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Ivory Coast's judiciary agreed on Thursday to release on bail nine aides of ousted former president Laurent Gbagbo who had been detained since 2011 in the aftermath of a deadly post-poll crisis.
In a statement read out on public television RTI, the justice ministry said it had responded positively to bail requests for former prime minister Gilbert Ake, his former economy minister Desire Dallo and seven others.
The decision to release members of Gbagbo's camp before the New Year reveal an attempt by President Alassane Ouattara to ease political tensions in the troubled west African nation.
A deadly crisis erupted in late 2010 when Gbagbo, who had been in power 10 years, refused to concede electoral defeat to Ouattara, his arch-rival.
Gbagbo was eventually captured by Ouattara loyalists backed by French and UN forces and several members of his regime were detained.
The former president was bundled to The Hague a few months later to face trial at the International Criminal Court, which is to confirm charges of crimes against humanity in February.
Gbagbo's camp has accused Ouattara of imposing victor's justice while the government has charged that groups loyal to the ousted president had been carrying out attacks and continued to destabilise the country. - Sapa-AFP