Guest / Limited Access /

Dozens of missionaries fled Cote d'Ivoire (the former Ivory Coast) in October, highlighting a crisis that may change the church's status in the West African nation.

Hundreds of disgruntled soldiers launched a military uprising in three major cities on September 19, seeking to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo. Fighting quickly spread to half the country of 15 million, with battle lines drawn roughly between the predominantly Muslim population in the north and the Christian and animist south.

"If the rebel forces should gain control of the government, then it's likely that Islam could become more favored and Christianity open to greater opposition," said Larry Sellers, a Church of God missionary who evacuated from Yamoussoukro on October 24. "But I don't see that immediately in the future."

The most violent attacks have occurred in centrally located Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire's second most populous city. Fighting has killed hundreds and driven out a third of Bouake's 600,000 residents.

Some 160 students from the International Christian Academy, a school for missionary children in Bouake, were evacuated in September and the school closed. Another missionary school in Yamoussoukro also shut down.

In mid-October, the U.S. Embassy began encouraging expatriates to leave. Subsequently, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, New Tribes Mission, and the Freewill Baptist Church evacuated missionaries. Other agencies pared their staffs. Many missionary families went to neighboring African countries, but some returned to the United States or Europe.

The warring sides are observing a temporary cease-fire and conducting negotiations in Togo. But the Associated Press reported that Muslim soldiers had begun to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only The Positive Prophet
Tony Campolo is a ferocious critic of Christians left and right. Why do people still flock to hear him?
RecommendedSeminary Is Not About Me
Seminary Is Not About Me
What I learned from Bible students in Rwanda.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickJust a Vessel: Actor Malachi Kirby on ‘Roots,’ Kunta Kinte, and God
Just a Vessel: Actor Malachi Kirby on ‘Roots,’ Kunta Kinte, and God
The star of the History Channel's "Roots" talks about his faith, his strange route toward his iconic role, and what he learned from playing Kunta Kinte.
Christianity Today
Cote D'Ivoire: Missionaries flee violence
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2003

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.