In Cote d’Ivoire, Prayers for a Quick Resolution
As the conflict in
“If ever there was a time to pray, this is it,” said the Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey, head of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). “Pray for a quick resolution, one that can bring peace.”
Church personnel, including Bishop Benjamin Boni, and neighbors from the local community have taken refuge inside the building that houses the United Methodist radio station, Voice of Hope, in the Cocody neighborhood of
The building, which lies beside
Gbagbo lost the presidential elections last November to Ouattara, but has refused to relinquish power. His intransigence provoked violence between the opposing forces, and fighting has raged for more than four months.
United Nations and news sources indicate that some 1,500 people have died in the conflict and 500,000 have been uprooted in
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called the situation in
UN personnel have tried to negotiate with Gbagbo. Yesterday, they sought to deliver a document to him that, with his signature, would permit the UN to take him out of the presidential palace to a safe haven.
“Gbagbo has refused to sign the document, and the negotiations have collapsed,” the
Meanwhile, he stated, “The people are really suffering. They are running out of food, there is no fuel or electricity. We are under curfew from noon on. The crisis can end today if Gbagbo signs the UN document and recognizes Ouattara as president.”
Ouattara’s election victory was certified by the UN and has been recognized internationally.
Relief and Reconciliation
Even if Gbagbo turns himself in to United Nations forces and ends the standoff today, the Ivorian people’s ordeal will be far from over.
“Our real work is going to start when this conflict ends,” said Rev. Harvey, who has traveled to
In recent days, UMCOR supplied two relief grants of $20,000 each to the
“The church will have to tackle humanitarian assistance,” the Ivorian United Methodist spokesperson said. “Because of the crisis, a lot has been destroyed over the past four months. How difficult it has been! We as church have to help the people and we must forge reconciliation.”
Your assistance is urgently needed. You can help the people of