Kuni G. Isaac
A Togolese army plane mistakenly targeted civilians, taken for jihadists, in Margba.
The Chief of Staff expressed Thursday his regrets and his apologies after the explosion which killed seven civilians.
Meanwhile the Togolese armed forces admitted to having made an error of judgment, Thursday, July 14. They are responsible for an explosion on Sunday that killed seven civilians and injured two others, after mistaking them for jihadists.
The explosion occurred in the territory of Tône, near the border with Burkina Faso, where a Sahelian jihadist insurgency threatens to spread to coastal West African countries. Togolese troops are deployed in the area to make an effort to contain an overflow of the jihadist threat.
The Togolese armed forces expressed “their deep regret at this tragedy”, and renewed “their sincere condolences to the bereaved families” and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
The Chief of Staff of the Togolese armed forces, General Maganawe added that the armed forces “will do everything possible to prevent the occurrence of this kind of tragedy in the future”.
Another statement on Sunday, the army said it had opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this explosion and identify the perpetrators”. General Dadja Maganawe concluded on Thursday that a plane had mistakenly targeted civilians. “On the night of July 9 to 10, around 1:30 a.m., an explosion caused several victims in the village of Margba, in the prefecture of Tône,” he said in a statement.
“Faced with the imminence of the danger”, he said, the commander leading an operation codenamed Koundjoare “has reinforced surveillance and land and air control of the indicated area”.
“It was during these operations that an aircraft on night patrol inadvertently targeted a group of people whom it confused (with) a column of jihadists on the move,” said General Maganawe.
Previously, Togo declared a state of emergency in its northern prefectures due to the threat of Islamist attacks. Eight Togolese soldiers were killed in May in an attack in the region.