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Opposition supporters clash with security forces in Togo

PTI Lome
Updated: 08-12-2018 23:48 IST

Lome, Dec 8 (AFP) A young child was killed as opposition supporters clashed with security forces in Togo's capital, Lome, on Saturday, the security minister said, after the government banned protests about upcoming elections.

"A child was shot dead by individuals travelling in a 4x4 without a number plate. A search is under way to find the vehicle and its occupants," General Yark Damehane told AFP.

Damehane added that the child was aged about eight, although on social networks the victim was said to be about 11.

The minister said there had been reports of another death but there was no official confirmation. "A statement on the latest situation will be published this evening," he added.

A coalition of 14 opposition political parties this week announced a series of 10 new protests in the run-up to parliamentary elections planned for December 20.

The opposition is boycotting the polls because of alleged irregularities in its organisation but this week the government banned the marches on security grounds.

In several areas of the capital, in particular the Agoes suburb, youths set up barricades and burned tyres. Security forces reacted by firing teargas and chased protesters.

In the northern cities of Sokode and Bafilo, 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Lome, opposition supporters attempted to assemble for a demonstration. But they, too, were dispersed with teargas.

Sokode is a stronghold of the Pan-African National Party (PNP) of Tikpi Atchadam, who was behind the first countrywide street protests but is now thought to be in exile in Ghana for his own safety.

The coalition wants constitutional reform to re-introduce a limit of two terms of office for presidents, as well as an overhaul of the independent national electoral commission.

Togo has been hit by a wave of protests since September last year, calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005.

Before that, his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, was president for 38 years.

Earlier this week, evangelical, Presbyterian and Methodist churches in Togo called for the election to be delayed for several months because of concern about its organisation.

On Friday night, senior Muslim leaders also called for a delay. (AFP) SCY


(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)