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Former officer charged for saying military should play role of arbiter in Togo

Oliver Poko Amah, a former senior officer of the Togolese Gendaremie, has been detained at the dreaded Mango Prison, more than 500 kilometres north of Lomé, the capital of Togo. Amah was arrested on 27 May 2013 following an interview he granted Felix Nahm-Tougli – a journalist with privately-owned Legendé FM – on 22 May.

According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s monitor, Amah has been charged with "inciting the military to revolt" for allegedly stating during the interview that "like in 1966, the Togolese Armed Forces should assume their responsibilities by playing the role of an arbiter in order to force the head of state to dialogue with the opposition."

The military is noted for the intermediary role it played during a political crisis in 1966 under Nicolas Grunitzky, who became president after the 1963 coup that saw the assassination of the first president of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio. The military advocated for dialogue between the opposition and the people, before the late President Eyadema Gnassingbe took power through another coup in 1967.

Amah – who is also a member of the Let's Save Togo Coalition, a human rights association – had been implicated in a military investigation of an attempted coup in 2009 led by Kpatcha Gnassingbe, former Minister of Defense and brother of President Faure Gnassingbe, to destabilize the regime of Faure Gnassingbe.

He was, however, acquitted by the court, when investigations found nothing against him.

Meanwhile Felix Nahm-Tougli was subsequently summoned on 28 May to the offices of the Research and Investigations Department of the Togolese Gendarmerie (SRI), but asked to report later with his director, Flavein Johnson, who is travelling.

According to the MFWA monitor, there is enough reason to believe that Nahm-Tougli will be subjected to questioning about his interview with Amah.

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