Ivory Coast: kidnapped Caritas director freed

Fr Richard Kissi

Fr Richard Kissi

CAFOD partner Caritas has announced that the charity's  diocesan director in Abidjan who was kidnapped by an armed group on Tuesday has now been released and is safe.

“Fr Richard Kissi was released today. He is doing well and has already reached the parish of Notre-Dame de Treichville where he is based,” said Jean Djoman, Director of Human Development at Caritas Côte d’Ivoire on Friday.

Fr Richard Kissi was snatched while he was heading to Anyama, a suburb of Abidjan, to evacuate seminarians at the 'Grand Séminaire' after violent clashes had taken place in the area.

“We do not have any further elements on the circumstances and the motives for his kidnapping yet,” said Mr. Djoman.

Caritas is providing food, health care, sanitation and more to thousands of displaced people inside Côte d’Ivoire and in Liberia.The situation in Côte d’Ivoire has deteriorated into civil war following the disputed presidential election last year. Thousands of people are fleeing the growing instability caused by the continued stand-off between incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to leave office, and the winner of the presidential election held in November 2010, Alassane Outtara.

The international community has recognised Mr Outtara’s victory, although Mr Gbagbo’s supporters claim that the vote was rigged.
As Cote d'Ivoire descends into civil war, thousands of Ivorians are fleeing the violence in the commercial capital Abidjan.

CAFOD’s Antonio Cabral said: “This situation is at breaking point. The reports we are getting from the ground of increased fighting and thousands of terrified families fleeing to Liberia must be sufficient spur to the international community to act.

“A peaceful solution must be brokered, the UN peacekeeping mission must look at more effective ways to protect the civilian populations and international donors must address the growing humanitarian crisis inside Côte d’Ivoire and over the border in Liberia, where more than 100,000 refugees have amassed.

“The eyes of the world are on Libya and the Arab uprisings, but there is a civil war going on in West Africa. The people of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia need help now, they cannot wait for the political and news agenda to catch up.”

Source: CAFOD

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