Raphael and his younger brother, Kouassi Privat Kacou, were brutally crucified in imitation of Christ’s suffering. The incident happened in the Ivory Coast on 29 May 2011. It was one of many atrocities committed against Christians as forces loyal to the new Muslim President, Alassane Ouattara, sought to establish his authority in the country following a disputed election that saw his Christian predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, ousted. Raphael died of his injuries; incredibly, Kouassi survived the ordeal.
The pair were badly beaten and tortured before being crudely nailed to cross-shaped planks by their hands and feet with steel spikes. The brothers were falsely accused of hiding weapons in their home village of Binkro, which was being targeted by Ouattara supporters as the birthplace of a key enemy. The brothers repeatedly denied any involvement in a weapons cache, but their pleas were ignored. After crucifying the brothers, Ouattara’s men carried out an extensive search of Binkro, but they found only a store of medical equipment and supplies, which they looted. The seriously wounded pair were then taken to prison in Oumé, where Raphael died in the night.
There is a green hill far away
Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains he had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
Cecil Frances Alexander (1823-95)
Originally published in Heroes of Our Faith, by Patrick Sookhdeo (Isaac Publishing)