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Ivory Coast: convent hit by artillery

Catholic World News - March 23, 2011

As the Ivory Coast descends into civil war, a convent of Poor Clare nuns has been hit by heavy artillery fire. The nuns, who were praying in the convent’s chapel, were not injured. The convent is located in Abobo, a suburb of Abidjan.

“The fighting in Abidjan, the administrative and economic capital of the country, is the order of the day,” a local Church source told the Fides news agency. “Whole areas of the city are invested in the violence.”

Supporters of incumbent Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo are battling supporters of Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo, a Catholic, lost the 2010 presidential election to Ouattara, a Muslim, but has refused to step down from office.

17% of the nation’s 20.8 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics. An estimated 8% are Protestant, 38% are Muslim, and 33% follow indigenous religions.

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