Number of people leaving Togo drops dramatically UN refugee agency says

The influx into neighbouring countries of Togolese fearing conflict since last month’s disputed presidential election has dropped dramatically and some are returning home from Ghana, the United Nations refugee agency said today.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it had registered 12,483 refugees in Benin and 10,856 in Ghana, but only 18 had entered Ghana in the past two days.Meanwhile, some 250 refugees went home from Ghana by way of Aflao yesterday and 600 on Sunday, saying that they had learned from radio broadcasts that Togo’s capital, Lomé, was calm, the agency said. Already some had gone to work in Lomé by day and returned to Ghana to sleep, it added.The refugees in Ghana had mainly found shelter with family and friends around Aflao, but had also received mosquito nets, blankets, mats, jerry cans and kitchen utensils from UNHCR, as well as assistance from other agencies for the host families, it said.In Benin, arrivals had also slowed, with only 162 registered yesterday at Hilakondji, the main crossing point from Togo, compared to an average 1,000 per day during the post-election scare.The refugees already living in Lokossa and Come camps said they were not ready to return under the current political situation.The disputed results of the 24 April elections gave rise to violence, which UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan deplored. read more