September 28, 2002 - Lubbock Online: Ivory Coast's crisis troubles local family in Lubbock Texas

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 09 September 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: September 28, 2002 - Lubbock Online: Ivory Coast's crisis troubles local family in Lubbock Texas

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, September 29, 2002 - 9:23 am: Edit Post

Ivory Coast's crisis troubles local family in Lubbock Texas

Read and comment on this story from Lubbock Online about a local family who has been in contact with his family, who are missionaries about 30 miles away in Ferkessedougou and says that 14 Americans and two peace corps workers, have been assured by the U.S. Embassy they will be evacuated to safety at:

Ivory Coast's crisis troubles local family*

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Ivory Coast's crisis troubles local family


When the government of the Ivory Coast declared the city of Korhogo a war zone, Jeannie Stuart of Lubbock began to worry about her brother and his family, who are missionaries about 30 miles away in Ferkessedougou.

Hundreds of Americans and other Westerners were being evacuated Friday from the West African country. Bouake and Korhogo, declared war zones by the government, have been in rebel hands since a Sept. 19 coup attempt.

French forces, deployed by the hundreds, had evac uated 1,500 foreign nationals from Bouake since early Thursday us ing convoys and helicopters, The Asso ciated Press reported.

U.S. military C-130 cargo planes waited there to fly Americans to neighboring Ghana if they wanted to leave the country.

Meanwhile, Stuart was keeping close tabs on her brother, David Abbott, 54, his wife, Ann, 52, and their sons, Davy, 13, and Stephen, 8, until she could no longer reach them by phone.

They last talked Friday morning.

"They're missionaries at a Baptist hospital there," Stuart said.

She worries because the country is facing its worst uprising.

"What we're afraid of is when the military comes in on the rebels, they're going to start running them up north. And if they're run up north they become targets as hostages" and their property could be destroyed, Stuart said of her relatives.

"They at least need to get to safety."

Stuart said her brother and his family, along with 14 other Americans and two peace corps workers, have been assured by the U.S. Embassy they will be evacuated to safety.

"They told them to stay there and be packed and that they will get them out," Stuart said.

Her brother hoped to be evacuated today, Stuart said.

In an e-mail Abbott wrote to his sister Wednesday, he said that nearby borders were closed and "we probably would have difficulty getting through without some official escort with us.

"So we are here and praying that the government will negotiate its way out of this, instead of trying to fight it out. The rebels are extremely well-organized, and this seems to be the result of many months of planning."

Ivory Coast was plunged into chaos after the failed coup attempt last week that involved a core group of 750 soldiers who were being purged from the military for suspected disloyalty, The AP reported. Insurgents were quelled in Abidjan, but they took over Bouake and Korhogo, the northern opposition stronghold. At least 270 people died in the first days after the failed coup.

The government has promised an all-out offensive against the two cities. Defense Minister Lida Moise Kouassi on Thursday labeled the cities war zones and said anyone bearing arms there would be considered enemies of the state.

Stuart said her brother and his family may try to get to Abidjan.

"If it looks like a long-term conflict, they would come back to the states," Stuart said.

The Abbotts fear that if they leave, the hospital and their home will be demolished, Stuart said.

David Abbott has been a missionary for half his life, his sister said. At the hospital, Abbott does administrative work and oversees maintenance and security.

He preaches at a local church, in remote parts of the area and sometimes outside to those waiting to get into the hospital.

"He does whatever needs to be done," Stuart said.

Abbott's wife, Ann, home schools their children and is a hostess for new missionary families.

"I wouldn't think the rebels would mess with Americans," Stuart said. "The rebels ... said they're not interested in harming them because they know they're trying to help the people."

For the time being, she and her brother Bob of Big Spring, and their mother, Gladys Abbott of Lubbock, will wait and pray for the safety of their family. 766-8754

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