Togo Extends State of Emergency Due to Militant Attacks

The West African nation of Togo has extended a state of emergency in its northern Savanes region for another six months due to continued attacks by Islamist militants.

A six-month state of emergency was approved Tuesday by the Togolese parliament to restore security in the region.

A statement from Damehame Yark, the Togolese security minister, said that the extension was "necessary for the proper conduct of military operations" and "a return to peace" in the region.

Togo declared a three-month state of emergency in the Savanes region in June, after Islamist militants attacked an area near the border with Burkina Faso, killing eight troops and wounding 13.

More recently, local media said that between 15 and 20 people were killed in a series of attacks on July 15. While the army gave no official figures about this incident, it was confirmed that "several" people were killed and wounded.

Togolese defense and security forces were again attacked on August 22 in the village of Blamonga, close to the border with Burkina Faso. A few soldiers were injured during an exchange of fire that lasted several minutes before armed groups retreated.

Togo, after Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast, is the latest country on the coast of West Africa to become the target of Islamist militants coming from the Sahel region.

Source: Voice of America