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Togolese Refugees Enter Ghana As Political Crisis Spread

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Refugees fleeing political unrest in Togo are pouring into Ghana as security crackdown on opposition protesters seeking an end to President Faure Gnassingbe’s rule steadily spread to northern part of the tiny West African nation.

Nearly 300 Togolese have entered Chereponi, a district capital in northern Ghana since a nationwide revolt against the Gnassingbe family dynasty escalated to the north last week. One boy was killed after security forces used baton, teargas and live bullets against protesters in two northern cities only 26km from the border with Ghana.

Refugees are continuing to cross the border after police clashed with opposition rioters at Mongo and Bafilo, two cities hundred kilometers north of the capital Lomé but just 16miles to Ghana.

As of Tuesday, 400 of the refugees arrived by road from Mongo into the district and double that figure reportedly entered neighboring district- Bunkprugu/Yunyoo. Refugees were crossing over at official entry points and there were no reports of unofficial crossings.

The new arrivals said they were escaping another protest in the region that is set to resume on Thursday which they fear may spurn out of control after security refused to approve the gathering. They said security forces raided their homes and brutalized them for participating in last week’s protest.

They also said armed military were stopping people from leaving their homes and added that dozens were planning to escape at night.

Majority of the refugees in the Ghanaian town have found shelter with extended family and friends and were allowed to integrate without any security and medical examinations. Those without family support have received aid packages from the district authorities.

Those stranded in a quite strip of ‘no man’s land’ have limited access to relief items and been forced to rely on local villagers to survive.

The District Chief Executive Tahiru Abdul Razak said the flow of the refugees remains steady since the outflow started last week. He said about 275 refugees have been temporarily camped at the Community Center. He said food, mats, blankets and mosquito nets were distributed to them.

The DCE confirmed the refugees told him they were fleeing harassment by security forces who have warned to shoot or haunt down “illegal” protesters.

“Due to the demonstration in Mongo, they are beating them and they have decided to ran for their lives, and yesterday the pressure was too much because the people learned that there were going to be another demonstration from Wednesday to Friday of which some of them cannot resist so they have to look for a place to save their lives,” Tahiru reported.

Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM/Eliasu Tanko

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