1,000 dead in Ivory Coast massacre

By  Catholic News Service
  • April 6, 2011
Soldiers loyal to Ivory Coast President-elect Alassane Ouattara move through the main city Abidjan (CNS photo/Emmanuel Braun, Reuters)VATICAN CITY - One thousand people were suspected to be dead or missing in the town of Duekoue, Ivory Coast, after clashes throughout the country intensified, according to Caritas Internationalis workers in the area.  

The alleged massacre occurred in a part of Duekoue controlled by president-elect  Alassane Ouattara during intense clashes March 27-29, Caritas said. Caritas is the Catholic Church’s aid and development agency.

Army forces and militia supporting Ouattara have been clashing with security personnel and others loyal to outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to leave office after Ouattara was declared the winner of elections Nov. 28. Some one million people have fled the violence, according to the United Nations.

The Vatican’s representative to the Ivory Coast said Catholic priests have been targeted by armed groups, but added that he still hopes “full-scale civil war” can be avoided.

Pope Benedict XVI launched an urgent appeal for an end to violence and called for talks to end the crisis.

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