On Thursday, two localities in northern Togo suffered deadly terrorist attacks. The attacks took place a few hours after the confession, on the part of the military, of a blunder which caused the death of seven teenagers on July 9th.
Still no official report for the last, and third confirmed terrorist attack in northern Togo. The attacks took place during the night of last Thursday to Friday, in the localities of Blamonga and Kpemboli, very close to the capital of the Savannah region, Dapaong.
Local media speak of a blackout in official communication. According to some other sources, there were other simultaneous attacks. The casualty toll is around 10 civilians. So far, the two confirmed attacks have caused at least XNUMX deaths. Among the latter, a village chief and his council who had their throats cut in Kpemboli, as well as a presumed police informer who was kidnapped and then executed.
In a press release, the Togolese Armed Forces (FAT) claim to have converged on the scene and repelled these attacks by "unidentified armed individuals". But in the end, like the attack last May, the military has still not identified the armed terrorist group responsible for the resurgence of terrorism in Togo. This time, moreover, the attackers did not even suffer any losses.
Togo's President Faure Gnassingbé traveled to the north of the country, promising new measures to strengthen security in the region. As for the armed forces, they called on the Togolese to “not give in to panic”. However, it is difficult for the local populations to accept the situation.
A blunder at the wrong time for the armed forces
Still, the FATs are suffering from a credibility crisis. The explosion of July 9, which caused the death of 7 young people, was ultimately a blunder. And not a terrorist attack as initially indicated.
In a press release, the Togolese army indeed revealed that this explosion was not the result of a terrorist group but of a bombardment. "This tragedy occurred in the context of consistent intelligence reports of threats of infiltration by armed gangs with the intention of carrying out terrorist attacks against localities in northern Togo", assures the Togolese army.
Who continues: "A plane on night patrol mistakenly targeted a group of people whom it took for a column of jihadists on the move". The FAT statement did not specify the location of the attack.
Civil society was torn about these FAT confessions. Some activists, such as the head of Journalists on a Mission for Development (JMD), welcomed the army's apologies. Essayist Farida Nabourema condemned what she called "child executions".
When the soldiers of the bloodthirsty dictator @FEGnassingbe execute children between the ages of 9 and 15 on the pretext that they thought they were terrorists, can they tell us how they identify a terrorist? What does a terrorist look like? #Togo
— Farida Bemba Nabourema (@Farida_N) July 14th, 2022
Communicate better on terrorism?
This blunder of the military was not even digested by the populations of the north of Togo that the attacks of last Thursday, more targeted and symbolic, took place. According to a resident of the region, it is “a targeted attack against certain people, and the weapons to satisfy this evil design are bladed weapons. Is it a message? ".
The media iciLomé has, for its part, called for a clear explanation of what the state of emergency is. Not only would this help to avoid another mistaken bombing of civilians, but above all it would make the counter-terrorist operation in the region more effective.
The journalist Adjogblé Haka warns that the morale of the Togolese troops is affected. He recalls, in fact, the massive desertions suffered by the armed forces of Burkina Faso in 2018 and fears that this will spread to Togo.
President Faure Gnassingbé personally offered his condolences to the families of those killed in Thursday's attacks and the July 9 bombardment. He declared: "In these moments of affliction, I reaffirm my determination to fight against terrorism, in order to protect our populations and guarantee peace and tranquility throughout the territory".
Togolese families have lost children and parents in the tragic events of recent days in northern Togo, specifically Tône and Kpendjal.
On the scene of these tragedies, where I went today, and with the communities and families...
— Faure E. Gnassingbe (@FEGnassingbe) July 15th, 2022