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Vol 50 No 9

Published 1st May 2009


Brothers and enemies

The Gnassingbé family that has run Togo for almost 42 years has split, opening up competition for the presidential election due next year

The two most powerful sons of the late President Gnassingbé Eyadéma have fallen out. Kpatcha Gnassingbé was arrested on 12 April (AC Vol 50 No 8), charged with plotting a coup d'état against his elder half-brother, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of Togo since 2005. Several of Kpatcha's guards were killed in the four-hour assault on his house. Two other half-brothers and several influential officers along with other soldiers have been arrested. The old dictator had never made clear which son he wanted to succeed him and the Faure-Kpatcha rivalry was no secret. Both accompanied their dying father on the flight from Lomé to Tripoli, whence he was supposed to travel on to see doctors in Israel. He died on the flight; local rumour insists that he was dead before departure and that the flight was a way of buying time to fix the succession.

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