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August 28 2015 | TOGO

Lynchings in Togo, the campaign "I do not agree"

This summer in Lomé there were three very serious incidents in the neighborhood of Agoé alone: young people were burned alive on suspicion of theft. The response of Sant'Egidio, a large popular mobilisation

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Linciaggi in Togo, parte la campagna "io non ci sto"A terrible reaction, almost an inhuman "fashion", that  takes life rather than give it. Lynchings have become that in Togo. This summer in Lomé, the capital, between July and August there were three very serious incidents in the district of Agoé alone: young people were burned alive on suspicion of theft.

The Community of Sant'Egidio, which has for years been a friend of the street children in the area, decided to say “enough” launching the campaign "I do not agree". Unfortunately, the phenomenon sees a worrying increase because it has been accepted and valued, as a deterrent, especially by young people for whom it has almost become a normal reaction, fueled by sms messages with which they pinpoint the location of the thefts and they commit themselves to burning the perpetrators. But if "fashions", even most terrible ones, easily become a habit, the Community is convinced that a contrary tradition may be started, that of respect for law and human life, a value very little guaranteed in the suburbs of large cities in Africa.

Linciaggi in Togo, parte la campagna "io non ci sto"That is why, on 15 August, a conference was held in the neighborhood of Agoé, which brought together more than 150 people. The Round Table was attended by the traditional leaders of the district, the representatives of the Catholic Church, the Imam of the central mosque of Lomé and that of the university mosque, two representatives of the Commission for Human Rights, two judges and an officer of the Gendarmerie. The speakers thanked the community for having the courage to tackle a subject that normally nobody dares to speak about. They all committed to talking to their youth and to the people, asking for help and the presence of the Community for this awareness-raising work.

Very moving was the testimony of a woman that recounted the atrocities of the lynching of a young man, Sadate, burned alive. There was also the testimony of the mother of a 16-year-old boy that, the day before, had been the victim of an attempted lynching and that only the intervention of some young people of the Community could evade the lynching.

Linciaggi in Togo, parte la campagna "io non ci sto"The Community then proposed an appeal against mob justice that was signed by all present and wants to be an instrument of transmission of the culture of life in the entire city of Lomé. The round table, which was followed by major national media, ended with a prayer and a silent march in memory of the victims of lynchings.

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