Ivorian opponent Guillaume Soro reappears in Niger

Has Guillaume Soro become the ferret of Ivorian politics? Some said it in Istanbul, Dubai, Cyprus or more recently freshly arrived in Bamako, Mali

Ivorian opponent Guillaume Soro reappears in Niger

Has Guillaume Soro become the ferret of Ivorian politics? Some said it in Istanbul, Dubai, Cyprus or more recently freshly arrived in Bamako, Mali. It was finally in Niamey, capital of neighboring Niger, that the former Ivorian prime minister landed on Saturday, November 11, if we are to believe the press release published two days later by the head of communications for his movement, Générations et united peoples (GPS).

Since then, the man who has become the most virulent opponent of Ivory Coast was received on Monday November 13 by General Abdourahamane Tiani, the head of the Nigerien junta. The meeting should not fail to cause a lot of ink to flow in the region, as the two men embody to varying degrees the destabilization of West Africa.

Ex-student leader, ex-rebel leader, ex-prime minister and president of the National Assembly, Guillaume Soro has seen his political career take shape since his break with President Alassane Ouattara and his resignation from office in 2019. General Tiani, an unremarkable officer until then, appeared in full light with his coup d'état which overthrew President Bazoum on July 26.

If the content of their discussion is still unknown, for Guillaume Soro, it constitutes an opportunity to return to the African continent and an attempt to return to the forefront after years of exile. The day before, with a sense of staging of which he has the secret and an eloquence that he appreciates, the former prime minister had announced in a short video posted on his social networks his intention to return to his country because, said -he, “it is painful for me to live far from my ancestral and native land in Africa. I want to live in peace with my family, my loved ones.”

“Attack on state security”

Thin face, salt-and-pepper beard, Guillaume Soro, 51, who nevertheless claims to be doing "very well", assures at the start of the video that his "statement" is made "following the attempted kidnapping at the international airport of 'Istanbul', November 3. “Mr Ouattara tried to arrest me (…) and extradite me through the emergency procedure in Ivory Coast,” he denounces. Information which was immediately denied by the Ivorian authorities and perceived by several observers as a way of re-emerging in the debates less than two years before the presidential election.

But if he wishes, as he says, to return to Ivory Coast, the former rebel leader is not playing the card of reconciliation with the current president. In his last appearance, Mr. Soro, who had put the former rebellion he led at the service of Alassane Ouattara when Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to him in 2011, accuses the head of state of stalking him in a “fierce international manhunt”, considering that “the latest arrest attempt made in Istanbul demonstrates, if necessary, that the only place of peaceful rest that Mr. Ouattara reserves for me is indeed the cemetery”.

After years of exile in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Dubai and even "to the confines of the Asian continent", he says, Guillaume Soro, who since 2020 has been sentenced in absentia to twenty years in prison for concealment of embezzlement of public funds, then to life imprisonment for "endangering the security of the State", after having been accused of having fomented a "civil and military insurrection" against the power in place, continues to present himself as a innocent, “guilty of no crime”.

Execrable relations with Alassane Ouattara

Bluff, probe or real announcement of a comeback? In his entourage, Moussa Touré, his communications manager, simply wrote on interested.

If relations between the President of the Republic and the man he once called “my son” are execrable, the Ivorian government has not officially reacted to this announcement. However, a minister, speaking on condition of anonymity, believes that a return would be “a good thing. »And to continue: “I hope that he will contact the authorities and not try to force it. It must happen as it did for the others: Charles Blé Goudé and Laurent Gbagbo. Everything is negotiable. » After their release by the International Criminal Court, the former leader of the Young Patriots and the ex-president had to begin talks with the Ivorian government before their return.

If Guillaume Soro has not given up on the idea of ​​running for the 2025 presidential election, his ambition is still jeopardized by legal convictions and by the rejection of a large part of those in power who now consider him a traitor and consider that its political weight has collapsed in recent years. “He is aware that silence or inaction precedes political death,” analyzes a government source. 2025 starts to play out now and it’s up to him to get back in the game.”