, it is unlikely that they are going to stage protests against his arrival. However, civil society organizations, particularly those such as the Collective of Victims who hold Gbagbo responsible for the violence and unrest during the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis, may demonstrate against his return. That said, the official ceremony is likely to pass peacefully since it is within the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport compound. However, the potential for some anti-Gbagbo gatherings outside the airport premises cannot be ruled out.

Recommendations

Those operating or residing in Abidjan on June 17 are advised to maintain vigilance in the vicinity of the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport in the afternoon hours given Laurent Gbagbo’s slated arrival and welcome ceremony as well as given the potential for his supporters to organize mass gatherings in the area to celebrate his return.

COUNTRY RISK LEVEL Medium
AFFECTED AREA Abidjan, Ivory Coast
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL Medium
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Confirmed

Please be advised

  • Reports citing statements issued by opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) Secretary-General Assoa Adou on June 14 indicate that former President and FPI leader Laurent Gbagbo is slated to return to Abidjan on June 17 at 15:45 (local time).
  • Adou further noted that President Alassane Ouattara will hold an official ceremony to welcome Gbagbo as “an act of national reconciliation” at the Presidential Pavilion at Abidjan’s Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport immediately after his landing.
  • Due to existing COVID-19 restrictions, the airport will reportedly be closed to Gbagbo’s supporters and the reception ceremony will be limited to 130 guests. 
  • As of writing, the government has yet to erect roadblocks outside Abidjan’s airport or announce restrictions for gatherings outside the Presidential Pavilion. 
  • Furthermore, negotiations are reportedly ongoing between the government and the FPI party to settle security arrangements for Gbagbo and his family upon their arrival. 
  • The government has reportedly agreed to provide Gbagbo with certain benefits and security assurances due to his status as a former Head of State.

Assessments & Forecast

Gbagbo would be returning to Ivory Coast for the first time since his arrest in 2011 and thus, this is a highly notable development. FORECAST: Given the attendance of President Ouattara and senior government members at the official ceremony to welcome Gbagbo, security presence at the airport is expected to be high. In light of the president welcoming him and his alliance with other leading parties during the 2020 elections, it is unlikely that they are going to stage protests against his arrival. However, civil society organizations, particularly those such as the Collective of Victims who hold Gbagbo responsible for the violence and unrest during the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis, may demonstrate against his return. That said, the official ceremony is likely to pass peacefully since it is within the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport compound. However, the potential for some anti-Gbagbo gatherings outside the airport premises cannot be ruled out.

Recommendations

Those operating or residing in Abidjan on June 17 are advised to maintain vigilance in the vicinity of the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport in the afternoon hours given Laurent Gbagbo’s slated arrival and welcome ceremony as well as given the potential for his supporters to organize mass gatherings in the area to celebrate his return.

COUNTRY RISK LEVEL Medium
AFFECTED AREA Abidjan, Ivory Coast
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL Medium
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Confirmed

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What’s better, facing disaster or avoiding it altogether? MAX Security Solutions is a leading player in comprehensive security and risk management solutions.