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Togolese Human Rights Official Calls for ECOWAS Mediation


Several thousand Togolese are fleeing the capital, Lome, and southern towns along the coast, following two days of deadly violence that killed at least 20 people and injured more than 100. Clashes erupted there Tuesday between security forces and opposition supporters after Faure Gnassingbe, son of the late long-time leader Gnassingbe Eyadema, was announced as the winner of Sunday's presidential election.

His defeated rival, Emmanuel Akitani-Bob, said the election was rigged and has declared himself president. Mr Akitani said he could prove he won more votes than official winner Faure Gnassingbe. But interim president Abass Bonfoh said the move was unlawful.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, said the declaration was “unacceptable” – and urged all parties to seek dialogue. Mr. Atikani’s coalition says it will appeal last Monday’s announced outcome of the poll to Togo’s constitutional court

Adote Akwei is the president of Togo’s Human Rights League. He told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that he does not have confidence in the court, nor in Mr. Abbass, because they had both initially favored Mr. Gnassingbe’s take-over following his father’s death. And he says it is hypocritical of ECOWAS to favor dialogue today, when he says it rejected calls for dialogue between political parties before the polls. Mr. Akwei says ECOWAS needs to create a mediating mechanism in the crisis. And, he appealed to fellow Africans to help Togo put a stop to what he says is an African problem – putting an end to the children of authoritarian rulers inheriting power.