AFRICA/TOGO - Will Togo be another Rwanda? International community must shoulder its responsibilities” say local Church sources

Saturday, 30 April 2005

Lome (Fides Service)- “We are on the edge of a volcano like Rwanda in 1994. Why does the international community not intervene before it is too late” local Church sources in Togo told Fides. “Each one must shoulder is responsibilities. Particularly those countries which have intense contact with Togo and its government” Fides sources say. “The ghost of ethnic conflict is not far off. Frustration accumulated in years of dictatorship threatens to turn into hatred which will feed the conflict of all against all”.
To mediate the crisis a joint African Union and Economic Community of West African countries went to Lome today 30 April. The opposition agreed to meet the delegation but the international community must have a system to arbitrate protest with regard to the vote in order to maintain peace in the country. On 28 April the coalition of opposition parties in Togo demanded the cancellation of presidential elections on Sunday 24 April saying there had been massive fraud and thousands of false votes infiltrated in the urns. On 26 April the national electoral commission said the elections had been won by the government party candidate, Faure Gnassingbé Eyadéma, with 60% of the votes compared to 38% gained by the opposition candidate Emmanuel Akitani Bob. Akitani had declared himself president of Togo. The results still have to confirmed by the Constitutional Court.
According to the United States embassy in Lomé, at least 100 people were killed in clashes over the past few days, several hundred were injured and an unspecified number are missing. According to the report drafted by the local US representative, which quoted local Red Cross sources, at least 30 people were killed in Atakpame, in the north and over 135 were injured.
In the capital the situation is a little less incandescent, but the atmosphere is still tense as yesterday’s attack on the Goethe Institute in Lome demonstrates. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/4/2005 righe 33 parole 369)