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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Ivory Coast: Italian missionaries assaulted
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¬†Two Italian missionaries were brutally assaulted and their lives threatened by armed men in Kohrogo, in north Ivory Coast, in the territory still controlled by the former rebels the Missionary News Service reported yesterday. The attack took place on the night between 8-9 February, when a commando of five to six unmasked militants broke into the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima, in a suburban neighbourhood of the city. Forty-nine year-old Father Luciano Ragazzo, Sons of Divine Providence missionary and his confrere Fr Natale Lucidi were assaulted and robbed. "They were searching for a safe that we have never had", said Fr Ragazzo, the recently-appointed Vicar General of the diocese of Kohrogo. "We handed over to them money, a telephone, video recorder, mobile phones and the radio: but they were not happy and for over an hour they threatened us with arms". They held Kalashnikovs pointed at the heads of the two missionaries. "We really thought it was over", he said. The priests were also beaten around the head and body with rifle butts. "On leaving they saw our vehicle and also robbed that ≠ after closing us in a room. Half an hour later French soldiers came to free us". Soldiers of the French peace contingent are present in Kohrogo to monitor the truce signed a year ago by the rebels and government forces, at the peak of the crisis in the Ivory Coast. The assailants may have been men of the gang of Adam Coulibaly, a former rebel leader killed in mysterious circumstances a few days before the attack; they may have conducted the attack before abandoning the zone and ≠ based on various sources ≠ returning to bordering Liberia, also afflicted by a war that officially ended a few months ago. Fr Ragazzo who never left his parish during most violent phase of the Ivorian crisis, between the end of 2002 and start of 2003, said he intends to stay on now. He said: "Ours is an evangelising presence, the people appreciate this and in the past days have come to show their affection after what occurred to us. These are positive signs that encourage us to carry on". Source: MISNA
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