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General News of Friday, 29 April 2005

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Over 4,000 Togolese refugees flee to Ghana.....

... and Benin - UNHCR

More than 4,000 refugees have so far fled from Togo into neighboring Ghana and Benin, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Thursday.

The agency and other international humanitarian organizations have been strengthening efforts to help the Togolese refugees, the UNHCR said in a communique.

More UNHCR rescue workers were sent to a makeshift camp in Benin, where the fleeing refugees numbered more than 3,600, to reinforce an aid group registering refugees and distributing relief goods. Some 500 refugees had already been sheltered in the camp.

The UNHCR expressed concern about the situation in Togo, and hoped that West African nations would help the country find a peaceful solution to the political crisis.

On Tuesday night, Togo's independent election commission formally declared Faure Gnassingbe, son of late President Gnassingbe Eyadema, winner of Sunday's presidential polls.

However, violence erupted in the Togolese capital of Lome immediately after the announcement, with opposition supporters setting ablaze tires and wood forming barricades on the main roads, and many people were subsequently injured.