Thursday, March 24, 2011

AFRICA: IVORY COAST: PRAYERS TO END VIOLENCE CAUSING MANY DEATHS

Agenzia Fides REPORT – The confrontation between the armed forces of Côte d'Ivoire, who support the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, and the supporters of President-elect, Alassane Ouattara is becoming increasingly dramatic. In particular, Gbagbo's forces continue to make strikes on the neighbourhoods in Abidjan (the administrative capital of the Country), where Ouattara's men are concentrated. “In the afternoon of Thursday, 17 March, artillery rounds fell within 100 meters of our house. There have been numerous deaths and injuries,” says Sister Rosaria from the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto, from Abobo, in Abidjan where fighting began between the security forces that remained loyal to Gbabo and the 'invisible commando', a group close to President-elect Alassane Ouattara. “On Friday, 18 March, we were at the funerals of victims from the previous day when they fired more shots, causing panic among the people. I was told that there were other deaths, although I did not see them,” says the sister.
“In the afternoon of Monday, 21 March, other shots were fired near the monastery of the Poor Clares. Fortunately, the sisters were in the chapel praying,” continues Sister Rosaria. The sister describes the drama that the neighbourhood is going through: “Rounds are fired suddenly, when you least expect it. The exodus of the population continues. There are people dying of starvation because food and medical supplies are scarce. Add to that the effects of heat on the physically debilitated. After the bombing this morning, the people in the district seem to have disappeared, no one knows where. Perhaps they are preparing something dramatic.”
Sister Rosaria is outraged because “human rights are not being respected. It is impossible to watch people dying simply because they have no medicine. The pharmacies are closed and the embargo that was imposed (to force Gbagbo to concede power), aggravates the situation. The people are tired of not having anything.”
“It is the poor who are paying the price for everyone. The smallest pay in the struggle for power. I saw an eight year old girl taken to the dispensary with her brains hanging out of her head. How can we stop this massacre?” asks the sister.

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