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By Alexander NyarkoYeboah – GITFIConline.com
Tema Sept 25, Gitficonline–A government spokesperson says Ivorian authorities plan to release associates of opposition leader and former Prime Minister (PM) Guillaume Sorowho who have been held in detention for months.
The gesture is seen as a means to calm tensions in the Ivory Coast ahead of the October presidential election says Sidi Tiemoko Toure.
This was made known by the government spokesperson on Wednesday in an interview with reuters which was sighted by the gitficonline.
In explaining the decision of the government on the detainees, Mr. Toure said even though some of the detainees would be released they may still face prosecution.
“This gesture can be appreciated as an additional gesture of appeasement by the head of state,” Toure said, declining to give the number of detainees to be freed.
The detainees, who are close to former PM Soro and include five lawmakers, have been held without trial since they were arrested in December over an alleged coup plot that led to Soro’s exile in Paris.
Soro has labeled Ouattara’s third term bid a “civilian coup d’etat” and urged the opposition to unite to stop him, while President Ouattara’s main challenger, former President Henri Konan Bedie, has called for civil disobedience.
The two opposition leaders accuse Ouattara, who has been in power for a decade, of violating the constitution by seeking a third term. The 78-year-old president says a constitutional change means his two-term limit has been reset.
Soro, who was prime minister from 2007-2012 and head of Parliament until last year, has been barred from running.
Opposition parties have stopped short of saying they will boycott the poll, which the ruling party says will take place regardless of whether they participated or not.
President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to run for a third term, following the sudden death of his handpicked successor in July, has led to recurrent violent protests. The opposition has called for further unrest in the run-up to the October polls.