60 suspected separatists arrested in Volta Region

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Security forces in Ghana have arrested 60 persons for their alleged involvement in a series of violent attacks –part of an orchestrated push by separatist groups to break away from the Volta Region.

Fifty-four of the suspects have been remanded by a court, government officials said on Friday night adding that six others are being processed for prosecution.

A Deputy Information Minister, Pious Hadzide made this disclosure to journalists after a high-powered delegation led by the National Security Minister held talks with over 50 chiefs in the area.

“It is worthy of note that the Volta Regional House of Chiefs denounced the criminal activities that were reported recently including an attack on police stations”, Mr. Hadzide said. “We have also deployed our men on the ground to deal with the threat.”

Volta NDC MPs absent

The visit, led by National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah and other top security chiefs is to obtain first-hand information from security personnel on the ground and to appraise the chiefs in the area on how to bring the situation under control.

Conspicuously missing were members of the Volta caucus in parliament who apparently pulled out from the meeting demanding a broader engagement between the government and their party hierarchy.

A spokesperson of the NDC caucus Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said: “We have communicated to the Regional Minister that since a national team has been set up…, we have divided that this matter would be discussed at the national level together with the national party leadership and this has the blessing of our flag bearer [John Mahama].

Regional Minister to sue

In a related development, Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa has threatened legal action against persons linking him to the group.

There have been widespread claims by a section of the public that the Chairman of the Volta Regional Security Council is funding the group.

But addressing the press, Dr. Letsa dismissed the claim describing it as baseless and be treated with the contempt it deserves.

“So if they claim they know me or vice versa I wouldn’t know the criminal activity they are engaged in. Western Togoland showed up in 2017 and we got them arrested and so how come they claim I am their financier. I would like to know them so I meet them in court.”

Background

The attacks were carried out by the Western Togoland secessionist, Homeland Study Group Foundation in an attempt to break away from Ghana.

About a week ago, some attackers also besieged the Aveyime and Mepe police stations freeing inmates and making away with assault rifles and shotguns.

At least one person was killed following the ensuing confrontations between security personnel and the purported secessionists.

About 35 persons were arrested following the disturbances on Friday, September 25, 2020.

On Monday, September 28, 2020, 31 of them were put before a circuit court in Accra and charged on three counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of rioting, the substantive offence of rioting, and being at an unlawful place.

In the most recent incident, purported secessionists attacked the State Transport Corporation (STC) in the Volta Regional capital, Ho, and set ablaze one of its buses.

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has assured the government will adequately deal with the purported secessionists.

He also said he trusted in the ability of the country’s security and intelligence agencies to stop such threats and clamp down on activities of the secessionists.

“I trust the security agencies, the armed forces, the police, I trust their leadership and intelligence agencies and I know they are all working very hard to make sure that this matter is dealt with as quickly as possible,” the President said in an interview on Hello FM in Kumasi on Wednesday.

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