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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Push for Togo unity government
Togolese refugees in Benin
Thousands have fled Togo since the election
The Togolese government and opposition are expected to be under pressure at a regional summit to reach a deal to end the crisis after disputed elections.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, will urge both sides to agree to form a government of national unity at the regional summit in Abuja.

The opposition believe new President Faure Gnassingbe won the election fraudulently, and rejects his proposal.

More than 30,000 people fled to Ghana and Benin after violent protests.

Young men in particular are still leaving, saying they are being harassed by the Togolese security forces, who accuse them of supporting the opposition.


The BBC's Mike Thomson in Benin says the authorities are worried that they cannot care for all the refugees.

Opposition supporters in Togo burning barricades
At least 22 people were killed in the violence
UN officials also fear that the Togolese want to use refugee camps in Benin to continue their struggle against Mr Gnassingbe's government.

Before the election the Nigerian president invited Togolese political leaders to Abuja to talk reconciliation and achieved a guarded promise that whoever won the presidential election, they would consider a unity government.

But that modest success was in tatters.

The announcement of the official election results - a substantial win for the old president's son - brought opposition supporters onto the streets in fury, protesting that that the election was rigged and that they had been robbed.


The new president, whose father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, ruled Togo for 38 years, says he wants to work with all factions, and form an open and inclusive government.

The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt says it is perhaps easier for him, as the victor, to be generous than it is for the opposition to forget the events of the past few weeks.

Senior opposition figure Yaovi Agboyibo has set conditions for their participation:

  • a return of the refugees;
  • an end to harassment;
  • a full enquiry into the conduct of the election;
  • power sharing talks under international supervision.

Our reporter says the opposition are also now very wary of the West African regional organisation, Ecowas, after their observers pronounced that the controversial election met generally accepted standards.

They say they are going to Abuja only because they were invited by President Obasanjo, the current chair of the African Union, and not to attend an Ecowas summit.

Last week, the European Union parliament rejected the election results.

On Tuesday, Togo's national assembly called this "hostile" and said the EU parliament had not sent observers to the poll.

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