General News of 2012-09-27

President Ouattara Mad at Ghana

-over release of Ivorian Former Minister

-Fingers’ a Senior Ghanaian Journalist

Ivory Coast President, Alassane Ouattara is seething with anger over the release of a former Ivorian minister and an ally of former Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo by Ghanaian courts on Tuesday.

A source close to the Ivorian Presidency who doesn’t want his identity disclosed because he has not been authorized to officially speak on the issues told The Al-Hajj on phone that, the Ivorian president was extremely distraught when news about the release of Mr. Justin Kone Katinan got to the president on Tuesday morning.

According to our dependable source, President Alassane Ouattara was fuming with rage over the Ghanaian authorities’ handling of the matter and felt stabbed in the back.

“I can confirm to you that His Excellency, Alassane Ouattara feels betrayed by his brother, president Mahama and the Ghanaian government over the release of this criminal, Kone Katinan, he is very, very sad”. Our source stated.

The source further told The Al-Hajj that Mr. Ouattara is however expecting to get explanations from the Ghanaian president, John Mahama, currently attending a special session of the United Nations, before deciding on the next line of action.

This is the second major incident with the potential of straining relationship between the two West African neighbours within a week. Ivory Coast on Friday September 21st this year closed its border with Ghana after a series of deadly attacks by elements suspected to be loyalists of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

Ivory Coast Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said eight people, including six attackers, were killed.

Ivorian officials claimed the attacks, and a series of similar raids last month, were organised by allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo, many of whom now live in exile in neighbouring countries including Ghana.

But the country's Interior Minister, Hamed Bakayoko was emphatic that the attacks on the army and police were launched from Ghanaian territory. Another source at the Ivorian Intelligence directorate told this paper that the Ivorian authorities are also pointing a finger at a senior Ghanaian journalist with close ties to the Ghanaian government and who is also a close Gbagbo ally, to be behind the release of Mr. Mr. Justin Kone Katinan from detention. According to the source, the Ivorians have information that this same journalist (name currently withheld), whose strident defense of the former Ivorian leader before his ouster was reported to have acted in concert with a top security capo in Ghana to get Kone Katinan released.

Mr. Justin Kone Katinan, President Gbagbo’s Budget Minister and spokesman during the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire has been held in jail by Ghanaian authorities since August in connection with extradition request from the Ivorian government He was on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 granted bail in the sum of 50,000 Ghana Cedis with two sureties by an Osu Magistrate court presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh.

The court said it considered challenges the prosecution was going through as well as the submissions of defence counsel in granting the bail to Katinan, The court however ordered him to report to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) every fortnight until otherwise directed.

The court upheld the status of Katinan, as an asylum seeker and that it should be maintained. Ivory Coast has closed its border with Ghana since Friday after the raids, however, Ivorian airspace reopened to Ghanaian flights from midnight of Monday. Meanwhile, Ghana has re-affirmed its commitment to international laws and full cooperation with Cote d’Ivoire to ensure lasting peace in that country. A statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry expressed concern about what it says are repeated allegations by Ivorian authorities of incursions by pro-Gbagbo militias living in Ghana and has called for joint investigations into the incidents.