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Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 11:08 UK

Togo displays 'coup plot arsenal'

Kpatcha Gnassingbe, the brother of Togo's president, pictured in January 2006
Kpatcha Gnassingbe (C) said he was the victim of an assassination attempt

Togo's authorities have put on display an arms cache said to have been part of a coup plot, which was allegedly found at the president's brother's house.

The weapons include assault rifles, AK-47s, military vehicles, tear-gas grenades and bullet-proof vests.

The chief state prosecutor said Kpatcha Gnassingbe would be charged with rebellion and illegal possession of heavy weapons to threaten the state.

He has denied plotting to oust his half-brother, Faure Gnassingbe.

Kpatcha Gnassingbe was arrested on Wednesday as he sought asylum at the US embassy, the government says.

At least two people were killed and three wounded in a shootout at his house on Sunday night, officials say.

But Kpatcha Gnassingbe, a former defence minister, said he was the victim of an assassination attempt.

He has told the BBC that armed men in military uniform had turned up at his home spraying bullets at his bedroom and the bedrooms of his children during the gun battle, which lasted at least three hours.

The government website said Kpatcha Gnassingbe was one of the main organisers of a plot to topple the government.

Five senior army officers have already been arrested.

Speculation swirling

President Faure Gnassingbe, who was elected in 2005 during a vote which observers said was flawed, cancelled a trip to China on Sunday after the shootout.

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe in Burkina Faso on 1 March 2009
President Faure Gnassingbe was elected in 2005

He became president after the death of his father, Togo's veteran leader Gnassingbe Eyadema in 2005.

The BBC's Ebow Godwin in the capital, Lome, says many Togolese are not surprised by the latest twist in the Gnassingbe family drama.

Speculation has been swirling for more than a year now that Kpatcha Gnassingbe was not on good terms with the president.

Our correspondent says relations between the two went cold when the president sacked his brother as defence minister during a cabinet reshuffle without explanation in 2007.

He adds that the family feud risks introducing an ethnic dimension between the two half-brothers as the president's mother is from the Ewe group in southern Togo, while his sibling's mother is from the Kabye people in the north.



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SEE ALSO
Togo leader's brother is arrested
15 Apr 09 |  Africa
Togo leader's brother in shootout
14 Apr 09 |  Africa
Profile: Faure Gnassingbe
21 Apr 05 |  Africa
Togo country profile
07 May 11 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Togo
07 May 11 |  Country profiles

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