Dialogue Urged as Ivory Coast Struggles with Uprising

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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, OCT. 3, 2002 (Zenit.org).- As Ivory Coast grapples with an armed insurrection, African bishops appealed to political and military leaders to avoid the use of force in favor of dialogue, forgiveness and national reconciliation.



In a statement issued in Accra, Ghana, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar highlights the elements that are fueling the crisis.

The document, signed by Monsignor Laurent Monsengwo Pasinyia, president of SECAM, warns about "the hundreds of victims, a rebellion within the army with all the risks of an internal war, the massive concentration of foreign troops, with the danger of uncontrollable consequences and, finally, a divergent approach to possible solutions."

Since Sept. 19, hundreds of rebellious military men began the uprising. They now control the three northern cities of Bouake, Korhogo and Odienne, and recently captured Sakassou. Control of Abidjan, the country's commercial capital, was recovered a few hours after the outbreak of the conflict.

On Tuesday, the rebels expressed their demands for the first time, in Bouake. They vowed to bring down "the regime of President Laurent Gbagbo and to return justice, peace and equality among all the children of Ivory Coast."