Ghana-Togo Border Closing in 1986

Closing the 680-mile-long Ghana-Togo border in September 1986 was initiated by the government of Togo triggered by Ghanaian Armed protesters.

In September 1986, a significant and historically notable incident unfolded along the Ghana-Togo border in Lome. Armed protesters crossed this international border to overthrow President Gnassingbé Eyadéma. This incident led to the closure of the border.

President Gnassingbé Eyadéma's lengthy tenure in power, which spanned from 1967 until his death in 2005, was marked by many challenges and complexities. One of the primary challenges Eyadéma encountered was the presence of a persistent and often vocal political opposition. 

Eyadéma's rule was criticized for alleged human rights abuses, including political repression, censorship of the media, and restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly. Eyadéma survived multiple coup attempts during his time in office. 

The Ghana-Togo border is approximately 1,094 kilometers or about 680 miles long. This border separates the Republic of Ghana to the west and the Togolese Republic to the east. The border meanders through various landscapes, including forests, rivers, and savannahs.

Ghana-Togo Border Closing in 1986

Closure of the Ghana-Togo border from September 1986 to June 1987. 

The closure of the Ghana-Togo border from September 1986 to June 1987 was initiated by the government of Togo under the leadership of President Gnassingbé Eyadéma. To understand the closure of the Ghana-Togo border during this period, it's essential to understand Eyadéma survived multiple coup attempts during his time in office, and a group of armed protesters was a threat to his presidency. 

At the helm of Togo's leadership was President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who had been in power since a military coup in 1967. His rule was characterized by a centralized and authoritarian government, which faced internal opposition and international criticism for alleged human rights abuses.

The closure of the border was triggered by a significant incident that occurred in September 1986. Armed dissidents, believed to have received support from Ghana, infiltrated Togo with the intention of overthrowing President Eyadéma's regime. This bold and audacious attempt to destabilize the government led to a swift and severe response.

In response to the security threat posed by the dissidents, the Togolese government, under President Eyadéma, took the unprecedented step of closing the Ghana-Togo border. This closure had immediate and far-reaching consequences:

Both Ghana and Togo experienced economic losses due to the interruption of trade, affecting industries ranging from agriculture to manufacturing. One of the most immediate and impactful consequences of closing the border was disrupting trade and economic activities. Both Ghana and Togo relied on cross-border trade for essential goods, including food, fuel, and other commodities. 

The closure disrupted the supply chains and led to shortages and increased consumer prices. It also had a negative impact on the livelihoods of traders and farmers who depended on cross-border commerce. The border closure resulted in significant economic losses for both countries. Trade volumes dropped, and revenue from customs duties and taxes declined. Additionally, the increased costs associated with alternative transportation routes and delays at border crossings added economic burdens.

The closure of the Ghana-Togo border was initiated by the Togolese government. 

Closing a border typically involves a combination of administrative, logistical, and military actions. The government in control of the border issues official orders and directives to close the border. This can include the suspension of visas, the deployment of border patrol units, and the establishment of checkpoints to prevent unauthorized crossings.

Closing the border strained diplomatic relations between Ghana and Togo. While Togo accused Ghana of supporting the dissidents who attempted to overthrow President Eyadéma, Ghana denied involvement. The closure eroded trust between the two countries and hindered their ability to collaborate.

After months of negotiations and diplomatic interventions, an agreement was reached, and the Ghana-Togo border was reopened in June 1987. This marked the end of the border closure and the beginning of a gradual return to normalcy in the region.

Closing the Ghana-Togo border was seen as a bad decision because it had severe economic, diplomatic, humanitarian, and regional consequences. It disrupted the daily lives of people on both sides of the border, harmed the economies of both countries and strained their diplomatic relations.

The closure of the Ghana-Togo border from September 1986 to June 1987 remains a pivotal moment in African history. 


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