Security forces surround home of Togo opposition rival

Togo’s security forces on Friday surrounded the home of a main opposition challenger, after he called for protests against the reelection of President Faure Gnassingbe.

Former prime minister Agbeyome Kodjo came a distant second in an election last Saturday that saw the incumbent claim a fourth term in power with 72% of the vote.

The widely expected victory extends more than half a century of rule by Gnassingbe’s family over the West African nation, after he came to office following the death of his strongman father in 2005.

Kodjo appealed for protests on Friday after alleging widespread fraud during the ballot and insisting he was the rightful winner.

But people appeared to have failed to heed the call as the challenger instead found his residence and that of a key ally surrounded by troops.

“My home has been surrounded since 05:00 (GMT by the security forces,” Kodjo told AFP. “Nobody can leave, nobody can enter.”

Togo’s security minister Yark Damehame told AFP that the residences had been surrounded for opposition leader’s “own safety”.

This is the second time that Kodjo’s home has been surrounded during the election period after security forces cordoned it off for several hours on the evening of the election.

Regional body Ecowas has called for all disputes to be settled through the court and Kodjo announced on Wednesday he had filed an appeal against the results.

Security forces surround home of Togo opposition rival