Togolese 'fleeing human rights abuses' to Ghana: UN

Accra - More than 500 Togolese nationals have sought refuge in neighbouring Ghana because of a government crackdown on opposition protests, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

"So far, 513 asylum seekers have been registered by the Ghanaian authorities," UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said in a statement.

They crossed the border to Chereponi, Zabzugu and Bunkpurugu-Yunyuo in Ghana's remote northwest and most were staying with local families or in community centres, he added.

"Togolese seeking safety, including women and children, told UNHCR staff they had fled on foot, walking from their homes in Togo's Mango region, bordering Ghana," he said.

"They said they were fleeing human rights abuses after the recent political protests."

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Togo since late August to call for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe and demand constitutional reform.

Gnassingbe is the scion of Africa's longest-serving political dynasty. He took over power in 2005 after the death of his father, who ruled Togo for 38 years.

A coalition of opposition parties wants the introduction of a two-term limit on presidential mandates and a two-round voting system.

Last week, gangs of youths clashed with police and soldiers who were trying to prevent them attending demonstrations in defiance of a government ban.

At least 16 people have been killed and scores more injured in the violence.

Paddy Tetteh, from the Ghana Refugee Board, said the situation with asylum seekers was "very fluid".

"At some point they were more than 600 but some have left. Before there were more men than women but now it's an equal number," he told AFP by telephone.

The United States and France have both expressed concern about the violence and reports of militia forces being used to disrupt protests and intimidate civilians.

They and West African leaders called for dialogue to end the deadlock.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2223 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
49% - 9890 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 7471 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 746 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.61
-1.4%
Rand - Pound
20.05
-1.1%
Rand - Euro
16.88
-1.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.52
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.6%
Gold
1,770.81
-0.3%
Silver
19.85
-1.4%
Palladium
2,143.00
-0.8%
Platinum
928.50
-1.0%
Brent Crude
92.34
-3.0%
Top 40
64,029
-1.1%
All Share
70,842
-0.9%
Resource 10
63,052
-3.6%
Industrial 25
87,166
+0.1%
Financial 15
16,190
-0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE