03.05.2005 Togo

Mills calls for an end to atrocities in Togo

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Accra, May 3, GNA - Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Former Vice President, on Tuesday called on governments in the West Africa Sub-Region to speak out against atrocities being committed in Togo in the wake of the Togolese Presidential Election held recently. He said the stories "if true, represent an escalating state of the predicted violence in the pre-election period, and seem to vindicate those who argued for a postponement of the elections".

In a statement reacting to current chilling and harrowing stories of continued killings, torture and beatings, Professor Mills reminded the people of Togo that "no matter how the present political crisis is resolved, they will have to live together as one people and called for calm to allow for the ambassadors of goodwill to use their best possible efforts in a bid to defuse a very tense and dangerous situation".

Prof. Mill, who was also the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Election 2004 appealed, "to the security forces of Togo and Ghana to always remember that the people of the two countries are one, and that our peoples will outlive all transient political and security aberrations.

"For that reason, they should endeavour to make peace, justice and stability their primary concern in all that they do."

Prof. Mills welcomed the European Union (EU) Ministerial Mission to Togo and the African Union (AU) delegation, which was also in the Togolese capital of Lome to study at first hand the situation on the ground in Togo, noting that ECOWAS deserved all the support that it could get in its bid to resolve this latest sub-regional conflict.

He, however, "regretted the human, logistical, material and other constraints that disabled the ECOWAS observers from rendering a verdict on the elections that would be acceptable to all sides in the Togolese conflict and called upon the sub-regional body to act in a manner that would inspire trust and confidence in its mediation efforts. Prof Mills pointed out that the increasing numbers of Togolese refugees streaming into Ghana would exacerbate the already harsh economic conditions in the country.

"It could also put a further strain on Ghana-Togo relations, especially if incidents such as the reported firing of shots into Ghanaian territory by elements of the Togolese gendarmerie", which wounded three Ghanaians, should be repeated."

He, however, appealed to the Government to extend a hand of welcome and friendship to all Togolese refugees who might seek asylum in Ghana in order to escape the raging atrocities in their country He also called on the Government to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of Togolese already in Ghana or either domiciled or resident in Ghana.

Prof Mills called on UN Secretary General, Busumuru Kofi Annan, as a son of the Sub-Region, to take a special interest in having the Togolese crisis resolved, and also on the international community to bring its influence to bear on the Togolese authorities in particular and the opposition to ensure lasting peace and security in Togo. 03 May 05

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