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10-year-old boy killed in renewed Togo protest, govt blames opposition

10-year-old boy killed in renewed Togo protest, govt blames opposition

Togo

A 10-year-old boy was killed in the first day of renewed protest by Togolese opposition supporters who are calling for constitutional reform to reintroduce presidential term limits.

The boy was shot dead in the northern city of Mango on Wednesday while about a dozen others were injured, local media report.

Security minister Colonel Damehame Yark blamed the protesters for the death of the boy and accused them of using weapons during the demonstrations to perpetrate violence, he told the media.

The opposition have also accused the security forces of using force to suppress the protests especially in the northern cities of Mango, Bafilo and Sokode.

Amnesty International has called for an independent and impartial investigation into the death of the boy and the excessive use of force by the security forces.

“Despite the declarations by the authorities against the use of force, the repression of demonstrations by the armed forces continues in Togo … The authorities must ensure that the armed forces are not deployed in law enforcement operations,” said François Patuel, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

They also condemned the internet blockade in the country which “violates the right to freedom of expression and hampers the work of journalists and human rights activists on the ground.”

Thousands of protesters came out in their numbers nationwide calling for the reinstatement of the 1992 constitution that stipulates a two five-year term presidential limit.

Government supporters also staged a rival demonstration in the capital.

A bill was tabled before parliament by the cabinet during the early September round of demonstrations to reinstate the term limit which was struck out by the father of Faure Gnassingbe before his death.

The opposition rejected the draft bill to modify Article 59 of the constitution which has maintained the exclusion of the clause that says “no one can serve more than two terms”.

They believe it is a ploy to allow Faure, who is serving his third term, to attempt a fourth in 2020.

Their boycott of parliament on Tuesday blocked the passage of the bill forcing it to be decided in a referendum next month due to the lack of the needed four-fifths majority.

The protest continues on Thursday.

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