AFRICA/IVORY COAST - The Bishops have called for the release of political prisoners in order to achieve genuine reconciliation

Friday, 27 May 2016 reconciliation   bishops

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - "Reconciliation naturally demands the release of political prisoners mainly because no one (political party) can claim to have acted in complete innocence during the conflict", said Mgr. Ignace Bessi Dogbo, Bishop of Katiola on Sunday, May 22, speaking on behalf of the Bishops of the Ivory Coast, in the Notre-Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro Cathedral, during the national pilgrimage held on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy. "For the nation to be reconciled, everyone must feel free to come and go without fear of being molested", added the Bishop.
The Ivory Coast has suffered a decade of military political crisis, between 2002 and 2011, which ended with the clash between current President Alassane Ouattara and former President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to recognize the victory of the first in the presidential election in November 2010. The violent post-election conflict of 2010-2011 claimed the lives of over 3000 persons within a space of five months. Gbagbo was finally arrested when UN and French troops stormed the presidential Palace where he had entrenched.
Several supporters of Gbagbo were arrested for the post-election violence, while no supporter of the current President has been brought to justice for violent acts committed, given that, according to independent observers, neither side can be said to be innocent for what occurred in that period. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/05/2016)