by Emile KOUTON / Agence France-Presse
The voodoo follower stood bare-chested with beads round his neck within the centre of the general public sq. in Bè, a working class district of Togo’s capital, Lome.
A dozen monks surrounded him as he made incantations, threw soil and water, and gave an providing to the gods. In the silence, a ram and a cockerel had been burnt alive.
“It’s over, human blood must not flow again on the land of our ancestors after the purification ceremony for the country,” the follower stated.
Twenty priestesses, bare from the waist up, sang and danced earlier than spraying the watching crowd with water “blessed” by the divinities from voodoo convents.
“A lot of ceremonies have taken place in convents. The country is now purified,” stated a follower of the thunder god Hebiosso.
The authorities introduced final week that Christian, Islamic and voodoo “purification ceremonies” could be held to purge Togo of its violent past and promote reconciliation.
The West African nation was rocked by political unrest throughout presidential elections in 2005, which had been received by Faure Gnassingbe, who stays in energy.
There is not any official death toll from the clashes, however a gaggle shut to the federal government has stated 105 had been killed whereas the opposition put the determine at greater than 800.
The United Nations believes between 400 and 500 individuals died.
Ceremonies had been due to be held in mosques at Friday prayers and in addition in church buildings on Sunday.
– Symbolic location –
In Lome, about 100 voodoo excessive monks and conventional chiefs had been on the rituals on the lagoon’s edge in Bè.
“They are oracles who showed us the banks of this lagoon for the ceremonies. And we all know what happened in this lagoon in the past,” stated Togbui Gnagblondjro III, the pinnacle of the national confederation of voodoo monks of Togo.
On April 11, 1991, 28 our bodies had been pulled out of the water in Bè the day after an opposition demonstration.
The protesters had accused the army of massacring demonstrators at night time and throwing their our bodies into the lagoon.
The authorities dismissed the accusation and claimed the incident had been staged with our bodies taken from the town mortuary.
“Ceremonies took place next to this lagoon to appease the spirits of the people and all of this country’s children who spilled their blood,” stated Gnagblondjro.
“In Africa there always has to be purification ceremonies after violent deaths,” stated the voodoo chief, in conventional robes and conventional hat.
“After this ceremony, human blood should now not circulation. The oracles are asking the forces of legislation and order to cease firing on individuals.
“They are also requesting the people not to provoke them.”
– ‘Con-trick’ –
Togo arrange a fact, justice and reconciliation fee to make clear political violence between 1958 — when France introduced that it could grant independence — and 2005, and examine methods of compensating victims.
The present president’s father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, led Togo with an iron fist from 1967 till his death in 2005.
In 2011 the fee held a collection of personal hearings, which allowed it to establish 22,415 victims eligible for fee.
A complete of two,475 had been paid from an allocation of two.zero billion CFA francs ($three.four million, three.zero million euros). More are anticipated to be paid after the purification ceremonies, the federal government stated.
No one has ever been tried and convicted for the violence in 2005, which has led to criticism from human rights and opposition teams.
Gnassingbe has been repeatedly urged to finish impunity.
Francis Pedro Amuzu, from the political bureau of the principle opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) celebration, stated it had requested its members to keep away from the ceremonies.
He referred to as the occasions “a con-trick”, including: “The ‘executioners’ must first recognise that they have committed crimes and ask the people for forgiveness.”(AFP)