“Muslim or Christian, from the north or the south”, it’s time for forgiveness, says Ivory Coast’s archbishop

    0

    “Muslim or Christian, from the north or the south”, it’s time for forgiveness, says Ivory Coast’s archbishop "Muslim or Christian, from the north or the south", it's time for forgiveness, says Ivory Coast's archbishop

    Special to USAfricaonline.com

    ABIDJAN — Abidjan Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa on Sunday appealed for “forgiveness, reconciliation and peace” among Ivorians in an Easter message read in all parishes across this sprawling metropolis. “Ivory Coast must be a land of friendship and brotherhood, whether you are Muslim or Christian, from the north or the south, black or white, from here or from elsewhere,” he said in the wake of a months-long post-electoral crisis that ended April 11 with the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo.

    The former strongman had clung on to power despite losing to Alassane Ouattara in a November 28 presidential election, plunging the west African country into sometimes bloody crisis. The deposed leader now lives under house arrest in the northern town of Korhogo, according to several sources. “Today better than yesterday, we must try to love one another,” the archbishop said.

    More than 1,000 people died across Ivory Coast in the violence, which also prompted hundreds of people to flee their homes to safety elsewhere in the country or to neighbouring states. “Our villages and our cities still bear the marks of this horrible conflict. Each and every one of us carries in his or her heart and soul deep wounds and all sorts of frustration,” Kutwa said. “They all need to be treated not superficially but in depth with a view to total healing.”Ivory Coast’s population of roughly 20 million people are 40 percent Muslims, 40 percent Christians and 20 percent animists.

    Many of Gbagbo’s followers are Christians, while Ouattara draws his support from the predominantly Muslim north of the country. ref: AFP