Crisis in Ivory Coast deepens

By March 8, 2011

Ivory Coast (MNN) — The Ivory
Coast's political deadlock is degenerating quickly into civil war.

Essentially, November's election
results are being ignored by the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to step
aside. The internationally-recognized president, Alassane Ouattara, has yet to take office in spite of the appointment of a parallel

Meanwhile, beginning last weekend, supporters of both
began engaging each other. Gbagbo commands the loyalty of the army and
much of the south while Ouattara has the support of the north.

Curt Cole, HCJB Global Vice President of
International Ministries, says one of their partners, Fréquence Vie (Life Frequency),
was caught in the crossfire in Abobo, a northern suburb of the capital of
Abidjan. "They are still on the air,
but they actually had one of their repeaters knocked off the air during a
demonstration and destroyed." Repairs
are estimated at $20,000.

It didn't end there. Cole says, "We also have another partner
station in the north that, as far as we know, is still on the air but has
suffered tremendously mainly because of the power cuts. They've had to go off
the air."

HCJB Global Voice has partnered
with Fréquence Vie since
1999 when it began broadcasting a message of hope in four languages: French,
Baoule, Bambara and Dioula. 

Tim Welch, Côte d'Ivoire director
for SIM which operates radio station Fréquence
adds his concern for staff members over the tensions. "[Recent] reports from our missionaries are that some checkpoints in town are getting
more difficult to get through," he said.

The crisis in Ivory Coast is
creating another "forgotten emergency." Cole explains: "There are between
30,000-40,000 that have gone across the border as refugees into Liberia.
That's something that Liberia is ill-equipped to handle as well, so we have an
emerging refugee situation there."

Although Liberia has welcomed the
refugees and is trying to meet the immediate emergency, Cole says they will
need help. HCJB Global is readying their
response. "ABC University, in the
northern part of Liberia, is looking at a program to begin to assist in some of
these refugee camps. We're looking at the possibility there of engaging with
medical teams."

Pray for peace. Cole notes that "many Liberians, during their civil war, were
in Ivory Coast as refugees. So now they
have the opportunity to really minister to the Ivoirians that are in their
country as refugees. Pray for that."

Response will be more than food
and shelter; Cole says their teams will
need to be ready to plant the seeds of the Gospel. "There will be openness because they're
displaced, they're out of their element, and their hearts are usually more

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