Western Togoland case: High Court convicts 5 secessionists, defers sentencing to 21 March

Criminal High Court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, has convicted five secessionists who were arrested by the police in September 2020, after they blocked the Aveyime road from Accra, with trips of sand and attacked the Aveyime and Mepe police stations in the Volta Region.

The High Court convicted the accused persons after finding them guilty of offences contrary to the Prohibited Organisations Act, 1976 Supreme Military Council Decree (SMCD 20).

The four charges under SMCD 20 proffered against the accused persons were one; Attending meetings of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(b) of SMCD 20, and two; Making contributions to the funds of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(g) of SMCD 20.

The third and fourth charges were; Participating in the campaign of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(d) of SMCD 20, and being a member of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(i) of SMCD 20.

The 1st accused person, Ebenezer Gblorkpor, was found guilty and convicted on counts one, two and four. The 2nd accused person, Afetorgbor Kpogo, was found guilty and convicted on only count one.

The 3rd accused person Joseph Nyamewu, 4th accused person, Wisdom Kuvor, and the 5th accused person, Israel Bessah Kpexor, were all found guilty and convicted on counts three and four.

Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh’s Court however, deferred the sentencing of the five accused persons to 21 March 2023.

Brief facts

The Homeland Study Group (HSG) is an organisation with the primary aim to secede the Volta and Oti Regions, from the territories of Ghana.

The Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF) on the other hand is an offshoot of HSG, established by Michael Koku Kwabla, also known as Togbe Yesu.

The WTRF’s main aim was to use force to secede the Volta and Oti Regions from Ghana, to form a new state to be called ‘Western Togoland’. It was established by Michael Koku Kwabla.

Together with his righthand-man, Charles Elo, they recruited persons to attend WTRF meetings, become members, participate in the group’s campaign and make contributions to the cause of WTRF.

WTRF hatched a plan to campaign and protest for the secession of the Volta and Oti Regions. They planned to campaign and protest by blocking roads that led to the Volta Region from Accra, with sand and burning tyres.

On 25th September 2020 at dawn, WTRF set the plans in motion. They divided themselves into groups. One group blocked the Aveyime road from Accra, with trips of sand and burning tyres.

The other WTRF groups proceeded to attack the Aveyime and Mepe police stations of the Ghana Police Service. They wielded guns and other weapons and used same to overpower the policemen.

They freed inmates from the cells, broke into the armoury of the stations and stole arms and ammunition including; 13 AK 47 assault rifles; 2 pistols; 5 pump action guns; 1 short gun; 2 mack-3 guns; 1 mack-4 gun; 3 SMG rifles; 11 rubber bullets; 25 rounds of 37mm tear gas cartridges; and about 300 rounds of AK47.

They also stole a police patrol vehicle with registration number GP 195, proceeded to attack the barracks and made away with monies and other items belonging to the police residents and their families.

A Police team was sent from Sogakokpe to go and restore calm at Aveyime and Mepe. When they reached Aveyime, the team was attacked by WTRF members. Three police officers were injured and their leader, Chief Superintendent Dennis Fiakpui was shot.

The signboard of the Police Service was defaced by WTRF members. They erased ‘Ghana’ from the phrase ‘Ghana Police Service’ printed on the signboard.

They hang and displayed what they claimed to be flags of their new country (Western Togoland). In the midst of the road blockage and attacks on Aveyime and Mepe police stations, the WTRF members also jubilated and chanted “freedom freedom”. Police investigations led to the arrest of the accused persons.

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