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Infos: Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali: ECOWAS will not sanction the junta

Ivorian soldiers on March 17, 2021   –   Copyright © africanews ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP or licensors By Rédaction Africanews with AFP Last updated: 2 hours ago Mali The current president of the West African states (ECOWAS) assured on Wednesday that there would be no sanctions against Mali in the immediate future despite their ultimatum, to let the

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Infos: Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali: ECOWAS will not sanction the junta
Ivorian soldiers on March 17, 2021   –  

Copyright © africanews

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP or licensors

Mali

The current president of the West African states (ECOWAS) assured on Wednesday that there would be no sanctions against Mali in the immediate future despite their ultimatum, to let the Togolese mediation work for the release of the 46 Ivorian soldiers held in Mali since July.

The 46 Ivorian soldiers, suspected by Bamako of being “mercenaries”, were sentenced on December 30 to 20 years in prison, before the expiration of the ultimatum set by the West African heads of state to the Malian junta to release them.

They were found guilty of “attack and conspiracy against the government,” “undermining the external security of the state,” and “possession, carrying and transporting weapons and munitions of war (…) with the aim of disturbing public order through intimidation or terror,” at the end of a two-day trial in Bamako.

READ MORE: Togo President in Mali as efforts to free Ivorian troops increase

Umaro Sissoco Embalo, current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Guinea-Bissau head of state, said Wednesday that “there will be no sanctions against Mali in the immediate future”, during a meeting with the press in Bissau.

“We have given time to (allow) the Togolese mediation to do its job, in order to solve the problem. It is just a matter of common sense,” he added.

– presidential pardon” –

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé was meanwhile visiting Bamako. “He pleaded for a presidential pardon,” an official of the Malian presidency assured AFP.

A source close to the Ivorian presidency told AFP that he was expected in Abidjan after his visit to Mali.

READ MORE: ECOWAS won't sanction Mali over detained Ivorian soldiers

No official communication on the content of the discussions of the two heads of state had been released late Wednesday afternoon, the Togolese presidency said in a statement that “cooperation between Togo and Mali, as well as regional issues of common interest” would be at the heart of the face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

In his New Year's speech, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara promised that the incarcerated soldiers “will soon return to Ivorian soil.

– “Diplomatic way” –

“We must trust the head of state,” said Amadou Coulibaly, spokesman for the Ivorian government, on Wednesday after the Council of Ministers. “Côte d'Ivoire has chosen a path, that of negotiation, it is the diplomatic path, we remain resolutely committed to this path,” he added.

On the convictions of Ivorian soldiers, he said: “We never comment on court decisions taken in Côte d'Ivoire, there is no reason for us to comment on court decisions taken abroad.

Since July 10, Côte d'Ivoire has demanded the release of its soldiers, categorically denying that they were “mercenaries”, claiming that they were on a mission for the UN, as part of logistical support operations for the United Nations Mission in Mali (Minusma).

On December 22, an official Ivorian delegation visited Bamako in the presence of the Togolese foreign minister in a “fraternal” spirit. It ended with the signing of a memorandum, with the Ivorian Minister of Defense, Téné Birahima Ouattara, brother of the Head of State, emphasizing that the matter was “in the process of being resolved.

The agreement reached between Mali and Ivory Coast leaves open the possibility of a presidential pardon for the head of the Malian military junta, Assimi Goïta, who did not mention the Ivorian soldiers in his end-of-year speech on Saturday.

Togo President in Mali as efforts to free Ivorian troops increase

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          ECOWAS won't sanction Mali over detained Ivorian soldiers

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            ECOWAS won't sanction Mali over detained Ivorian soldiers

            Ivorian President vows soldiers held in Mali will 'return soon'

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              Ivorian President vows soldiers held in Mali will 'return soon'

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              Foreign

              Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”

              Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –   Copyright © africanews Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved By Rédaction Africanews and Serge Koffi Last updated: 8 hours ago Pope Francis The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

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              Infos: Pope Francis in DRC on a “mission of peace”
              Pope Francis greets well-wishers after arriving in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023   –  

              Copyright © africanews

              Jerome Delay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

              Pope Francis

              The plane carrying the Holy Father arrived at Kinshasa International Airport in the middle of Tuesday afternoon.

              A dozen dignitaries including Congolese Prime Minister Sama Lukonde, alongside civil and religious authorities met him at the foot of the plane.

              Pope Francis was then escorted in his Popemobile to the Palace of the Nation where he met the Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.

              The pontiff expressed his regret that the country, and more widely the African continent, still suffers from various forms of exploitation.

              “This country and this continent deserve to be respected and listened to, they deserve to find space and receive attention. Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: Africa is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered. May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny!”, said Pope Francis

              Alongside the Pope, the Congolese president spoke of the challenges facing the  Continent, notably security and the preservation of the environment.

