Abidjan (Fides Service)- “Hatred continues to grow in hearts, while political leaders carry on with their discussions” say Missionaries in Ivory Coast still divided in army and rebel controlled zones since the outbreak of civil war in September 2002. “We notice this is our pastoral work. A growing number of parishioners are staying away from the Sacraments of Communion and Confession. When we ask the reason many reply:
“All this happens while the political stall shows no sign of moving: the government appears to be divided and the rebels keep coming up with new excuses to prevent a peace agreement. What is needed is for President Gbagbo to resign” the Missionaries say. “Diffidence is also growing in the army where soldiers do not even trust their fellow military. Many ask:
President Gbagbo has still to re-establish relations with its former colonial ruler France, following the murder of journalist Jean Helene correspondent for Radio France International
(see Fides 22 October 2003 http://www.fides.org/en/news/2003/0310/22_1369.html). “Government press and television have given ample space to a recent agreement between Ivory Coast a certain Arab nations for the construction of an Abidjan – Yamoussoukro motorway, to underline that the country has no need of Paris to continue along the path of its development ” the Missionaries say.
Another signal of the deteriorating situation was the attempted robbery at the Central West African Bank in Korhogo (BCEAO) thwarted by rebel troops who control the area. Korhogo is in the north east on the border with Burkina Faso and the would-be bank robbers were said to be men of a former rebel leader who left Ivory Coast some time ago.
In a bid to enforce the application of the peace accord signed in France in January, the Presidents of Ghana and Nigeria are expected to arrive in Ivory Coast today. The Presidents will ask President Gbagbo to address the following issues to meet requests put by the rebels: reform of the constitution, reform of laws on nationality and land ownership to facilitate the purchase of land plots by immigrants in Ivory Coast. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/10/2003, lines 38 words 486)