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TOGO 14/5/2005 10:38

OPPOSITION CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY INTO ELECTION VIOLENCE

Politics/Economy, Brief

ogo's opposition parties have called for an independent inquiry guaranteed by the international community into the violence that followed the April 24 presidential election. "In the memory of the Togolese there have never been so many deaths for political reasons: the international community must hold an inquiry given the scale of the human rights violations", Patrick Lawson, one of the coalition leaders, told a press conference. The presidential election was won by Faure Gnassingbé, candidate of the government RPT (Rassemblement du peuple togolais) and son of the late president-dictator Etienne Gnassingbé Eyadema, who died in February after a 38 year rule. Straight after the polls closed violent clashes broke out between opposition supporters and security forces that harshly repressed the protests. Based on estimates provided by health sources, though uncertain given that many victims were not registered, the death toll was of around fifty; while the Togolese human rights association yesterday in a press conference in Lomé stated that 800 people were killed and 4,345 hurt in the political violence ahead and after the vote. The only certain toll is of those that have fled Togo in fear of the security force repression: according to the UNHCR (United Nations Human Rights Commission), over 25,000 Togolese are still in neighbouring Ghana and Benin. The new representative of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in West Africa, Ahmedou Ould-Abdalah, was received by the newly-elected President of Togo and after the meeting called on the Togolese to "join in stabilising the nation".

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