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Former Ghanaian leader Jerry John Rawlings has said government troops in Togo must respect the right of the civilians to hold peaceful protests so that the situation does not degenerate into a full-scale civil war.
Citizens of Togo have been demonstrating for the past few weeks against the Gnassingbe dynasty demanding that President Faure Gnassingbe who took over from his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, leaves office.
The protests turned violent at certain times which raised security concerns.
Commenting on the situation, Mr Rawlings said in a statement that: “The situation in Togo raises great concern, the number of people injured keeps increasing and the death toll, too. The description of an imminent civil war by some commentators shows the extent to which the situation has regressed.”
Mr Rawlings said “the recent threats of civil war come as no surprise. However, the intimidating posture of such comments shows clearly how pertinent the need to prevent an escalation beyond this point is. Civil war can never bring any gains to the people or government.
“There must be a concise effort to point to how peacefully the people of Togo have declared and agitated for their political right. We must respect their process of getting their cause heard especially as it is characterised by non-violence.
“In the event of a civil conflict, unarmed civilians are those whose blood will be shed the most.
“The protestors could have adopted a violent behaviour by now yet they have kept it civil all this while and as such the government troops must equally adopt strides to ensure there is no regression into civil explosion,” he added.