Eyadèma, Gnassingbé

Eyadèma, Gnassingbé nyäsēmˈbā āyädāˈmə [key], 1937–2005, president of Togo (1967–2005). His original given name was Étienne, which he africanized in 1974. He served in the French army (1953–61) before entering the armed forces of Togo, where he became (1965) chief of the general staff. He seized power in 1967 and assumed the offices of president and minister of national defense. He was returned to office in 1972, 1979. and 1986. A national conference in 1991 attempted to force him from power, but army violence forced Eyadèma's restoration (1992). He was reelected in 1993 and 1998 in contests boycotted by the opposition and in 2003 amid allegations of fraud. He died in office two years later.

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