Agenzia Fides REPORT - “The humanitarian situation is dramatic because the fighting has gone on for three days,” says Bishop Gaspard Béby Gnéba, Bishop of Man, in the west of the Country, to Fides. “The conditions for people, which were already dramatic, have worsened. We do not have updated information on humanitarian conditions because the situation is always changing, with the fighting still ongoing. In addition to Duékoué, the fighting is happening in several towns and villages. The worst is in Duékoué where fighting has already been going on for three days,” continues Bishop Gnéba.
The Republican Forces, the new name of the New Forces who support President-elect Alassane Ouattara, have gone on the offensive in several areas of Côte d'Ivoire, against the security forces who remained loyal to outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to recognise Ouattara's victory in the second round of the elections in November 2010. Ouattara's forces have gone on the offensive in Duékoué (west), Daloa (central-west) and Bondoukou (east), in an attempt to conquer the strongholds of the regime and above all to prevent the export of cocoa, the primary asset of the Country, still controlled by Gbagbo.
“To escape the fighting, many Ivorians have fled to Liberia,” Bishop Gnéba continues. “I was contacted by Fr Joseph, a Liberian pastor, who gave me some information about the refugee situation for my diocese for those who are now in Liberia.” Fr Joseph, is now in Zwedru (Grand Gedeh), Liberia, on the border with Côte d'Ivoire. “We are counting the number of Ivorian refugees. There are many,” he tells Fides. “The Ivorian refugees are distributed around several villages in the area. We are organising assistance programs for them. We need medicine, food and staff who speak French. I speak a little because during the Liberian civil war we were the displaced persons in Côte d'Ivoire. We lived as refugees for four years in that Country. Now it's our turn to welcome our Ivorian brothers and sisters. But we need the help of the universal Church,” concludes Fr Joseph.