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1000 Christians dead in Ivory Coast massacre?

11 April 2011

I came across this story on David MacGregor’s blog, and in trying to find more went to 1000 dead in Ivory Coast church massacre: The Church of England Newspaper, April 8, 2011 p 7. Conger:

Over a 1000 Christians have been killed by Muslim soldiers at a mission station in Duékoué the Ivory Coast, the aid agency Caritas has reported.Details of the massacre remain unclear, with conflicting reports on the number of dead. However, wire service reports and news bulletins released by the Salesian Info Agency (ANS) report the killings began on March 29 and are tied to the civil war between President Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara.

The last sentence in that extract, however, makes it look like an unreliable source, a tendentious piece of political propaganda. Laurent Gbagbo is the ex-President of Liberia. A less tendentious way of putting it would be to say that they are both rivals for the disputed presidency, but in fact Gbagbo, when he failed to be re-elected, tried to seize power in a military coup, which has been escalating into a civil war.

So I would like to know more about the source of this news, which is cited as the Church of England Newspaper. Where did they get the story? Can that tell us anything more about the source? Following this link produces Subscribe today | ChurchNewspaper.com:

To access all areas of our website and gain access to weekly online copies of the newspaper, you must be a subscription-paying member. You can choose to subscribe to the website, the printed edition of the paper or both.

So I don’t know whether the tendentious reporting was that of the Church of England Newspaper or their alleged source, the Salesian News Agency, but you can’t see the link they have provided, if they have, unless you subscribe. But the Salesian web site does carry the story, which you can see here Salesian Missions | Our mission gives hope to millions of youth around the globe.. They say “More than 20000 Ivory Coast refugees flock to Salesian Center” Any details? Zilch. There’s a photo of four people, who could be anywhere, with the caption “Help now with a gift.”

A Google search finds lots of blogs with this story, but no hard news sources, and the church sources seem to be using it mainly for the purpose of asking for money. And shame on the Church of England Newspaper for apparently siding with a would-be military dictator who has tried to seize power in a coup. Actually both claimants to the Ivory Coast presidency seem to be pretty unsavoury characters, but that’s another story.

The GetReligion site keeps tabs on bad reporting on religion in the secular press, but who will keep tabs on the religious media?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Darrell permalink
    11 April 2011 8:09 am

    What can one say? Has not death of innocent people by evil characters always been part of the human history?

    In the name of justice, Governments has killed millions of millions of people. The Nazis and Communist forms of government are the current examples; but if one simply reads history they can provide many more examples.

    The current revolution in the Ivory Coast is an example of how the desire for “justice” turns into the desire for revenge. And revenge has always been the motivating force for the wanton murders that occur in civil conflicts.

    As for profiting from the misery caused by such events, fraudulent agencies set up to accept donations to help the victims of tragedies have always been with us. Their existence has been legalized and once a donation is made to the agency, the money is theirs for every more.

    I pray for the Ivory Coast people; believing the innocent people who die in this tragedy will encounter the Glory of God.

    • 11 April 2011 1:04 pm

      I don’t think the ones I mentioned are fraudulent agencies, but their soliciting funds is far more prominent than actual information.

  2. 11 April 2011 10:28 am

    It’s worth noting that Caritas’ own press release is considerably more circumspect: http://www.caritas.org/newsroom/press_releases/caritas_condemns_cote_ivoire_massacre.html

    Searching Google News for “Duekoue” or “Caritas” finds more on the story. None of those reports play the Muslim/Christian angle.

    • 11 April 2011 1:09 pm

      Thanks very much for the link — I couldn’t seem to find that in all the noise — perhaps because I was looking for 1000 Christians killed.

      I wonder where the Christian/Muslim angle came in?

      Would it be too uncharitable to voice the supicion that some people may have thought it might loosen purse-strings more quickly?

  3. smith permalink
    29 April 2011 4:38 pm

    I’m sorry to ask this question, but I have to. Are you really sincere and integrity in your mission that you claimed to be carrying or you are spreading hatred among the masses around the world? All Medias reported about the massacre in Ivory Coast which involved everyone but you brought a fabricated version of yours to fuel the fire and escalate new crisis somewhere else. No doubt, there are some many secret agencies that are spread around the world to trigger communities’ clashes or conflict and to fuel the ongoing ones. How can you prove to us that you are not one of them? Because they come under common flag as non-governmental organizations, religious body, diplomatic advisers, etc. A real servant of God preaches and prays for peace not violence. You must not trade peace for violence before you can get more followers or converts, please. Enough is enough we are tired of all these kind of so called religious and other bodies leaders of this kind!

    • 3 May 2011 5:55 pm

      Sorry, I don’t have a clue what you’re on about and have very temporary internet access, so don’t have time to work it out, but until I can, here’s a thought in the mean time:

      I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

      – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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