Trouble in Togo

Togolese army officers are being questioned about a suspected plot to attack the government and associates of President Faure Gnassingbe’s brother would also be quizzed.
Public prosecutor Robert Bakai said on television five army officers had been questioned “in the context of an attempted attack on national security” and that the president cancelled a trip to China late on Sunday due to security fears, Reuters adds.
President Gnassingbe, elected in a violent and flawed vote in 2005, cancelled the trip after foreign security services advised Togo that a strike was imminent, Bakai said.
About 20 soldiers destroyed walls and several rooms of a house belonging to Kpatcha Gnassingbe, a brother of the president, in a suburb of the capital Lome during a four-hour overnight assault with heavy weapons.
The onslaught ended in the early hours of Monday when another of the president’s relatives, Rock Gnassingbe, intervened.
Kpatcha, a former defence minister and a member of parliament, was unharmed and no deaths or injuries were reported. He told Reuters at the scene later that he did not know why the soldiers had attacked his home.
Bakai said Kpatcha’s bodyguards and members of his entourage would also be questioned over the alleged plot against the government.
Togo, the world’s fourth biggest producer of phosphates, is emerging from the international wilderness after years of authoritarian rule at the hands of Gnassingbe Eyadema, the president’s father.
The next presidential elections are scheduled for 2010.
The International Monetary Fund resumed lending last year after a 14-year hiatus, while the European Union restarted economic cooperation with Togo in 2007, also for the first time in 14 years.
The Paris Club group of sovereign creditors cancelled US$22 million owed by Togo in January, adding to a US$347 million write-off in June last year.