During the night from Saturday to Sunday, seven young civilians died following an explosion in northeastern Togo. Improvised explosive device (IED), mine or drone fire… What really happened?
In Togo, in the far northeast of the country, an explosion claimed the lives of 7 teenagers aged between 14 and 18 - other sources say they were younger and that they were 9, of whom two are injured. The explosion took place in Tone, in the Savanes region. The teenagers were returning home at night, after the celebrations of the Tabaski festival.
In a press release, the Togolese armed forces ensure that an “investigation is open to clarify the circumstances of this explosion and identify the perpetrators”. The populations, like the State, doubtless fear that the attack is of terrorist origin. Togo has experienced two terrorist attacks recently, in November 2021 and May 2022.
The last had caused the death of 8 soldiers. Thirteen others were injured, in a raid in light vehicles with small arms committed by "unidentified individuals".
Concordant sources then claimed that Togo was now the new target of terrorists from the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) or the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS).
An explosion that questions
Following the attack last May, the Savanes region, where the recent explosion took place, is under a “state of emergency”. On June 13, the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé, declared: “The decision was taken after the two terrorist attacks perpetrated in this northern part of the country in the space of six months”.
However, since the shadow of terrorism hangs over Togo, the country has not suffered any bombings or IED explosions. Witnesses reportedly told RFI that they heard two explosions. The media also advances the probability of a drone shot.
However, images of the alleged attack show a scene completely covered in sand, in one of the greenest areas in the sub-region. There are also two holes in the ground, too small to be related to the explosion of an IED which could have caused the death of 7 people and injured 2.
According to a source specializing in terrorism, if it is an attack, this attack does not correspond to the modus operandi of the Burkinabe groups involved in the attack last May.
Eugène Atigan, a Togolese civil society activist, said the timing of the attack "is proof that the whole population is in danger". “We mourn for the poor and innocent children who have fallen,” he adds.