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Secessionist trial: Two more freed, 10 more charged

Two discharged suspected secessionists Komla Kove and Atti Kodwo Fiagbe leading the entourage after court proceedings

The Accra Circuit court has discharged two more accused persons in the trial of dozens of suspected secessionists.

The two, Komla Kove and Atti Kodwo Fiagbe, were freed after the prosecution told the court it had insufficient evidence to prosecute them.

This is the second time the prosecution has discharged some of the accused persons who have been in custody since September 28, 2020.

On November 9, this year, three of the suspects were discharged after the prosecutor, ASP Slyvester Asare, informed the court of his decision to withdraw the old fact sheet which originally had 27 accused persons.

It was now left with 24 accused persons. It is this list of 24 suspects that have been whittled down again to 22.

On Monday, November 23, 2020, prosecution again presented an amended fact sheet —  two suspected secessionists, Komla Kove and Atti Kodwo Fiagbe – were discharged.

Suspected secessionists after court proceedings

“We humbly have before you an amended charge sheet and we wish to withdraw the previous charge sheet presented on November 9, 2020,” ASP Asare said.

But the prosecution added 10 more people to the list when the case was called on Monday. Now, the Accra Circuit Court will be hearing the case of 32 suspected secessionists.

The decision made the lawyers were very unhappy, leading them to ask how the investigations are being done.

“My Lord, this may very well be a rhetorical question but prosecution has discharged two more persons. Today, you discharge, tomorrow you arrest, it makes me wonder how the investigation is being done.

“These are people who have been in custody for over five weeks and you just conclude that after investigations, you are letting two of them go. I just don’t understand,” Kingsley Kwesitsu, one of the lawyers for the accused said.

Some family members waving the accused persons as they drive out of the court premises

The other defence counsel in the case associated themselves with Mr Kwesitsu’s submission.

The counsel for the accused persons includes Theophilus Donkor, George Asomani and Benson Dennis Seyram.

The accused persons are Nene Kwaku Agblormi II, Abednego Dzreke Mawuena, Emmanuel Hayford Afedo, Richard Doglo Ametepe, Benjamin Kplivi, Samuel Wor, Charles Elo, Richard Kwasi Norgbordzi, Stephen Kpexor and Kpexor Bersa Isreal.

The others are Emmanuel Alowordor, Ebenezer Nyaletasi, Cephas Zodanu, Moses Gadago, Ernest Dzitor, David Hedidor, Christian Nudekor, Paul Nunekpeku, Edwin Olu Dzinyela, Vincent Amaglo Gapketor and Atigah Dziwornu.

The rest are Godwin Adzowu, Samuel Yao Fiagbedzi, Samuel Atsu Gagbetor, Astu Awudzi, Akorli Dzitotor, Papa Denyo, Joseph Nyamewu, Afetorgbo Kpogo, Selorm Dorpe, Charles Gakpe Agbohla and Mawuta Gadri.

The 32 accused persons are facing four counts — conspiracy to treason felony, treason felony, conspiracy to causing unlawful damage and causing unlawful damage.

The court is yet to take the pleas of the accused persons.

There are two different batches of suspects being tried over an alleged secessionist plot. There is a batch of 51 which is now 29 after the court discharged 22 of them over lack of sufficient evidence.

There is also the batch of 27 which has reduced to 22 and shot up again to 32 suspects. It is possible another batch may be added to the case.

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On September 25, hundreds of commuters on roads leading to the Volta and Oti regions, including Kpong-Akosombo, Juapong-Ho, Ho-Mepe, Sogakope-Accra were stranded.

The secessionist, said to belong to the Western Togoland Restoration group, blocked some of the roads with sand and set tyres ablaze while seizing the mobile phones of travellers who dared take shots of their activities.

They also overrun the Mepe and Aveyime police stations, released suspects in custody, locked up some police officers in the place of the suspects and also broke into the armoury of the Aveyime Police Station and made away with 10 AK 47s.

