Togo coup attempt probed

2009-04-21 10:09

Lome - Nine soldiers including five officers have been arrested in Togo in recent days as part of an ongoing investigation into a coup attempt against President Faure Gnassingbe, the military said on Monday.

"This concerns serious individual breaches that will be followed up according to the principles of a state of law," said a statement read by armed forces chief of staff, General Zakari Nandja.

The army firmly condemned "all action that aims to hamper the democratic process in Togo" and was ready to defend the republic.

Nandja spoke at the presidential palace in the presence of Gnassingbe, whose half-brother Kpatcha Gnassignbe was arrested last Wednesday.

A former defence minister and ruling party heavyweight, Kpatcha Gnassignbe has been accused by state prosecutors of "trying to undermine state security", with five military officers and a number of civilians.

Faure Gnassingbe did not directly accuse his sibling when he denounced the apparent coup attempt in a televised address on Friday.

Another brother of the president, Essolizam Gnassingbe, has also been detained according to diplomatic sources, but his arrest has not been officially confirmed.