Former Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro declared on Sunday that he would bring an end to his exile, which began in 2019. While he did not specify a date for his potential return to Côte d’Ivoire, where he faces a life sentence, Soro expressed the pain of living far from his ancestral land in Africa.
In a video address posted on social media, the 51-year-old Soro claimed there was an attempt to apprehend him at Istanbul’s airport on November 3, with the intention of extraditing him to Côte d’Ivoire. He reassured that he is in “very good health” and detailed his travels to France, Belgium, Dubai, and the Asian continent.
Accusing Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara of initiating an international manhunt against him, Soro asserted his innocence and his refusal to be a fugitive. He expressed his desire to contribute to the reconciliation of the people of Côte d’Ivoire.
Not specifying a return date, Soro, who led a rebellion in the 2000s and played a pivotal role in Ouattara’s rise to power, had a falling out with the president in 2019 due to reported presidential ambitions. In June 2021, he was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for endangering state security and inciting insurrection.
Despite the life sentence and a prior 20-year sentence for embezzlement, Soro had asserted in May 2023 that there was “no reason” preventing him from running in the 2025 presidential election. His political movement, Générations et peuples solidaires (GPS), was dissolved in Côte d’Ivoire in June 2021.