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General News of Sunday, 1 May 2005

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Togolese flee to Ghana, Benin

...More than 11,000 refugees flee
GENEVA, April 30 -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Saturday that the number of Togolese fleeing general insecurity in the country has reached 11,500 refugees who have crossed so far into neighboring Benin and Ghana.

According to the refugee agency, today's figure is up from 7,000 on Friday.

In Benin some 7,500 refugees have crossed since Tuesday and in Ghana, refugee numbers climbed to over 4,000 by Saturday afternoon, from 628 on Friday.

The refugee agency responded to this development by reinforcing its registration and monitoring activities.

A 10-truck UNHCR convoy loaded with supplies for 5,000 people left the agency's regional warehouse in Ghana's capital, Accra, on Saturday morning, bound for Benin via Burkina Faso.

This journey according to the refugee agency will take four days to reach Benin.

African diplomats are trying to help restore stability to Togo, where violence erupted after Sunday's president election.

The son of Togo's longtime military ruler won the election in nearly four decades with more than 60 percent of the vote, election officials announced Tuesday.

Both the declared winner of the vote, ruling party leader Faure Gnassingbe, and opposition candidate Emmanuel Bob Akitani have pledged to honor the outcome of Sunday's election.

But the results prompted clashes between opposition supporters and police in Togo's capital, Lome.

Opposition leaders accused the government of widespread irregularities, including the use of inflated voter lists, during Sunday's balloting.
Sunday's vote was Togo's first presidential contest in four decades. It followed the 38-year rule of Gnassingbe's father, Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema, whose death in February sparked a political crisis.

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