AFRICA/TOGO - “Unreal silence increases people’s fear” say Fides sources in Lome capital of Togo following death of President Eyadema in power for 38 years

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Lome (Fides Service)- “A ghost city wrapped in unreal silence which only increases the fear of the people”. This is how Fides sources describe the situation in Lome, capital of Togo, following the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema, on Saturday 5 February. With a procedure judged illegal by the entire international community, power was assumed by the son of the deceased president, Faure Eyadema backed by the army.
“The streets of the capital are deserted, people have not gone to work for fear of being involved in incidents, schools are closed too” the sources told Fides. “Fear among the people is tangible. No one wants to speak or leave the house. It is not clear whether the tension which reigns in the city is a prediction of more fighting or something that will disappear in a few days time”.
“Yesterday evening, 7 February, shooting was heard near the prison and near the university campus, but so far there have been no reports of people killed or injured” the sources told Fides Fides.
The international community says the democratic process in Togo must be restored. The African Union AU has stated it is ‘determined to put sanctions’ on Togo unless ‘constitutional legality’ is swiftly re-established following the death of president Gnassingbe Eyadema, in power for 38 years. In a statement the AU Council for Peace and Security, affirmed its “determination to impose sanctions foreseen in the case of anti-constitutional changes unless the authorities take rapid action to guarantee the return of constitutional legality”.
The new President was sworn in yesterday after Togo’s parliament hastily approved a change in the Constitution to allow Faure Eyadema to assume control of the country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 8/2/2005 righe 27 parole 326)