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TESTIMONIES FROM LOMÉ: WOMEN AND CHILDREN FLEEING WHILE THE SHOOTING CONTINUES
“The sensation is that the tension and clashes will proceed for long and for this reason many people are hurriedly leaving the neighbourhoods in the outskirts of Lomé, particularly those considered close to the opposition, to cross the borders”, explained a MISNA source contacted in the capital of Togo in one of the few successful telephone contacts in the past 48 hours. “The border with Benin is around twenty minutes away from Lomé, while the frontier with Ghana is a little over an hour away. Many inhabitants of the capital have relatives over the borders and are in fact headed to stay with them. Those fleeing the neighbourhoods close to the opposition are mainly women and children, carrying with them their few belongings that they do not want to leave behind”, continued the MISNA source. “People are abandoning the capital on foot, in cars, buses, but I also saw some leaving on motorcycles and bicycles”, concluded the interviewee.
Another witness, contacted by MISNA in a different sector of the city, is much closer to the area in which the clashes between opposition supporters and police are more intense: “Constant shooting can be heard since this morning”, he explained. “When we woke up this morning the situation seemed less critical and we only saw a large deployment of soldiers on the streets of the neighbourhood, but then the shooting resumed and columns of smoke began rising again from various zones of the city”, he added. The second day of violence in Lomé began early, following a night of preparation in the neighbourhoods close to the anti-government front for the “popular mobilisation” invoked by the opposition leaders, building barricades and enlarging those already strategically placed previously.
Based on a first estimate, issued a few hours ago by hospital sources,
at least 11 people have been killed and 95 injured in the unrest that
broke out yesterday just minutes after the announcement of the results of
Sunday’s presidential election. The doctors of the main hospital of Lomé
have also specified that “90% of the injured suffered gunshot wounds”.
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The opposition candidate, Emmanuel Akitani-Bob, defeated in Sunday’s presidential vote based on official results, today self-proclaimed himself and urged his supporters to mobilise. “Togolese, I speak to you as your President: yes, your President. We did not lose the elections, if necessary we will combat placing our lives at risk”, he stated to the press in the capital Lomé, while the clashes continued in the streets between his supporters and security forces. The toll of the violence is still uncertain: hospital sources today reported at least 11 dead and around a hundred injured.
A short while ago sources close to the opposition indicated that the
overall death toll since Sunday is of “over 40”, based on a count
conducted in the mortuaries of Lomé (29 dead up until Monday) and Aného
(10 bodies); other bodies apparently arrived in the hours that followed.
The same source – which however remains without independent confirmation –
claims that bodies were also left yesterday on the streets of Lomé, Dékon
and Kodjoviakopé, then recuperated during the night when the fighting
Copyright © MISNA