Gov't handling of ‘harmless’ secessionists criticized

Gov't handling of ‘harmless’ secessionists criticized
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | GN
Date: 09-05-2019 Time: 06:05:30:am
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Charles Kudjordji, 85, said to be the leader of the group, had been picked up earlier on Sunday.

The Coalition of Volta Youth, a youth group based in the Volta Region, has criticised the government’s handling of attempts by the Homeland Study Group Foundation to secede from Ghana.

The group of secessionists is campaigning for the creation of an independent state called Western Togoland.

An Accra High Court on Wednesday remanded into police custody seven members of the Foundation as part of a wave arrests.

One other accused person, Charles Kudjordji, 85, said to be the leader of the group, had been picked up earlier on Sunday.

He was granted bail to the tune of GH¢250,000 with two sureties. He was conveyed in a helicopter to face multiple charges.

All of the persons picked up by the police were on Wednesday slapped with the charges of treason felony, abetment of unlawful training, unlawful assembly and offensive conduct.

A team of police and the military has also picked up 81 persons believed to be part of the campaign to declare the Volta Region independent from Ghana.

Chairman of the Coalition of Volta Youth, Simon Kofi Ohene, has described as heavy-handedness the way the security agencies picked up the leader of the secessionist group and the other members.


“I don’t think it is the right way to go…those people are harmless. When you went to arrest them there was no resistance from them. They are law-abiding citizens and therefore arresting, releasing and arresting them is just creating unnecessary tension in the country,” said Mr Ohene.

Meanwhile, a May 22 date has been set to hear the charges against Mr Charles Kudjordji and the accused persons.

Related: 30 more arrested over Western Togoland secessionist plans

Foiled plan

The secessionists had converged Wednesday morning at the residence of the Group’s leader who was arrested on Sunday and flown to Accra.

The assembled members of the cell were preparing to hold a press conference before the security team swooped in.

Senior State Attorney Winifred Sarpong told the three-member panel of High Court Justices that the seriousness of the crimes allegedly committed by the individuals made a grant of remand necessary. 

In 2017, leaders of the group were arrested and warned not to engage in activities against the state.

Campaign to secede

Multiple ethnicities live in the Volta Region which has a history of rule by three colonial European powers.

Britain seized much of what is today Ghana, and Germany grabbed neighbouring Togo.

After Germany's defeat in World War One, the land was split between British Togoland and French Togoland.

When Britain left its empire in Africa, British Togoland became part of eastern Ghana in 1956.

But separatists say the area has its own unique history and culture, and want a country of their own.

‘Bogus’ campaign

Associate Professor of History at the Centre for African and International Studies of University of Cape Coast, Prof Kwame Yayoh, has said the grounds on which the group is seeking to secede lack basis because there is no colony called Western Togoland.

”Togoland was Togoland. It was divided into districts,” he said.


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