Situation in Ivory Coast ‘extremely grave’

While everyone is keeping an eye on developments in Libya, the situation in Ivory Coast is deteriorating more and more:

One thousand people were suspected to be dead or missing in the town of Duekoue, Ivory Coast, after clashes throughout the country intensified, Caritas Internationalis reported.

Aid organizations have been recovering hundreds of bodies in Duekoue, according to news reports.

Caritas workers visiting the town “are reporting a thousand people have been killed there or ‘disappeared,’” Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church’s aid and development agency, said in an April 2 statement. . . .

 

Bishop Gaspard Beby Gneba of Man, whose diocese includes Duekoue, told the Vatican’s missionary news agency Fides April 2 that civilian and Church-owned facilities in his diocese such as churches, schools and health clinics have been destroyed and looted.

Bishop Gneba said 20,000 people had taken refuge at the Catholic mission in Duekoue, and another 2,000 refugees were in the two parishes of Guiglo. Among them were many Liberians who had been in Ivory Coast since the end of civil war in Liberia in 2003.

Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan told Fides April 4 that the situation there was quiet yet extremely tense, like the calm before a storm.

He said people have locked themselves in their homes, and many were without water, electricity and food.

“We are awaiting the finale to the battle. It’s an indescribable tragedy,” the archbishop said.

Margaret Cabaniss

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Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

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