Togo reports 30 deaths from ‘terrorist’ incidents this year
Togo's government has reported that more than 30 people have been killed so far this year in "terrorist" attacks in the country's north.
Togo reports 30 deaths from ‘terrorist’ incidents this year. Picture: iStock
In a rare statement on security, Togo’s government has reported that more than 30 people have been killed so far this year in “terrorist” attacks in the country’s north.
Togo, Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast — all neighbours in the Gulf of Guinea — risk increasing spillover from jihadist conflicts from across borders with Niger and Burkina Faso.
Togolese Communication Minister Yawa Kouigan told state-run TVT late on Monday that 31 people had been killed, 29 injured and another three reported missing after “terrorist” incidents.
“Our country experienced an ambush, 11 clashes with armed terrorist groups, nine blasts from improvised explosive devices and 20 discoveries and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices,” said the minister, who is also government spokesperson.
Kouigan said Togo’s first “terrorist” attack took place in Sanloaga in the prefecture of Kpendjal in November 2021 and was followed by several incursions and incidents in the savannah region near the Burkina Faso border.
The northern border regions of Benin, Togo and Ghana are facing increasing threats of incursions from jihadist groups that operate in the Sahel and are seeking to move south.
France’s military withdrawal from the Sahel has heightened concerns about security in Gulf of Guinea states.
Coups in Burkina Faso and Niger have also led to more instability as these nations battle jihadists linked to the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda.
Until now, the Togolese government has rarely communicated on security in the north of the country.
In April, President Faure Gnassingbe said “jihadists” had killed about 140 people, including around a hundred civilians, since their first attacks at the end of 2021.
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Togo said at the time nearly 12,000 people had been moved from their homes by the government in order to “better protect the border”.
The region also hosts displaced people from Burkina Faso, and Togo’s leader said about half the 100 civilians killed in the jihadist “war” in the north were not Togolese citizens.
Security will be a key issue in the organisation of the next legislative and regional elections, which the government says should be held at the latest at the end of the first quarter of 2024.
Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005.
He took over following the death of his father, General Eyadema Gnassingbe, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 38 years.
– By: © Agence France-Presse