Former Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has announced plans to return home and contribute to the reconciliation of the country despite having two criminal investigations.
Mr. Soro went into self-exile in 2019 said intends contesting in the 2024 general elections in Ivory Coast.
In 2021, an Ivorian court sentenced Soro in absentia to life imprisonment for undermining national security.
The previous year, he had been sentenced to 20 years on charges relating to the embezzlement of public funds.
Both convictions happened while Soro was in self-imposed exile, which began in December 2019.
On Sunday, he said on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that he was “guilty of no crime”.
“It is hard to live far from my ancestral… land of Africa”, he said on X. He added that an attempted arrest had been made against him at an airport in Turkey on 3 November, to extradite him to Ivory Coast.
Although Soro did not specify the date for his return, he had announced in May that he intended to run in Ivory Coast’s 2025 presidential elections. In 2020, the Ivorian Constitutional Court stopped his bid to run for president.
Soro, a former leader of a rebel group that operated in northern Ivory Coast in the early 2000s, had been a key ally of the current President, Alassane Ouattara.
He provided military support to Mr Ouattara during a power struggle against then President Laurent Gbagbo following a dispute over the 2010 election results, which descended into a brief civil war that killed nearly 3,000 people.
It ended when Mr Gbagbo was captured in April 2011. Soro then became prime minister and national assembly speaker under President Ouattara.
But their relationship soured in 2019 after President Ouattara accused Soro of instigating a “civilian and military insurrection”, leading to Soro’s exile.