News / Africa

Ivory Coast Civilians Find Shelter from Fighting in Abidjan Church

Resident walk past shops looted and destroyed in the Abobo district of Abidjan, March 2, 2011
Resident walk past shops looted and destroyed in the Abobo district of Abidjan, March 2, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

In Ivory Coast, more than 30,000 people have fled a neighborhood of the commercial capital Abidjan because of fighting between supporters of the country's rival governments. One church has become a sanctuary for some of those displaced.

At the gates of Abidjan's Saint Ambroise Church, young volunteers come early to greet families who are fleeing nearly two weeks of renewed fighting between supporters of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and supporters of his rival, Alassane Ouattara.

Many of these displaced left home quickly, packing what they could, but leaving most everything behind.  Some are looking for food on their way to somewhere safer.  Others have nowhere else to go.  

Ange Desire Heliasson, who heads the St. Ambroise parish, says there are two types of people coming to the church: those who spend a day or two in hopes of continuing their journey and those who have nowhere else to go.  For those who can move on, the church is helping organize transport with parishioners who are volunteering their trucks.

Most of the displaced come from areas of the pro-Ouattara Abobo neighborhood where Gbagbo troops are fighting militiamen who have taken control of much of the area.  Mothers say their children are traumatized by weeks of overnight rocket fire.

Many of the displaced arrive at St. Ambroise with injuries after getting caught up in the fighting.  Some have gunshot wounds.

Christian Bosson, who works for the International Committee of the Red Cross, says the most urgent needs here are linked to health.  The need for medicine is also linked to hygiene, which is linked to the need for shelter.

Fighting in Abidjan has disrupted the school year and made it hard for many parents to afford another place to live in an economy that is being dragged down by international and regional sanctions against the Gbagbo government. There is a shortage of cooking gas. Civil servants wait for hours to be paid 80 percent of their salaries.

St. Ambroise volunteer Solange N'guessan say the church will be here for these displaced civilians, as long as it takes.

N'guessan says volunteers are trying to help people leave.  They cannot abandon them.  That is why people have come to the church for protection.

The United Nations says more than 300 people have been killed in post-election violence.  More than 70,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Liberia and Guinea.

African Union heads of state meet again Friday in Mauritania, to discuss a peace plan for Ivory Coast with violence here in the commercial capital spreading to other neighborhoods and fighting near the border with Liberia breaking a six-year cease-fire.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid