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Exiled Opposition Leader Returns to Ivory Coast


A top opposition leader in Ivory Coast has returned to the west African nation after three years in exile.

Alassane Ouattara arrived in Abidjan Wednesday, greeted by a small group of supporters and dozens of U.N. peacekeepers who will provide him protection.

He issued a call for unity and said he is returning to his country with "a lot of love."

Ouattara is a former prime minster and heads the Rally of Republicans party. He fled Ivory Coast for France three years ago after allies of President Laurent Gbagbo accused him of supporting northern-based rebels in the country's civil war.

Ouattara has said he will run in presidential elections scheduled for October.

Ivory Coast is divided between rebel-held and government-controlled areas. A peace deal to reunite the country has repeatedly stalled.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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