Child abduction, the First Lady’s call for action

Enlèvements d’enfants, le cri d’alerte de la première dame
Over the past few days, our country is rocked by a wave of child abduction. Nothing can justify these horrible and inhumane acts. Within two months, twenty children have been abducted, mutilated and murdered in our country. Most of them are children who played near their homes, in their carefree beautiful age. They are children who were on the way to school in pursuit of their future, violently torn from the affection of their families. Vile acts that I condemn with the strongest energy. I extend my compassion to the parents of missing children. I share their dismay and grief. This is a painful and cruel test, no parent should undergo. I stand against child abduction in my country, as a mother, grandmother and First Lady of Cote d'Ivoire. I want it to stop. Vigorous dissuasive measures should be taken immediately.
I appeal to the responsiveness and pragmatism of Mr. Minister of State, Minister of the Interior; Madam Minister of Solidarity, Family, Women and Children, as well as all their colleagues who must make this issue a national priority. It is not normal that our children live with the constant threat of being abducted.
It is not normal that parents are immersed in fear every time their children cross the doorway of their homes. In the expectation that strong energetic measures taken by the competent authorities will gain conviction against th perpetrators of these atrocities who need to be kept off the street to prevent them harming more children, we: parents, heads of school institutions, and teachers should remain very vigilant.
We need to feel all affected by these tragedies and remain mobilized to ensure that no child disappears. I want to count on our legendary spirit of solidarity, to watch over every child in the neighborhood as if he/she were our own. Let's avoid leaving our children unattended. Elsewhere let’s also educate our children and relatives on the issue. The threat is serious, let’s stay on the alert. This is an exceptional situation that requires special monitoring measures. The safety of our children is at stake.
Dominique OUATTARA
The First Lady of Côte d'Ivoire