Togo opposition leader in hospital after hunger strike


An opposition leader in Togo, who has been on hunger strike for two weeks has been taken to hospital, his associates said on Wednesday.

Nicodeme Ayao Habia, who started his hunger strike on September 19, has been demanding the release of protesters who were detained after demonstrating against the ruling government.

He was admitted to a clinic in the capital, Lome, after his condition worsened, his communication advisor Achille Mensah told AFP.

Immigration officers in Togo were not aware of his evacuation, though they had the necessary clearance.  Arrangements were still being made to take Habia out of the country for medical treatment.

Habia has been staging his hunger strike outside Ghana’s embassy in Lome. Accra has also been acting as mediator in a long-running dispute between the Togolese government and opposition figures over constitutional reform.

Last week, a Ghanaian military plane landed in Lome to transport Habia but it was not allowed to leave the airport due to a lack of detail about its mission, according to Togo’s security minister General Yark Damehane.

“Togo is not a colony of Ghana,” said Damehane, adding that Ghana could not send a plane without letting the Togolese authorities know first.

Referring to Habia’s hunger strike, Damehane said: “It’s theatre. You want us to play along?”

A new anti-government march scheduled for Friday, October 5 has been announced by an umbrella organisation for various civil society organisations in Togo.




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