Five persons arrested in connection with a violent demonstration agitating for the secession of the Volta Region from Ghana, were yesterday sentenced to a total of 25 years’ imprisonment in hard labour by an Accra High Court.
The convicts were among a host of individuals arrested at a demonstration organised by Homeland Study Group (HSG), a prohibited secessionist group leading the call for the usurpation of the executive powers of government.
The five, among other things, attacked the Aveyime and Mepe police station armoury in the Volta Region where they stole a number of weapons, ammunitions, and a police patrol vehicle after they managed to overpower the police officers on duty.
Ebenezer Gblorkpor, Afetorgbor Kpogo, Joseph Nyamewu, Wisdom Kuvor and Israel Bessah Kpexor were dragged before the court on charges of attending meetings of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(b) of SMCD 20, and making contributions to the funds of a prohibited organisation.
They were also charged for participating in the campaign of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(d) and being a member of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(i) of SMCD 20.
They had all pleaded not guilty but the prosecution in its case conducted by Nana Adoma Osei, Watkins Adama, all Senior State Attorneys and Derrick Ackah-Nyamike, an Assistant State Attorney, were able to establish the guilt of the convicts.
Counsel for the convicts, Andrew Vortia, in his plea of mitigation prayed the court to consider the time they had already spent in custody since they were denied bail, their youthful ages and that they had shown remorse throughout the trial.
Derrick Ackah-Nyamike said the convicts’ actions were premeditated and they attacked police stations, the very institution at the heart of maintaining peace.
He added that the convicts are a threat to national security, as well as a threat to Ghana’s sovereignty.
Justice Mary Yanzuh, the presiding judge, in her sentencing said the action of the convicts was premeditated and handed them the maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment in hard labour each, to serve as deterrent to others who may have such intensions.
The facts relied upon by the prosecution indicate that the accused persons, now convicts, had plans to ‘secede’ from Ghana and pursuant to that had divided themselves in various groups to carry out their plans.
On September 25, 2020, one of the groups including the accused persons, while armed went to the Aveyime and Mepe police stations where they overpowered police officers on duty and freed cell inmates.
The convicts then went into the armoury and stole 17 AK47 assault rifles, five pump action guns, one shot gun, two Mack 3 guns, three SMG rifles, 11 rubber bullets, 25 rounds of 37mm tear gas cartridges, about 300 rounds of AK47 ammunition and a police patrol vehicle at the Aveyime police station.
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 Sogakope to restore calm at Aveyime and Mepe but when they reached Aveyime, the team was attacked by members of Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF), an offshoot of HSG.
The facts said three police officers were injured and their leader, Chief Superintendent Dennis Fiakpui, was shot.
In the midst of the road blockage and attacks on Aveyime and Mepe police stations, the WTRF members also jubilated and chanted “freedom, freedom.”
BY Gibril Abdul Razak