              “The removal of security threats in our country will certainly contribute to the effectiveness of the fight against climate change and the protection of the environment. Your pastoral visit will surely contribute to strengthen this determination and our people are ready to welcome your message of peace, hope, comfort, strengthening and brotherhood”, said Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, President of the DRC

              Africanews reporter Serge Koffi added:

              “According to the organisers, Pope Francis will not be visiting the east of the country where the security crisis has lasted for more than two decades.

              It is therefore here in Kinshasa, far from the shooting and fighting that the pontiff will launch his message of peace and reconciliation with the aim of easing tensions in this part of the DRC“.

              South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis

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                South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis

                Pope Francis lands in DR Congo, welcomed with joy

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                  Pope Francis lands in DR Congo, welcomed with joy

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                    Activists urge Pope to sanction DR Congo priest accused of sex abuse

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                      DRC's capital, Kinshasa, ready to welcome Pope Francis

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                        DRC's capital, Kinshasa, ready to welcome Pope Francis

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                          Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis

                          South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –   Copyright © africanews Africanews By Africanews Last updated: 8 hours ago South Sudan Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985. The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of

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                          Infos: South Sudan prepares to welcome Pope Francis
                          South Sudan prepares Papal visit   –  

                          Copyright © africanews

                          Africanews

                          South Sudan

                          Pope Francis landed in the DRC's capital, Kinshasa, on Tuesday afternoon for the first Papal visit to the DRC since 1985.

                          The visit to the Continent includes a trip on Friday to Juba, the capital of South Sudan and one of the poorest countries in the world.

                          “We hope this visit is a great opportunity for the people of South Sudan to reconcile, to reunite, and to rebuild their future as one people united”, said Andreas Mabior, Head of the choir.

                          Sister Sarah Gune Justin, a Catholic nun, added “(South Sudan, Ed.) We became helpless because of war, but with faith and trust in God we know that with the coming of the Holy Father to our country, we will experience the peace of Christ, and South Sudan is going to change, it’s not going to remain as before”.

                          The six-day trip to the DRC and South Sudan had been planned for July 2022, but postponed due to the pontiff's knee pain that has forced him to use a wheelchair in recent months.

                          “Hopefully his coming as already indicated in his motto of coming, this is his wish for the people of South Sudan, “to be united, to be one”. This is without any hesitation that is moving people of South Sudan to be one”, concluded Matthew Remijio, Catholic Bishop of South Sudan's Wau Diocese.

                          After gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan suffered a brutal five-year civil war, while continued conflict between rival ethnic groups exacts a terrible toll on civilians.

                          The Pope will be joined in Juba by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the leader of the Church of Scotland, on what he has called “an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace“.

                          Pope Francis lands in DR Congo, welcomed with joy

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                            Pope Francis lands in DR Congo, welcomed with joy

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                                    Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home

                                    The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –   Copyright © africanews africanews By Africanews Last updated: 3 hours ago France An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast. The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty

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                                    Infos: Sacred Ivorian drum held in France about to be returned home
                                    The Djidji Ayokwe drum is emblematic of Ivorian culture and identity   –  

                                    Copyright © africanews

                                    africanews

                                    France

                                    An Ivorian drum seized by France during colonization is about to be returned to the Ivory Coast.

                                    The sacred Djidji Ayokwe drum was used to communicate warning messages up to thirty kilometres around villages.

                                    In 1916 the drum was confiscated by the French colonial administration and transferred to France in 1930.

                                    The “talking drum”, as it was nicknamed,has been restored in a workshop near Paris under the supervision of the Quay Branly Museum.

                                    “You can see that it has been quite badly affected by wood-eating insects which have dug galleries, certainly repeatedly, and that this has structurally weakened the drum”, said Nathalie Richard, head of the conservation-restoration department at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                    “We consolidated the material, the wood itself, by impregnating it with a resin carried by a solvent. So the resin makes it possible to regain a slightly solid structure and to avoid small breakages on the edges, on the edges of the galleries, on the edges of the gaps, and so that vibrations and handling do not damage the drum any more”, concluded the head of conservation. 

                                    The drum is three metres long and weighs 430 kg. This wooden instrument is seen as carrying mystical properties and was used to warn of dangers, mobilise for war or summon villages to ceremonies or festivals.

                                    It is the first of a list of 148 works that Ivory Coast officially requested the restitution to France in late 2018.

                                    “The drum made it possible to transmit messages over long distances – up to 30 kilometres in all directions – to villages neighbouring the village of Adjamé where it was located and which were therefore interpreted by those who heard them through sound, since the Ebrié language is a tonal language”, said Hélène Joubert, head of the heritage unit of the Africa collections at the Quai Branly Museum.

                                    This traditional object, long claimed by Abidjan, is a central piece of the musical art of the Ebriés, an ethnic group in Ivory Coast.

                                    “This loss was extremely important psychologically, felt as a loss of identity and freedom. And to recover the drum is to recover one's identity and freedom”,  concluded the head of African collections. 

                                    The arrival of the Djidji Ayokwe at the Museum of Civilisation in Abidjan can only be confirmed once the French Parliament has voted on a law allowing its official return, similar to the restitution of historical pieces to Benin approved by the French parliament in December 2020.

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