Togo suffers its first deadly jihadist attack

By Nadoun Coulibaly

Posted on Thursday, 12 May 2022 11:56
The attack on the Togo and Burkina Faso border on the night of 10 to 11 May 2022 © All rights reserved

It was probably only a matter of time, as terrorist groups are targeting the countries of the subregion one by one.

On the night of 10-11 May, at around 3 am, a military post in the locality of Kpékpakandi, not far from the border with Burkina Faso, was attacked. For the first time in a terrorist attack, there were casualties among the army.

According to our information, the heavily armed assailants arrived in dozens, perched on motorcycles, and opened fire on the Togolese military. An exchange of fire ensued, but the surprise effect played in the attackers’ favour, and they managed to take control of the post.

Images showing the violence are already circulating on social media, such as those showing a burned pickup and a wounded soldier being chased.

A complex and coordinated attack

In a statement issued on 11 May, the Togolese authorities denounced the “cowardly and barbaric attack” in which eight soldiers were killed and 13 others wounded.

They called on “the population of the localities concerned to be more vigilant and not to give in to panic,” while inviting them “to collaborate closely with the defence and security forces”.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is very similar to those perpetrated by jihadist groups in northern Côte d’Ivoire and Benin.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of our sources in the government describes a “complex and coordinated” attack. The source points to the ambush of army reinforcements after they fell victim to an improvised explosive device on the road.

In November, an army base was attacked in the same region, but the attackers were repelled without any material or human damage.

The military post attacked on 11 May is part of the Koundjouaré operation, which is supposed to secure the borders and prevent possible jihadist infiltration.

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