More than 4,000 people have been displaced this year in northern Togo after the security climate worsened following jihadist attacks in neighboring Burkina Faso, the government said.
Togo and its West African coastal neighbors Benin, Ghana, and Ivory Coast are facing increased spillover and risk of attacks from jihadists operating across their frontiers with Niger and Burkina Faso.
“In total, 789 households representing 4,175 displaced people have been identified — including populations from neighbouring countries who took refuge in Togolese territory,” communications minister and government spokesman Akodah Ayewouadan said on television late Thursday.
Ayewouadan said the government was providing support including psychological care and education of displaced students in schools in host communities.
“The objective is first to secure these people, to ensure they continue to live in decent conditions and to eventually help their return,” he said.
Among the displaced are Togolese who have fled their villages and also Burkinabe residents who had crossed the border to escape jihadist attacks.
The National Agency for Civil Protection (ANPC) in June identified in the prefecture of Tone in far north of Togo, more than 600 Burkinabe from Madjoari, in the south-east of Burkina Faso.
Togo has suffered at least five terrorist attacks, including two deadly assaults since November 2021 in the far north of the country.
The country was hit in mid-July by a bloody attack carried out by “unidentified armed individuals,” according to the army, which did not communicate a precise toll, speaking of “several dead and a few wounded.”
Neighboring Benin earlier this month said its army foiled a “terrorist” attack in the country’s northwest, killing eight gunmen suspected of operating from across the northern frontier.
Benin’s security forces have faced more than a dozen militant incursions since last year, as concerns mount over the spread southward of Islamic State group and Al Qaeda-linked violence from the Sahel.