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In Ivory Coast, priest labors for peace

Catholic World News - April 06, 2011

As forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara-- with the backing of French and UN forces-- gain the upper hand over President Laurent Gbagbo in the battle for control of Côte d'Ivoire, a parish priest is laboring for peace.

“We organize meetings between the supporters of the two presidents to try to defuse tensions and prevent misunderstandings that could lead to violence,” said Father Celestine Ikomba, who ministers in Abidjan, where the battle is taking place. “In our neighborhood, in the port of Abidjan, we support our bishops, who call for peace.”

“Our message is simple: we have to live together beyond any political differences or differences in ethnicity and religion,” he added. “It is a message that is gaining momentum in the hearts of people, who realize that violence does not lead anywhere.”

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