Ecowas force to help deter Togo vote violence

21/02/2010
Ecowas force to help deter Togo vote violence

West African states will provide a multinational force to help police next month's elections in Togo, where violence during a 2005 vote left at least 400 dead.
Tensions are high ahead of the vote, with opposition leaders accusing incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe of planning to rig the outcome.
"We're here for prevention, but we don't expect turmoil," Colonel Siaka Sangare (photo), head of the Togo mission of the regional body ECOWAS, said during a press conference.
"My greatest wish is that the election takes place in a climate of transparency and calm," he added.
The mission will include 146 military observers from 13 ECOWAS member states. It will support local security forces, including Togo's specially trained election force numbering roughly 3,000, Colonel Sangare said.
The special election force, supported by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been managing security at campaign rallies which kicked off earlier this month.

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