Hundreds of Togolese nationals have fled to neighbouring Ghana to escape reprisals after a wave of anti-government protests, a Ghanaian official said on Wednesday.
Paddy Tetteh, from the Ghana Refugee Board, said the first batch arrived last Wednesday and although numbers had since fallen, more were still trying to come in.
“They are close to 300,” he told AFP. Most were in the northern district of Chereponi, close to Ghana’s eastern border, he added.
Chereponi chief executive Abdul Razak Tahiru told reporters that food, mats, bedding and mosquito nets had been distributed to the refugees.
“Due to the demonstrations in Mango (northern Togo), they are beating them and they have decided to run for their lives,” he was quoted as saying by local media.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), the pressure was too much because the people learned that there was going to be another demonstration from Wednesday to Friday.”
Hundreds of thousands of Togolese have taken to the streets in recent weeks to call for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005.
He took over from his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years from 1967.
The security forces cracked down on the protests in Mango and at least one person was killed and more than 20 others injured, according to official figures.
“The military conducted punitive expeditions throughout the night (of Wednesday to Thursday last week),” said Togo opposition member Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson.
Togo’s presidency has instead blamed the protesters and said it had never given approval for demonstrations in the area.
At least four people have been killed since the start of the protests in August. Opposition parties and civil society groups say dozens were injured in the north last week.
As well as Gnassingbe’s resignation, the protesters also want changes to the country’s constitution to limit the number of presidential mandates to two.
A nationwide shut-down has been called for Friday.