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Thursday, February 23, 2017
Ivory Coast: Salesian mission shelters 12,000 refugees
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 More than 12,000 men, women and children are sheltering in the grounds of a Salesian mission in the St Thérèse parish in Duékoué, in western Ivory Coast. The refugees arrived at the centre last Wednesday, from several villages in the area, particularly Guitrozon and Petit Duékoué where they had suffered violent attacks. Fr Juan Ruiz, one of the four priests who run the mission, said they had set up some tents in order to protect people from torrential rains. Fr Juan said: "The people are wondering when they will be able to return home; many want to, but are still too afraid." The United Nations Mission in the Ivory Coast reported that around 40 people had been killed in the attacks and many more injured. UN commander General Abdoulaye Fall said that nearly all the victims were of the Guéré ethnic group. He said: "This recurring phenomenon of ethnic clashes precedes our arrival on the scene of the war. Evidently the crisis that broke out 19 September 2002 ­ day of the coup attempt against President Laurent Gbagbo that divided the nation into the south (where Duékoué is located) controlled by the government and north in the hands of the former rebels ­ contributed to further escalating the phenomenon." Another missionary working in the area said he thought the conflict was also partly over the possession of land, and made much worse by the arrival of many people from Burkina Faso and Mali. Source: MISNA
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