More than 300 Togolese figures appear in the list of potential targets of Israeli spy program, Pegasus, while Togo is one of the African countries closest to the Hebrew state. The targeted include activists, journalists and political opponents.
On the political side, we find among the numbers targeted by Pegasus spyware those who oppose the regime of Faure Gnassingbé. This is the case with Tikpi Atchadam, leader of the Pan-African National Party, or Agbéyomé Kodjo, the failed candidate for the 2020 presidential election against the head of state. Both are now living in exile.
Activists and journalists are also targeted, such as David Ekoué Dosseh, founder of the Togo Debout civic platform or investigative journalist Carlos Ketohou.
Reached by RFI, L’Alternative newspaper Ferdinand Ayité – who was also potentially spied on – did not say he was surprised: “We are not naive, we know that in Togo some people are under surveillance”. However, the journalist admits that with Pegasus it goes further, because the spyware can suck all the information – messages, photos, contacts – that are in the infected phone and activate the microphone. It is as if “another person took control of our private and professional lives”, states Ferdinand Ayité.
The president does not rule out spying on his opponents
If the Israeli company NSO, which publishes and markets the Pegasus software, disputes these revelations, the Togolese authorities do not deny it. Asked by Le Monde newspaper about the use of Pegasus software in Togo to fight terrorism, President Faure Gnassingbé replied that “every sovereign state organizes itself to meet what threatens it with the means at its disposal.”
As for spying on his opponents, the head of state replies that he can not confirm it. However, Le Monde notes that this does not rule it out either.
It must also be said that the country is particularly close diplomatically to Israel. “The government maintains privileged relations with Israeli networks run by former members of Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service,” said journalist Ferdinand Ayité.
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