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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April, 2005, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
German centre firebombed in Togo
Soldiers watch Lome residents sweep the streets
Soldiers have forced Lome residents to clean up after the riots
A German cultural centre has been gutted in an arson attack in the Togo capital, Lome, in the latest outbreak of violence after disputed elections.

The early morning attack by masked men wearing black comes after Togo's interior minister accused Germany of supporting the opposition.

Germany, the former colonial power in Togo, has condemned the attack on the Goethe Institute. No one was injured.

Riots over what the opposition said was election fraud left at least 22 dead.

Midnight raid

The ruling party candidate and son of the former leader, Faure Gnassingbe, has been officially declared the winner of the polls.

Overnight, the home of the secretary general of the main opposition party, the Union of Forces for Change (UFC), was surrounded by soldiers for two hours, although no one was arrested.

Opposition leader Bob Akitani
Mr Akitani claims he won 70% of the vote
UFC candidate Emmanuel Bob Akitani has declared himself president, although he received 38% of the vote according to official figures.

Goethe Institute Director Herwig Kempf said armed men had forced the guards to open the doors at gunpoint.

The main library was gutted and the windows destroyed by gunfire.

The interior minister's criticism of Germany came as his predecessor Francois Boko remains in the German embassy in Lome.

Mr Boko was sacked after calling for the postponement of elections, two days before polling took place.


The opposition protests have subsided and on Thursday, soldiers were forcing Lome residents to dismantle the barricades that had been erected in opposition strongholds.

Some 3,600 people have fled Togo for neighbouring Benin, according to the UN refugee agency.

Election observers from West African regional body Ecowas accepted that there had been problems, but said the results had generally reflected the will of the people.

Ecowas condemned Mr Akitani's declaration and called for a national unity government to prevent further violence.

The army tried to install Mr Faure after the death of his father, President Gnassingbe Eyadema, but pressure led him to step down and call an election.

President Eyadema, had led Togo for 38 years, after seizing power in 1963.

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