Rebel Forces Target Catholic Priests in Ivory Coast – Church Facilities Destroyed
At least 1,000 Christians were slaughtered this week at the Salesian Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus mission in Duekoue, Ivory Coast by Muslim troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara. Catholic priests are also being targeted.
Catholic News Service reported:
The Vatican’s representative to the Ivory Coast has said Catholic priests have been targeted by armed groups during the current conflict, but added that he still hopes “full-scale civil war” can be avoided in the West African country.
In Rome, officials of Caritas Internationalis, the church’s charitable aid agency, said one of the priests kidnapped was Father Richard Kissi, diocesan director of Caritas in Abidjan, who was kidnapped March 29 by an armed group.
In a March 30 telephone interview, the nuncio, Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, told Catholic News Service, “I wouldn’t call it a civil war as yet — the rebel army has been trying to attack certain cities, and this is why the violence is continuing.”
He said students at the main Catholic seminary in Abidjan, the country’s largest city, had been evacuated after its buildings were occupied by rebel soldiers. He added that a Catholic priest had been abducted while helping supervise the evacuation, while another had been attacked while returning from a late-night radio broadcast and had been hospitalized. He would not identify the priests by name.
Father Richard Kissi, was later released after being kidnapped by an armed group.
More… The local bishop, Bishop Gaspard Béby Gnéba of Man, told the Fides news agency that Church facilities had been looted and destroyed.