11 December 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Apostolic Nuncio Killed in Car Accident

The Apostolic Nuncio in the Ivory Coast, Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, died on Saturday, December 8 in a car accident in the west of the country.

The car carrying Mgr Madtha was involved in an accident on the road from Man to Biankouma. The Nuncio was returning to Man, where he had spent the night, from the village of Odienn, where he had celebrated Mass. The driver was also killed in the accident while his secretary and a nun were slightly wounded.

Fr Pierre Claver N'Guessan, Vicar General of Abidjan said the funeral arrangements would be announced soon. The body of Archbishop Madtha has been brought to the seat of the Archbishopric in Abidjan.

Archbishop Madtha was born on November 2, 1955 in Belthangady, India, and was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in the Ivory Coast on May 8, 2008. Archbishop Madtha, who was dean of the Diplomatic Corps in the Ivory Coast, was committed to finding a peaceful solution to the post-election crisis that out-going President, Laurent Gbagbo opposed, to the current Head of State, Alassane Ouattara.

During the attack of the forces of Ouattara, backed by French troops, the Presidential Residence where Gbagbo was barricaded, Archbishop Madtha remained in the Nunciature, located just 200-330 metres from the palace.

The Ivory Coast has not yet recovered from the political confrontation between the two factions. One of the areas most affected by latent insecurity for the presence of armed groups is precisely the west where Archbishop Madtha died.

The Nuncio was scheduled to celebrate a Mass in Dukou, a town on the border with Liberia, where during the crisis of 2010-2011 more than 3,000 civilians were massacred. In July 2012 several people were killed in the assault of a refugee camp in Nahibly, at the entrance of Dukou. The Ivorian press recalls that Archbishop Madtha made a personal commitment on several occasions to come to the aid of refugees.

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