According to the authorities, at least eight Togolese troops were killed and thirteen others were injured in a “terrorist” attack in northern Togo on Tuesday night, the first in the traditionally peaceful country.
“At around 3 a.m., a forward post of the Operation Kondjouaré, located in the locality of Kpinkankandi, was the object of a violent terrorist attack carried out by a group of as yet unidentified heavily armed individuals.
“Unfortunately, this attack left eight people dead and 13 wounded on the side of the defense and security forces,” the government said in a statement broadcast on state television.
This is Togo’s first deadly “terrorist” attack, with the army stationed in the north to combat the threat of militants groups in neighboring Burkina Faso. In November 2021, Togo had only experienced one attack.
The government said it was doing everything it could to “hunt out and defeat these armed terrorist groups,” adding that it “strongly condemns this cowardly and inhumane attack.”
The troops were ambushed by roughly 60 guys on motorcycles, according to a senior military official who requested anonymity.
“The exchange of fire lasted more than two hours. And it was one of the reinforcement teams that jumped on an improvised explosive device,” he told newsmen.
The attack, according to EU diplomatic director Josep Borrell, “shows that the terrorist threat is spreading to the Gulf of Guinea countries.”
“Efforts must be redoubled to stop it before it is too late,” Borrell warned.
Gunmen attacked Togolese security forces in the remote northern town of Sanloaga in November 2021, but no one was killed.
Fears that militants groups in the region are attempting to march toward the coast have been validated by a recent series of border operations in nations south of the Sahel.
Militants insurgencies are raging in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, and neighboring countries such as Ghana, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire are worried about spillover.
Benin had paid the price in February when nine people, including a Frenchman, were killed in three homemade bomb assaults in the north, the country’s bloodiest.
According to scholar Mathieu Pellerin, a specialist in political and security dynamics in the Sahel, terrorist organisations have established up rear camps in Burkina Faso and Mali to “expand to Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and to a lesser extent to Togo, Ghana, Senegal, and Guinea.”
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