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Togo's north targeted again by attack, authorities fear casualties

Togo's north targeted again by attack, authorities fear casualties
FILE - Soldiers patrol in a military vehicle during a campaign rally of Togolese...   -  
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Terrorist attack

The Togolese government has expressed fear of possible casualties after another violent attack in the north of the country on Thursday night.

It is the fourth attack since November 2021 in this part of Togo, plagued by incursions of jihadist groups present on the other side of its border, in Burkina Faso.

"We were violently attacked yesterday night," confirmed Communication Minister and government spokesman Akodah Ayewouadan in response to questions from a journalist on Togo's Kanal FM radio.

"Our country has again been the subject of multiple incursions in the far north. There was a first response from the defence and security forces. A sweep is currently underway and there are fears that there may be victims," he added, without specifying exactly where the attack took place.

However, he said it had not targeted "a position" of the police or the army.

Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have been plagued by jihadist insurgencies and neighbouring coastal states such as Benin, Ghana, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire have been worried for several years about a spillover onto their territory.

A recent series of border raids in Togo and Benin have confirmed these fears.

In early May, eight Togolese soldiers were killed and 13 injured in the first official deadly jihadist attack in Togo. Some 15 attackers were killed by the Togolese military, the government said.

The Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to al-Qaeda, had claimed responsibility for the attack.

The authorities have stepped up military operations in the region to contain these groups. On Thursday, the army admitted responsibility for a recent bombing that mistakenly killed seven civilians and wounded two others in the north, after mistaking them for "a moving jihadi column".