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1000 dead in Ivory Coast church massacre: The Church of England Newspaper, April 8, 2011 p 7. April 9, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa.

President Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Over a 1000 Christians have been killed by Muslim soldiers at a mission station in Duékoué in the Ivory Coast, the aid agency Caritas has reported.

Details of the massacre remain unclear, with conflicting reports on the number of dead.  However, wire service reports and news bulletins released by the Salesian Info Agency (ANS) report the killings began on March 29 and are tied to the civil war between President Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara.

Anglican leaders in West Africa have lamented the growing unrest, and have called upon Christians to turn to the Scriptures and reflect on the paradox of a region endowed by God with tremendous material resources that is also home to tremendous poverty, sickness and political instability.

On March 31, ANS reported that approximately 10,000 refugees had taken shelter at the Salesian Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus mission in Duékoué some 300 miles west of the capital of Abidjan near the border with Liberia.  “The flow of refugees is extraordinary. The arrival of those from the Carrefour district together with those from other parts of the city means that the courtyard of the parish has quickly become totally occupied,” Roman Catholic news service said.

Over the past two weeks Ouattara’s “Republican Forces” have moved south from their bases in the predominantly Muslim northern region of the Ivory Coast and have taken the capital Yamoussoukro and the major port of San Pedro.  The Republican Forces, with Western backing, have now encircled President Gbagbo’s forces in the commercial capital of Abidjan.

The killings began when the Republican Forces, whom international observers declared the winner of the December 2010 election against President Gbagbo, moved into the region—which voted heavily for President Gbagbo.  The attackers were described by The Herald Scotland as “soldiers descended from Burkina Faso immigrant Muslim families loyal to Ouattara.”

According to the International Committee for the Red Cross, the victims were mainly men who had been shot and left for dead.  The UN has reported that “hundreds” of bodies have been found around the mission, but Caritas estimated that over 1000 were killed.

On April 4, ANS reported “at present there are only two Salesians there who have to try to respond to the appeals for help from about 20,000 people. UNO is helping to provide some provisions for the mission but distribution is not easy and the quantity is not sufficient to satisfy all the needs.”

The violence in the Ivory Coast was a sign of the failure of the region’s political and social institutions, church leaders said.

At the close of the March 21-25 Synod of the Church of the Province of West Africa held in Conakry in neighboring Guinea, Anglican leaders gave thanks to “God for the abundant grace of natural and mineral resources” of West Africa, but noted they “also had reason to be pained by and to be penitent for the numerous and seemingly incessant hardships and misfortunes made manifest in political instability, wanton destruction of human life and property, displaced and in-between peoples.”

“We are struck by the irony that the region so well endured by God has become almost synonymous with disease” and “poverty,” the synod said, and urged a turn to Scripture for the “discernment of the will of God” for the future of West Africa.

“We urge all Christians to be pro-active as well in joining others to create structures that will approximate to the vision of the Kingdom of God” and affirmed the propriety of Christian “engagement with socio-economic-political issues as a means of realizing of God’s kingdom on earth and reaching out to the world outside the Church.”



1. Steve - April 10, 2011

I don’t trust the reports when they say “President Laurent Gbagbo”, and “his rival Alassane Ouattara”.

By anyone’s reckoning, Gbagbo is the ex-President, and any news source that refers to him as “President” must be assumed to be making political propaganda. The best one could say is that they are both rivals for the disputed presidency.

2. 1000 Christians dead in Ivory Coast massacre? « Khanya - April 11, 2011

[…] I came across this story on David MacGregor’s blog, and in trying to find more went to 1000 dead in Ivory Coast church massacre: The Church of England Newspaper, April 8, 2011 p 7. Conger: Over a 1000 Christians have been killed by Muslim soldiers at a mission station in Duékoué the […]

3. Atlanta Roofing - April 12, 2011

The misinforma¬tion by the internatio¬nal media on what’s happening in Ivory Coast is breathtaki¬ng. Any objective observer knows that Gbagbo is currently fighting for his country independen¬ce against the colonial forces of the evil French empire.

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