There are ten facts about Togo refugees that are important to know. It is important to establish a timeline of events so that we can understand the Togo refugee crisis fully.

The first massive group of Togolese citizens to escape to refuge in neighboring countries were in 1993. Togo refugees relocated to Ghana and Benin because of the violent unrest in Togo. The violence that ensued during the fight for the new constitution, and its subsequent abolishment in 1993, led to enormous physical insecurities in Togo.

Here are ten facts about the conditions for Togo refugees since the flight for life in 1993:

  1. The fight between the government and opposition parties led to the displacement of over 15,000 people to neighboring countries in 1993. This number often included families that were separated, and children that were accompanied by strangers because their parents were either killed or lost during the scare to find more secure locations.
  2. The Volta region of Ghana hosts the most refugees from Togo. This region lies west of Togo’s capital Lomé. Citizens of Aflao, a district in the Volta region of Ghana, have welcomed the Togo refugees with an open embrace.
  3. The Volta region has been a major area of dispute between Togo and Ghana since British Togoland became a part of Ghana. It was a part of the split of British and French Togoland, after the defeat of Germany in 1918. After a U.N.-led referendum in 1956, British Togoland joined Ghana.
  4. The citizens of Togo who fled to Eastern Ghana are a part of the Ewe people of West Africa.
  5. Violent and indiscriminate killings after the 1998 elections caused more people to flee from Togo. Families were once again forced to run to safety in neighboring countries because of violent unrests and intimidation from supporters of both the winning and losing parties of the election.
  6. The military handed over power to Gnassingbe Eyadema’s son Faure Gnassingbe after Eyadema dies in 2005.
  7. There have been a series of violent protests and widespread killings, due to opposition to political corruption. This situation has worsened security concerns in Togo, as its citizens live in constant fear.
  8. Victims of the indiscriminate killings resulting from violent unrest are also foreign citizens accused of supporting the opposition or ruling party.
  9. Violent assaults and killings are committed by both supporters of the ruling party in efforts to suppress opposition and supporters of the opposition party in retribution to attacks from the ruling militia.
  10. In Ghana, the government made provisions by 2015 to integrate 2300 Togolese refugees into Ghanaian society. Under the Seeds for Solutions Project, efforts by the Ghanaian governments will be funded by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This provides social and economic aid to refugees for work-training and micro-finance loans to start businesses.

Togo refugees are hopeful that security conditions in Togo will improve so that they can return.

Ebuka Okoye

Photo: Flickr