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08.02.2005 Togo

Closure of Ghana-Togo border hits traders hard

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Pulimakom (U/E), Feb 08, GNA - Personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service and the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) at Pulimakom on the Ghana-Togo border near Bawku had a hectic time last Sunday trying to turn away travellers on their way to the market town of Cinkasse in northern Togo.

This followed the temporary closure of the border as a result of the death of the President Gnassingbe Eyadema last Saturday. Mr Johannes Kpormegbe, officer in charge of Immigration Services at Pulimakon, told the GNA in an interview that most Ghanaian travellers, unaware of events in neighbouring Togo at the time, arrived at the frontier but were told they could not cross the border.

"We tried to explain to the travellers, most of whom were traders from Bawku, that it was not safe for them to enter Togo at the moment but some of them would not understand," he said.

Alhaji Salifu bin Alhassan, the officer in charge of CEPS at the border post, said the closure of the border last Sunday had a telling effect on traders in the area because it was the traditional market day at Cinkasse.

He said Togolese border officials sent a message on Monday February 7, informing their Ghanaian counterparts of the reopening of the Togo side of the border.

But the reopening of the border was greeted with little public enthusiasm.

A visit by the GNA to the usually bustling frontier showed that human and vehicular traffic on the Bawku-Cinkasse route had dwindled. Only one passenger truck was in transit to Togo at the time of the visit, with none entering Ghana from the Togo side.

It was also discovered that transport owners in Bawku had taken advantage of the situation to increase their fare to the Pulimakom border from 8,000 cedis to 15,000 cedis, with the excuse that getting passengers on their return journey from the border post was difficult.

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