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Friday, April 17, 2009

Possible Coup Attempt in Togo

The brother of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé, Kpatcha Gnassingbé, today was arrested in Lomé on suspicion of planning to stage a coup following a shootout in his house killing two on Sunday.

According to Togolese government sources, Kpatcha Gnassingbé was detained today "as he sought refuge at the US embassy after a military raid on his house that fuelled political speculation.

  • "The brother of the President earlier served as Minister of Defence of Togo, but fell out with his brother and was removed from the post.
  • Both are sons of Togo's former Dictator Gnassingbé Eyadema, who died in 2005, leading Faure Gnassingbé to take power in a coup, later legitimising his power through a flawed election.
  • Brother Kpatcha remains an influential member of Togo's ruling party, the Rally of the Togolese People (RTP).

After leaving his post as Defence Minister, he has maintained private armed forces to look after his security as relations with his presidential brother cooled.

On Sunday, government security forces raided one of Kpatcha's Lomé houses, finding him and members of his private security agents there.

The raid developed into a shootout. At least two persons were killed and three others wounded in the attack.

The raid against the President's brother's house followed a suspicion of coup plotting. Togolese state prosecutors said the meeting at Kpatcha's house had been suspicious and the raid was a bid to arrest soldiers and civilians "suspected of trying to undermine state security."

President Gnassingbé took the alleged coup plotting seriously.

  • He immediately cancelled a state visit to China as reports of the shootout reached him on Sunday. Togolese state prosecutors suspect Kpatcha Gnassingbé of planning to take advantage of the President's absence to stage a coup.
  • Brother Kpatcha was put under house arrest following the incident, but managed to escape.
  • Authorities immediately issued an arrest warrant against him. According to official Togolese sources, he made an unsuccessful attempt to seek refuge in the American Embassy in Lomé.
  • Government troops loyal to President Gnassingbé however expected him in front of the Embassy, where he was peacefully detained.
The Rest @ African News Analysis

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