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Black-clad, masked assailants torched a German cultural center Friday in Togo's latest post-election violence, but the declared winner of the contested presidential vote vowed he would not allow the country to slip into civil war.

The United Nations, concerned about a growing stream of refugees fleeing to neighboring countries to escape the turmoil in Togo, appealed to politicians to peacefully resolve their dispute.

Faure Gnassingbe, the son of the late dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema who was declared by election officials to be the winner of Sunday's presidential vote, denounced other attacks in recent days.

He assured the world that this nation of 5 million people was not on the fast track to civil war -- long the destructive route of its West African neighbors.

"I have confidence in the forces of order and security and, most of all, in the political maturity and good sense of the Togolese," Gnassingbe said in remarks published Friday.

Opposition leaders in Togo insist that Gnassingbe's ruling-party rigged Sunday's elections and preordained a victory for Gnassingbe.

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