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13 Condemned to Death for Coup Attempt

December 20, 1986

LOME, Togo (AP) _ The state security court condemned 13 people to death Saturday for taking part in a September coup attempt, Togo Radio reported.

It said three defendants were sentenced in their absence, including Gilchrist Olympio, son of the nation’s first president, Sylvanus Olympio.

President Olympio was assassinated in 1963.

Fourteen other people were sentenced to life in prison, seven of them in their absence, the report said. The trial began Thursday.

Olympio, who lives in Ghana, planned to lead a new government after the coup, according to Togo’s leaders.

As many as 26 people were killed in the Sept. 23 coup attempt, crushed by Togolese forces in an all-night gun battle. France and Zaire subsequently sent in troops to reinforce security.

A week after the attempt, President Gnassinge Eyadema said the approximately 60 ″terrorist commandos″ who tried to overthrow his government were trained in Ghana and Burkina Faso. He did not accuse those governments of having a hand in the attack.

Interior Minister Kpotivi Lacle told reporters then the men were recruited and the training was overseen by Amah Ayayi, a Togolese living in Ghana.

Ayayi, who was among those absent when sentenced to death Saturday, was to head a provisional government for eight days then turn power over to Gilchrist Olympio, Lacle said in September.

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