Police arrest 10 civilians over Togo coup bid

01/05/2009
Police arrest 10 civilians over Togo coup bid

Police in Togo have arrested 10 civilians as part of an investigation into a coup attempt against President Faure Gnassingbe in mid-April, the state prosecutor said Friday.

"The main people charged have made detailed confessions," prosecutor Robert Bakai said in a statement."Speeches that were to have been given after the overthrow of institutions of the republic have been seized and sealed."

The prosecutor did not name the civilians, but on April 15, the president's half-brother Kpatcha Gnassingbe, a former defence minister and leading suspect, was arrested before he could take refuge in the US embassy.

Eighteen soldiers (five officers, 10 non-commissioned officers and three privates) as well as a deputy police officer are being held currently under military jurisdiction, Bakai added.

President Gnassingbe on April 18 denounced the coup plot that had led to the arrest of Kpatcha Gnassingbe, but did not directly accuse his half-brother of plotting against him.

Kpatcha Gnassingbe is seen as a member of the small west African country's political old guard.

He is thought to be opposed to measures taken by the new leader since he came to power after the death of their father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo from 1967 to 2005.

As the alleged king-pin of the foiled coup, Kpatcha Gnassingbe, was charged on his arrest with "plotting a coup" and "attempted attacks on the security of the state."

He is also a member of the political bureau of the ruling Togolese People's Rally (RPT).

Another brother of the president, Essolizam Gnassingbe, has also been detained.

Bakai said Friday that a number of the suspects initially detained in a round-up after the military stormed Kpatcha Gnassingbe's home in a bloody raid early on April 2, had been released due to lack of evidence.

 

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