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Probe into alleged killings moves to neighbouring Benin

[Botswana] The Dukwi camp in northeastern Botswana has more than 3,000 refugees.
The Dukwi camp in northeastern Botswana has more than 3,000 refugees (UNHCR/Geographic Information and Mapping Unit)

An international commission probing post-election violence in mid-1998 in Togo that allegedly left hundreds of people dead continued its investigations this week.

The commissioners are from the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). They spent three days in Togo and have moved on to Benin, where bodies reportedly washed ashore after the presidential poll. The election results were contested by the Togolese opposition.

“They (the commissioners) have been very quiet” on the investigation so far, Napoleon Abdulai, of the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Lome, told IRIN on Tuesday. He said the commission would spend at least three days in Benin.

Togo at one point had threatened to sue Amnesty International for libel and slander for allegations it made in a May 1999 report. The rights group described Togo as a “state of terror” and alleged that hundreds of people were killed by security forces during the June 1998 election. Amnesty also said there had been a concerted campaign of intimidation, bribery and threats against witnesses, journalists and human rights defenders.

Togo, which has denied the allegations, called for the international investigation into the reported killings and has been cooperative with the probe so far, Abdulai said.

“The government is quiet on a number of the issues that it was vocal on some time ago,” he said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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