The Aveyime District Police Commander sustained injuries.

A joint team of the police and military were deployed in response. One person was shot dead while three others sustained injuries after the exchange of gunfire in the Sogakope area.

The police and military also claimed that they foiled attempts to burn down the Ho Central market and other key state installations in the region.

At least 57 suspects were arrested and flown to Accra where they were charged.

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In the past, the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), a separatist group had announced a breakaway of parts of the Volta Region, Oti Region, Northern Region and Upper East as an independent state called Western Togoland.

Scores of people have been arrested since 2017 with the leader of another group leading the quest for independence Charles Kudzordzi, alias Papavi, arrested and later released while charges against him were dropped.

On August 24, members of one of three groups leading the quest for independence for the area held an open meeting where their leaders rambled about how people from the Volta Region were discriminated against and their nationality questioned.

But the current violent attacks were allegedly led by the Western Togoland Restoration Front, one of three groups leading a campaign for the independence of Western Togoland.

Facts of the case

The suspects are members of a prohibited organization namely Western Togoland Foundation and related Organization. That the core objective of both group is to separate a section of the east most part of the entire country which they describe to be Western Togoland and usurp the executive powers of the Republic of Ghana.

The group has its strong hold in the Volta region and has pockets of followers
across the towns namely, Osuwem, Juapong, Volo, Mamfe, Bator,
Mepe, Aveyime, Ho and many others.

Nene Kwaku Agblorm II, Felix Sosa and Lawrence Nyadzinor have been identified as National Executive Counsel Members of Western Togoland Foundation.

The group is headed by one Charles Kormi Kudzordzi popularly called Papavi and has illegally trained the youth numbering over two hundred to take up arms to fight their struggles.

Charles Kormi Kudzordzi popularly called Papavi surrounded by some of his members

It has been moving its unlawful training grounds from one town to the other to outwit the security operatives. The leadership of the group in recent times have been holding series of illegal meeting at Afife.

Mepe, Juapong, Nyatikpo, Aveyime and other towns in the Volta region with the agenda of how to achieve their aim.

Devine Seddoh, an active member of the group was then assigned the role of education, to organize more followers from the northern stretch of their targeted
territory, particularly ewes.

Ernest Kpevu, claimed he denied the responsibility to supply firearms to the group but have been making financial donations to enhance their illegal activities.

Somewhere in September, 2020 a collective decision was made by executive and
members of Western Togoland at Afife to organise and riot and block the two major roads at Juapong and also attack drivers at the State Transport Corporation Terminal at Ho and rob them of their busses.

Intercity Mini bus terminal at Ho set ablaze by Western Togoland members

The meeting was attended by the accused persons together with others at large.

On September 9, 2020, the accused persons together with others at large camped themselves at Afife in preparation for the attack.

On September 25, 2020, at about 1 am, the accused persons dressed in Western Togoland “T” shirts, armed with offensive weapon such as guns, cutlasses, cudgels among others went amok and blocked the Juapong-Akuse road at Abotoase junction and Juapong-Accra road at Akrade near the Customs check point.

They used logs to cross the road road and burnt lorry tyres in the middle of the it preventing road users from accessing road.

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All the accused persons present at the crime scene executed the crime with pleasure wantonly displaying the flags of Western Togoland amidst chanting “we want freedom”.

Their action caused heavy vehicular traffic along that enclave of the road rendering passengers and travellers stranded. The accused persons fiercely engaged the military in a gun battle on their arrival at the scene.

They were however overpowered and arrested whiles others managed to escape.

Some of the arrested secessionists

On September 29, 2020, Dzreke Mawuena and Emmenuel Hayfor Afedo in the company of other accused persons now at large stormed the bus terminal of
STC, Ho and violently demanded for the ignition keys of the buses available but were denied.

They took offence and set two buses ablaze. Police intelligence led to their arrest.

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