Monday, June 9, 2014 12:32 pm
by Azubuike Okeh
Abidjan – Doudou Diene, UN Independent Expert on the Humanitarian Situation in Cote d’Ivoire, has described recent release of 50 political detainees loyal to former President Laurent Gbagbo as a welcome development.
Diene, in a statement in Abidjan on Monday, said the decision was a step in the right direction saying, “it softens the path to peace, reconciliation and stability.”He said that the government had, with the decision, demonstrated the political will to ensure peace and stability in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also reports that the detainees’ release was part of the conditions by the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), Gbagbo’s party, for resumption of dialogue.
NAN further reports that Cote d’Ivoire’s government recently released five houses belonging to Gbagbo’s loyalists which were occupied by the military due to the post-election violence that rocked the country.
At the resumption of dialogue between the government, the government had promised to release some 150 political detainees loyal to Gbagbo.
The government also at the meeting urged the FPI to rescind its call for the boycott of the national population census.
Meanwhile, Diene has called on both sides to play roles that would ensure fruitful dialogue by fulfilling agreements reached at every stage.
“Both the government and opposition owe the country a duty to play roles that will sustain the ongoing dialogue and ensure that it achieves its intention.
“The dialogue is crucial; it will enable the political stakeholders to discuss issues that concern the 2015 presidential election; so it must be taken seriously,” he said.
NAN reports that Cote d’Ivoire was hit by a post-election violence reported to have killed no fewer than 3,000 persons.
Meanwhile, the crisis which ended with Gbagbo’s arrest on April 11, 2011, also left the country politically divided.