Release of three soldiers among the 49 Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali – RFI

Published on: 03/09/2022 – 21:22 Three women who are part of the group of 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Mali on July 10 have reportedly been released. Robert Dussey, the head of Togolese diplomacy, made the announcement on Saturday evening during a press briefing. A case in which Togo plays the mediator between Bamako and Abidjan. The official announcement was made in Lome, Togo, on Saturday evening during a conference during which the three flags of Togo, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire were visible on the desks. The brief press briefing took place in the presence of the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdoulaye Diop. It was Fidel Sarassoro, chief of staff to the Ivorian head of state, who was the first to speak. “Forty-nine Ivorian soldiers were arrested on July 10, 2022 at Bamako airport on the grounds that their arrival on Malian soil had not been the subject of prior notification or authorization. The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire regrets that shortcomings and misunderstandings were at the origin of this highly regrettable event. The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, anxious to maintain good neighborly relations with Mali, undertakes to respect the procedures of the United Nations, as well as the new Malian rules and provisions enacted relating to the deployment of military forces in Mali. “Then it is the turn of the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Doussey to make the announcement, reports our correspondent in Lomé, Peter Sassou Dogbé. “The President of the Togolese Republic is delighted that President Assimi Goïta has agreed to release, as a humanitarian gesture, three prisoners out of the 49. So three Ivorian soldiers have been released and discussions are underway. “The three female soldiers, accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Ivorian armed forces, returned to Abidjan on Saturday evening pending the release of the 46 other soldiers. This release, however, almost failed at the last moment. The Malian authorities initially did not want them to leave Mali in military uniform. It was an end of inadmissibility but in the end everything went back to normal. Main mediator in the file, President Faure Gnassingbé walked on eggshells throughout the talks by making room for other stakeholders in the case, such as Algeria, Morocco, ECOWAS and, according to our information, even Guinea. “We also had to find a legal key to the file”, recognizes a judicial source. On this point, in a press release, the public prosecutor affirmed that the investigating judge, after consulting the prosecution, accepted the release of the three women. The 46 other soldiers, all men, therefore remain in detention. Mali accuses them of being “mercenaries”. Abidjan, who is asking for their release, ensures for his part that they were on a mission for the UN, as part of logistical support operations for Minusma. ►Also read: Mali: the 49 Ivorian soldiers charged and imprisoned for “undermining state security”