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Ivory Coast bishops urge calm amid strikes, mutinies

Catholic bishops in Ivory Coast have launched a campaign of fasting and prayer for peace after a wave of army mutinies and civil service strikes.

In a message published on 23rd January, the bishops spoke of the people’s ‘social malaise’ and said the current unrest, ‘far from calming spirits, is inciting passions and anxieties’.

‘We immediately invite all elements of society to gather round a single table and debate all issues relating to security, high costs of living, youth unemployment and working conditions,’ the bishops said.

The bishops thanked the government of President Alassane Ouattara for attempts to develop the French-speaking country, but they urged greater efforts to ‘redistribute the fruits of growth’ and ensure equal justice and security guarantees for all.

The message added that the fasts and prayers would start on 25th January and include Masses for peace in Catholic parishes 29th January.

‘Some of our compatriots are still unjustly detained in prison, while others live in exile, and combatants and military personnel implicated in the successive crisis which shook our country are uneasy about their future,’ the bishops said.

Picture: Members of the Ivory Coast presidential guard patrol as they arrive at the port of Abidjan. Catholic bishops in Ivory Coast have launched a campaign of fasting and prayer for peace after a wave of army mutinies and civil service strikes. (CNS photo/Luc Gnago, Reuters).