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Ivory Coast: Nuncio appeals for prayers

Archbishop Ambrose Madtha

Archbishop Ambrose Madtha

There was bombing around the presidential residence Abidjan throughout last night. Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, the Apostolic Nuncio who lives just 200 metres from Gbagbo's residence, told Fides that the explosions were felt very strongly in the Nunciature, but all the staff were staying.

This morning (11 April), fighting continued in the district of Abidjan, around the barricaded home of outgoing President of Côte d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo. Last night UN mission and French Licorne helicopters launched rockets at the residence, destroying it in part, to “neutralize the heavy artillery” of Gbagbo, as provided by Resolution 1975 of the UN Security Council. Gbagbo was arrested later in the day.

“We thank God that we still have electricity and running water, as well as a supply of food,” said Archbishop Madtha. But he said he was concerned about the thousands of displaced people in Abidjan.

“In every parish in the city there are large numbers of displaced people forced to flee their homes because of the shootings and bombings. Only those who experience it can understand what this means.”

Archbishop Madtha confirmed that helicopters were used in the assault on Gbagbo's residence: “The helicopters launched missiles. Aircraft continues to fly over the area where we are. We are not able to see what damage has been done to the presidential residence, but we saw smoke rising from that direction.

“We did not sleep all night because of the bombing. We are all tired and anxious. We are collecting detailed information on the humanitarian situation which is certainly very serious, because food is scarce." The Archbishop concluded his telephone conversation with Fides with a request for prayers for the Ivory Coast.

Source: Fides