Togo's president apologises over past
Lome - Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe on Tuesday begged for pardon from victims of political violence committed in the country between 1958 and 2005, part of which covered the period his father ruled.
"To all the victims and those who suffered these acts of violence that caused them so much hurt and wound, I wish to sincerely say that I am sorry on behalf of the state of Togo, myself and past heads of state in our country," he said.
He made the apology when he received the first part of a report by Togo's Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, charged with investigating political violence between 1958 and 2005.
Three other parts of the report are expected in the coming months.
The Commission, composed of 11 religious and traditional leaders and university dons, was charged with investigating the political violence and to study ways for compensating victims.
"The state of Togo is not contesting its responsibility for failing in its obligation to ensure the protection and security of its citizens during the past violence. Consequently, it must give identified victims just and equitable reparation," Gnassingbe said during the official ceremony.
He assured that the state will do everything "to prevent a re-occurrence of these acts that attempt to infringe on human dignity".
His father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, ruled the west African nation with an iron hand from 1967 till he died in 2005.
The nation has seen a series of political violence, especially in the aftermath of the 2005 presidential poll won by the current head of state.
The government has yet to publish the official death toll from the violence. Estimates vary from 105, a figure given by an association close to government, to 811 supplied by the opposition. The United Nations put the figure at "between 400 and 500 dead".