Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo has filed for divorce from his wife of three decades at the age of 76, his lawyer said.
His lawyer, Claude Mentenon said in a statement on Monday that after years of “rejected requests for Simone Ehivet to consent to an amicable separation”, the ex-president had asked an Abidjan court for a divorce.
The ex-president has been in a relationship for several years with 47-year-old former journalist Nady Bamba.
The shocking announcement comes four days after Gbagbo returned to Ivory Coast following a decade’s absence, during which he was tried for crimes against humanity during the post-election conflict of 2010-11.
In April 2011, Simone Gbagbo was arrested alongside her husband after he refused to concede defeat, sparking a conflict that left some 3,000 people dead.
Gbagbo was sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he was definitively acquitted in March after a lengthy trial.
Simone Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in Ivory Coast for “violating state security”, but was released in 2018 after seven years of detention as part of an amnesty.
Gbagbo’s homecoming comes after his once-bitter rival, current President Alassane Ouattara, embraced his return in the name of national reconciliation.
Laurent and Simone Gbagbo, who have two daughters, married in 1989 and campaigned alongside each other for the introduction of multi-party elections in the 1990s.