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Ivory Coast


Muslim Political Party Persecutes Christians

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Christians in Côte d'Ivoire are facing persecution at the hands of Muslim aggressors. Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, was torn apart by two days of rioting Dec. 4-5 and as many as 50 people may have been killed, according to Barnabas Fund, a United Kingdom-based ministry to persecuted Christians.
    Christians and ethnic southern Ivorians were singled out, the ministry said. The fighting began when thousands of supporters of a Muslim political party took to the streets to protest a Supreme Court decision banning their leader, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, from standing in parliamentary elections, Barnabas reported.
    The protesters erected barricades and armed with guns, swords, machetes and clubs systematically stopped residents in the streets, Barnabas said. Christians and other non-Muslims were harassed, beaten, stabbed, and killed -- including several schoolchildren, the ministry reported. Other gangs launched attacks on police stations and government offices, killing several police officers and soldiers. Security forces raided mosques where they found caches of guns, swords, and ammunition, according to Barnabas.
    The situation calmed by Dec. 6, but there still is danger. In the majority-Muslim north of the country the violence has continued and many fear a Muslim-Christian civil war, Barnabas reported. Some Muslims are calling for the north to secede and set itself up as an Islamic republic with Ouattara as its president.

--Used by permission of Religion Today


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