Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who is on a state visit to Ghana, on Thursday urged Ivorians in the country to return home, assuring them that security has returned and is being strengthened every day.
The neighboring nation, Ghana, is hosting thousands who fled his country’s post-vote crisis.
Ouattara told an audience of around 1 500 Ivorians in the Ghanian capital, “I came to tell you to return to the country because Ivory Coast is peaceful. Security has returned and is being strengthened every day.”
He added that the country needs them to allow it to develop. He also reassured them that those who were innocent would not be caught up in post-conflict prosecutions.
“Under the rule of law, the justice system must carry out its work,” he said.
“Those who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear. For those who have committed crimes, whatever nature they may be, the justice system will not be abusive.”
Politicians loyal to Ouattara’s rival Laurent Gbagbo who have fled to Accra had hoped to have a separate meeting with the Ivorian leader, but they were refused and told to join the rest of the crowd, leading them to boycott the gathering.
Some Ivorian refugees living at the Ampain Refugee Camp in the Western Region are asking President Alassane Ouattara, who is on a state visit to Ghana, to release the beleaguered former President Laurent Gbagbo to pave way for peace.
The Ivorian refugees in Ghana think the nation’s quest to reconcile its citizens after the country was ravaged by the deadly post-election violence would come to naught if Mr Gbagbo is not freed.
About 3,000 people were killed and further 500,000 displaced in the unrest.
Mr Gbagbo is now being held in the north of the country after being charged with looting, armed robbery and embezzlement in connection with the post-election unrest.