ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – The man once considered likely to become Guinea-Bissau's next president and another top politician both left the volatile country late Friday after spending two weeks in detention following this month's coup.
Former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr. was the front-runner in a presidential runoff vote that had been scheduled this month. That election was derailed after armed forces attacked his home with grenades in mid-April and took him into their custody.
On Friday, Gomes arrived in the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan along with Raimundo Pereira, who had been serving as the West African nation's interim president.
In 2009, the country's longtime leader was assassinated in his home, and his successor died from illness in January, raising fears of a coup in a country long plagued by political instability. No leader in the nearly 40 years since independence from Portugal has finished his time in office.
The two men said little upon arrival Friday night about their future political plans.
"It's also our country and we are waiting," Pereira told reporters after thanking Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara for his help. Gomes did not address the crowd that gathered ahead of their arrival.
Ivory Coast's president is the current chair of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which has tried to mediate in Guinea-Bissau and has urged a return to constitutional order. On Thursday, ECOWAS said it had authorized the deployment of some 600 standby forces to Guinea-Bissau.