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Relative calm in Togo

Relative calm has returned to Atakpame-Sokode in the central district of the Republic of Togo after a clash between security personnel and protestors against the Eyadema dynasty in the country.

Nine people, including seven soldiers and two civilians, reportedly lost their lives during the clash, which saw a mass turnout of citizens on the streets, some of whom went to the extreme by stripping themselves naked.

The demonstrators were against the perpetual stay in power by President Faure Gnassingbe in the West African country since the death of his father in 2005.

His father ruled for 38 years.

The protesters, who wore red and were from the largest opposition group, the Party National Pan-African (PNP), called on the President to step down, saying that the 50-year rule by one family was too much.

They also called for the revision of the country’s constitution to limit the powers of the President.

According to them, the 1992 Constitution of Togo ushered in multi-party democracy after decades of dictatorship and limited presidential terms to two, but 10 years later, lawmakers amended it to enable Eyadema to run for another term.

They further alleged that after the death of Gnassingbe Eyadema, the military manipulated the constitution by installing his son as interim President, instead of the head of the national assembly, as was legally required by law.

Meanwhile, checks by the Daily Graphic at some border towns had revealed that the protests had not affected normal business across the border because it was still opened for the free movement of people and goods.

There had also not been any influx of refugees from Togo.

The Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, had told an Accra-based radio station that Ghana was on high alert, adding that all agencies mandated to work at the border were extra vigilant.

Meanwhile, the opposition groups in Togo have threatened to return to the street tomorrow (Friday) for the mother of all protests.

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