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‘Happy to see you’: Ivory Coast political rivals hug in reconciliation push



Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and long-time rival Laurent Gbagbo hugged on Tuesday at their first meeting in over a decade, part of efforts to ease political tensions in the West African country.

“I’m happy to see you,” Ouattara said as he welcomed the former president at the presidential palace in Abidjan, the economic capital of the cocoa-producing country.

They hugged before taking off the protective face masks they were wearing because of the COVID-19 pandemic and smiled for the cameras while holding hands.

Ivory Coast has for more than a decade faced political tension, mistrust and violence. A 2010-11 civil war killed over 3,000 people as the two men vied for power.

The civil war began after Gbagbo, now 76, refused to concede electoral defeat to Ouattara in Dec. 2010, and he was arrested following the war. He returned from exile in June after being acquitted by the International Criminal Court of war crimes. read more

Gbagbo said he had urged Ouattara to continue reconciliation efforts by freeing other prisoners from the civil war period.

“I told the president – and you will agree with me – I was their leader and I am out today. They are in prison. I would like the president to do all he can to free them,” Gbagbo told a joint news conference.

Although Ouattara’s government paved the way for Gbagbo to return, he still faces a 20-year prison sentence handed down in November 2019 on charges of misappropriating funds from the regional central bank during the crisis period.

The government has not said whether it plans to enforce the verdict, or whether Gbagbo has been pardoned.

Ouattara said he and Gbagbo would continue to meet, and invited others to join them, probably after August.

“It is important for everyone to know that we have decided to restore trust and ensure that Ivorians reconcile and trust each other as well. The past events have been painful. Too many died and we must try to put that behind us,” Ouattara said.

Source: Reuters

Tags: Ivory Coast

Journalist and science writer for NewsAfrica24, the Atlantic, New Scientist, Aeon, Men’s Health, and many others. Author of The Intelligence Mafias, published by Stoughton (UK)/WW Norton (USA) and translated into six languages.

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Ghana wins three medals at Combat Jiu Jitsu World Championship



It was a huge success for Team Ghana on their debut in the Combat Ju Jitsu world championship in Kiev, Ukraine  after all three representatives won medals in their respective weight categories.

Isaac Dowuona AKA Zongo Fire won silver in the lightweight division whereas Team Ghana captain, Abdul Malik Adjei, grabbed third place in the bantamweight category and Ishmael Lantei Lamptey also secured bronze in the welterweight division at the Combat Jiu Jutsu International Federation (CJJIF) organised event that saw 32 countries compete.

The fourth qualified Ghanaian, Solomon Donne Ametepey, a middleweight unfortunately got injured in training and failed to make the trip.

Ghana, one of only three African countries, along with Uganda and Egypt to take part, wowed the tournament with their impressive displays even though they only arrived in Ukraine on Friday, a day after the competition had started. They had to go straight to the Urban Sports City Arsenal Sports Complex for weigh-in ahead of their respective fights on Saturday.

But that did not distract their focus on the task at hand, which was to do well and win medals. They delivered three medals in the process to further enhance the name of Ghana in the sporting world following the heroics of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games hero, Samuel Takyi.

“The feeling is very great and the other federations of other countries like France, Turkey, UAE, Kazakhstan, Cyprus and Germany are so impressed with our team’s performance. The want to invite us to participate in their various upcoming events.” said Evans Bernie-Johnson, Executive Director, Professional Combat Sports Association of Ghana (PROCSAG).

“The future of Combat Jiu Jitsu in Ghana is very bright as one of the other European countries’ Combat Jiu Jitsu President wanted to partner us to organise Africa and world championship as well in Ghana,” Mr. Bernie-Johnson revealed.

“Another beautiful thing is the road cross sign which our brother Samuel Takyi did at the Olympics. As soon as we appear at the arena the people there show the sign  to welcome us and those supporting us chanted ‘Ghana, Ghana, Ghana’. It was so lovely,” the PROCSAG chief added.

The 3-day competition featured 32 countries and witnessed competition in adults 18+, juniors 16-17 years and cadets 12-15 years divisions.

Ghana, however, was only represented in the adults category mainly because of financial challenges from the  lack of support from government and corporate Ghana.

With the impressive performance exhibited in Ukraine by the three fighters, it is the hope of PROCSAG that Ghanaians realise the huge potential of Combat Sports and will offer the much needed support.

“We have learnt more tactics, techniques and exposure. We need government support to be able to organise and develop the sport and be in all the regions in Ghana to represent Mother Ghana in upcoming international competition,” said Mr. Bernie Johnson.

“We have fighters in all categories both male and female, but the cost of airfare, hotel, food and participation is very expensive. So if we get support from government, individuals and corporate bodies, there is no doubt we will go very far because we can go with more athletes in all categories and win more medals for Ghana,” he continued.

“We would like to thank all Ghanaians for their support, encouragement and advice especially the current Sports Minister Hon. Mustapha Ussif, former Mayor of Accra Hon. Oko Vanderpuije, Hon. Isaac Kwadwo Osei, Madam Shaik Latif, Lucy Latif and Nuumo Kobblah III of Korle We.”

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2022 WCQ: Daniel Laryea gets Tunisia vs Equatorial Guinea tie



Daniel Laryea from Ghana has been put in charge of next month’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar round two Match day 1 qualifier between Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea.

The 34 year old will be assisted by compatriot Kwasi Brobbey Acheampong (Assistant II), Ayimavo Aymar Ulrich Eric from Benin (Assistant I) and Ligali Adissa Abdul Raphiou from Benin (Fourth referee).

AbedlHamid Essameldin Abdelfattah from Egypt has been given the nod as Referee Assessor with Bahloul Amar from Algeria to work as the Match Commissioner.

The Group B tie comes at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Friday, September 3, 2021 at 20:00GMT.

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Naomi Osaka to donate her earnings from Western & Southern Open to Haiti earthquake relief support



Naomi Osaka will donate her earning from the Western & Southern to the relief efforts in Haiti; she said: “I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors’ blood is strong we’ll keep rising”

Naomi Osaka has pledged to donate her earnings from the Western & Southern Open to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

The four-time Grand Slam champion announced her pledge in response to the 7.2-magnitude quake that struck the impoverished country on Saturday.

The death toll rose to 724 on Sunday as rescue workers scrambled to find survivors buried under buildings as a tropical storm bore down on the Caribbean nation.

Haiti is still clawing its way back from another major temblor 11 years ago and reeling from the assassination of its president Jovenel Moise last month.

“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really cant catch a break,” Osaka said on Twitter.

“I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors blood is strong we’ll keep rising.”

Osaka, whose father is Haitian, has used her platform to call attention to the causes she cares about.

She is seeded second at the tournament in Cincinnati, which runs from August 16-22, ahead of the US Open in New York which begins on August 30.

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