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10/12/2012 - Ivory Coast - Salesian condolences on the death of the Apostolic Nuncio

(ANS – Abidjan) – The Apostolic Nuncio to the Ivory Coast, Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, died Saturday evening, December 8th, in a car accident. Archbishop Madtha, who had been in the country since 2008, had an excellent relationship of respect and cooperation with the Salesian community, especially in the harder times of political crisis and the civil war.

The disaster occurred at Biankouma, near Man, in the West of the country, and the driver also died, while the Secretary and a Sister were injured.

Fr Faustino García Peña, Provincial of French-speaking West Africa Vice-Province, sent a message to his confréres regarding this sad situation. In particular he addressed Fr Carlos Berro, Fr Cyprien Ahouré and Salesian Brother Justin Ajavon, community members of Duékoué. During the toughest clashes between factions of the two claimants for the Office of President of the Republic, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, these Salesians had worked closely with the Apostolic Nuncio over a long and fruitful period.

"When I learned of the accident”, wrote Fr García Peña, “I immediately thought of you ... because I know that you and he had expressed mutual esteem. I imagine that you were shocked, as were all the people were who heard about it, especially at Duékoué, knowing all the good he had done for the population most at risk during the crisis".

"This morning (yesterday) I offered Mass for him. I told myself that God has already found him worthy and wanted to take him to Himself. This consoles us, especially thinking of the day he died: the Feast of Mary Immaculate, the Mother of Advent and of Hope. More than ever in such circumstances we are called to bear witness to our hope and our faith and encourage others to keep this hope, despite the sadness and grief which can overwhelm us", the Provincial concluded.

In the days of hostilities in the Ivory Coast, Archbishop Madtha was also reported to have made efforts in mediating and seeking peaceful solutions between the two rivals. The President, Mr Ouattara, having heard the news of the death of the Apostolic Nuncio, expressed his "deep regret" and sent his condolences to the Church, the diplomatic corps and the family of the deceased.

Published 10/12/2012

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