Radio station keeps broadcasting amid Ivory Coast violence

By April 15, 2011

Ivory Coast (MNN) — Despite the recent capture of reluctant but former president Laurent Gbagbo, violence in Ivory Coast continues.

Violence began in November when Gbago refused to step out of office for newcomer Alassane Ouattara. The conflict spiraled the country into all-out chaos, resulting in hundreds of deaths and creating hundreds of thousands of refugees.

In the midst of all this stood a single Christian radio station, Fréquence Vie, just north of Abidjan. The station is no more than 3,000 feet from the Ivorian television network, Radio-Télévision Ivorienne, and thus suffered the consequence of more or less being in the way.

Stray shrapnel from rocket fire struck the studio building on March 31, putting a gaping hole in the roof, breaking many windows and a door. The station's repeater transmitter was destroyed by fighters from warring factions in a civil conflict. The primary transmitter was also destroyed in the crossfire.

HCJB Global, a partner and co-developer of Fréquence Vie, reports that since the station director's apartment was also damaged by shrapnel, he and two other families have been living inside the recording studios.

Times are tense and terrifying. Fighting continues, and food and cooking gas are becoming extremely scarce. However, Fréquence Vie has been able to remain a light in the darkness.

Amazingly, amid the turmoil, the station has continued to air broadcasts. In the last few days, they have mostly run pre-recorded programs and music, but those preach the hope of the Gospel nonetheless.

Two programs aired throughout the week of heaviest fighting in Abidjan, including one on the topic of living together in spite of ethnic differences.

The broadcasts have been extremely relevant to the current situation in Ivory Coast, and since most people are staying in their homes for safety, there is a good chance the programs are being heard. Pray that as the Gospel of reconciliation in and because of Christ would reach the hearts of many in this volatile time. Pray that believers would be born as a result of this terrible current tragedy.

Pray also for the station, which still has a great deal of damage to deal with, and which has been running on its spare 300-watt transmitter since the 4,000-watt-transmitter was destroyed. Pray that the signal would remain miraculously strong so that as many as possible would hear the Good News.

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