LAST THURSDAY MORNING, MARCH 19, 2009 TWO GUN MEN BURST INTO RENAISSANCE DU BENIN HEADQUARTER IN COTONOU, ASSAULTED THE GUARDS, ENTERED SOGLO'S OFFICE AND RAN AWAY WITH PARTY RECORDS.
The former Head of State, Nicéphore SOGLO who happens to be Cotonou Mayor came to the scene with his deputy, Léhady SOGLO.
According to the local TV station Golfe, the two gunmen did not take with them any valuable items other than documents as the cars which were parked in the compound, were left untouched the gunmen. They went to the office of the party's honorary chairman, Nicéphore SOGLO and to the one of Léhady SOGLO and got away with party administrative records. One guard who was seriously injured was rushed to hospital.
The motive and the authors of this attack remain unknown so far. Interior Minister, Armand ZINZINDOHOUE who also went to the scene expressed his indignation and the willingness of the Government to find out those behind the attack and make sure they are punished as they should be. “This kind of event can not be condoned in a country which claims to be a democratic one”, he said.
Attacks on ordinary citizens have been common in Benin for a while and no measure on the part of the Government has really been proven to be efficient in curbing the phenomenon.
However, this latest attack, which occurred when relations between the opposition and Government had not been good, would definitely have another connotation.
The BR is a member party of the G4 which intends to make a change in Government in 2011 presidential contest. During March 2006, after the first round of presidential elections, the RB, the PSD and MADEP supported Boni YAYI for the second round but now all these three parties which gave him their support have formed an alliance with Adrien HOUNGBEDJI who was his contender.
All attempts made by Boni YAYI to get the BR back in his camp were unsuccessful. The Cotonou, Mayor Nicéphore SOGLO saw the willingness of ruling FCBE to unseat him through the last local elections which took place in March 2008 as a betrayal. On March 12, 2008, he and other leaders of G4 made a public declaration in which they voiced their disapproval about the way Boni YAYI has been handling State affairs.
In November 2008, they went Abomey and Bohicon to seal formally an alliance to oust Boni YAYI in 2011.
Therefore, this attack might further isolate Boni YAYI and add to the mistrust and tension between both camps. When questioned by journalists, Nicéphore SOGLO said that he was supposed to be personally targeted by the attack. He said there had been a bad wind blowing throughout the continent that was threatening the country.
Alfred Cossi CHODATON