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Togo30 March 2004

Death threats made against Radio France International correspondent

Death threats were made against Radio France International correspondent in Togo, Guy Mario Abalo, after he broadcast a report involving two former government members in a corruption and fraud case. Reporters Without Borders urged the authorities to do everything possible to protect him.

"Messages left on Abalo’s answer phone the evening his report was broadcast (25 March), are very worrying," said the international press freedom organisation. "They warned him that his reporting ’will not go unpunished", adding, "your life is in danger". Some sources lead us to conclude that the calls came from young supporters of the former political leaders exposed by the journalist," it said.

"The authorities should do everything they can to protect him," said the organisation.

Abalo’s broadcast related to the report of an anti-corruption commission on a property project in connection linked to the holding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in the capital Lomé in 2000.

The project, Cité OAU 2000, was headed by Saibou Samarou, the then Secretary of State for the private sector and former housing minister Agboli Hope. The journalist reported that the two ministers apparently appropriated some buildings for themselves and may have accepted bribes from companies seeking building contracts on the Cité project.

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