No influx of Togolese refugees into Ghana – GIS

There is no threat of a mass exodus of Togolese into Ghana to seek refuge, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), has assured.
Fears began mounting among communities along the Ghana side of the frontier at the weekend, following mass protests calling for an end to the Gnassingbe family dynasty, which has ruled the West African nation for five decades.
However, Deputy Commissioner of Immigration in-charge of the Volta Region, Isaac Owusu Mensah, said that the situation in Togo was subsiding without any spill-over into Ghana.
“We are not anticipating any influx of refugees from Togo,” he told Ghanaian Times yesterday.
Mr Owusu Mensah, said that the GIS and other security agencies were monitoring the situation along the frontier.
He said that the border between the countries remained open with no disruption to economic activities in Aflao.
Meanwhile, the Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, has also allayed fears of a possible influx of refugees from Togo, saying, “Our side of the border is very peaceful.”
At least two civilians and seven security personnel have so far been reported dead in the protests in Atakpame and other parts of Togo.
Security forces in Togo reportedly fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse thousands of protesters calling for an end to the Gnassingbe family dynasty, which has ruled the tiny West African state for five decades.
Reports monitored by the Ghanaian Times indicated that four demonstrators were died in the clash with the security forces.
Wearing the red colours of the opposition PNP party, and singing “50 years is too long!”, the demonstrators in Lome called for the reinstatement of the constitution limiting terms that Eyadema introduced in response to protests in 1992.
President Faure Gnassingbe has been in power since the death in 2005 of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who had been at the helm of affairs for almost four decades.
“We do not understand our little Togo,” Reuters quoted one demonstrator, Ali Boukari.
“The father Eyadema was in power for 38 years, his son will soon have done 15 years. All we are demanding is a term limit and they shoot (tear gas) at us, he added.
The 1992 constitution brought in notional multi-party democracy after decades of dictatorship, and limited presidential terms to two, but ten years later lawmakers amended it to enable Eyadema to run for another term – a common pattern in Africa.
Then, when he died, the military effectively tore up the constitution by installing his son as interim president, instead of the head of the national assembly, as was legally required.
The protests that followed Faure Gnassingbe’s first election victory in 2005 triggered a violent security crackdown in which around 500 people were killed, Reuters said.
“We are protesting against the arbitrary nature of governance and denial of freedom to assemble,” PNP leader Tikpi Atchadam said.
Meanwhile, the police at Aflao told the Ghanaian Times that they were monitoring the disturbances in Togo, indicating that there had not been any spill over into Ghana.
“Our side of the frontier is very calm,” said a police spokesman.
The strife coincided with a pilgrimage by the people of Ho-Ahoe to their ancestral home at Yeviefe in Togo, ahead of the yam festival celebration of the people of the Asogli State.
From Alberto Mario Noretti, Ho

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