Clashes between a patrol team of the national police service and a group of fuel smugglers around the city of Bassar, northwest Togo, have killed four people, including the Commander of the brigade of the local gendarmerie, an official statement published in the newspapers said on Monday.
'While conducting a routine patrol (on Saturday), members of the national police attempted to intercept smugglers of petroleum products, ordering them to halt. Instead of obeying the instructions, the smugglers opened fire at the police officers with automatic assault rifles and fled,' according to the statement from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Colonel Damehame Yark, published in the state-run newspaper, Togo press.
The statement said 'unfortunately, the response of the police and exchange of fire that ensued resulted in the death of four people, including the Commander of the Brigade of Bassar, and 3 smugglers.'
The search by the police led to the arrest of three fugitive smugglers and the seizure of three vehicles, according to the statement.
The police have begun investigation into the matter.