Laurent Gbagbo detained in Abidjan

By April 12, 2011

Ivory Coast (MNN) — After more than four months, the brutal
situation surrounding Ivory Coast's presidential elections may finally be
drawing to a close.

Rebel forces loyal to president-elect Alassane Ouattara finally managed to isolate the incumbent
who refused to step down: Laurent Gbagbo. His refusal to concede the election drove the country to the brink of
civil war. 

The two set up parallel governments and fought for control of the
country. The world governments  recognized Ouattara as the next head of the
Ivory Coast. However, Gbagbo maintained
his grip on the military and security forces. It was in his name that thousands faced terror, kidnapping, rape, and mass murder.

In the process, more than a million
civilians were displaced and fled for neighboring countries that included Liberia,
Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mauritania.  

Carl Moeller
with Open Doors USA described the situation as "a classic struggle for power in a chaotic environment." Now that Gbagbo is being detained, the Ivory
Coast's United Nations ambassador says
he will be brought to justice for his crimes.

There was a point where the question of sectarian violence
cropped up because of violence perpetrated against churches and Christian
workers. Moeller explains that "in this country, the tension between Muslim
and Christians has been exacerbated by this instability. Pray that the church
would be a force for peace and reconciliation."

Partners of Open Doors are watching to see whether the
leadership change might bring a negative influence against the work of the
Gospel, although Moeller is quick to add:
"It's not primarily a religious conflict, but since the former dictator,
Laurent Gbagbo, happened to be nominally Christian, many of the Christians in
that country were being targeted by supporters of the Muslim incoming
president."

The question now is how to rebuild. One way, Moeller says, is to "pray that the
Christians don't retaliate from the attacks against them. Pray that they would
also be a model of Jesus' love for those that would persecute them or even
injure them for political reasons."

In the meantime, Open Doors is trying to provide what help
the local church may need. Many believers lost their homes and everything they
owned in the transition. "Pray that the
needed relief supplies–material goods that they're going to undoubtedly need
in the months to come–would be able to be provided through Open Doors
and other organizations providing for the needs of the people on the ground."

There are ways to help. Find out how to get involved.

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