For the first time since the secessionist activities of a group of persons seeking to secede from Ghana and form ‘Western Togoland’came under the spotlight, soldiers have descended upon their military training ground and arrested 21 persons, one of them a female.
The Monday dawn operation on the secessionists training hideout in the forest of Kpevedui in the Volta Region was effected by a company of soldiers from the 66 Artillery Regiment, formerly Mortar Regiment, the main military unit in the Volta Regional capital, Ho.
Supporting the military operation were two crime scene detectives from the Volta Regional Police Command.
Three others are on the run, the Commanding Officer of the unit, Lt Col Baba Pantoah, told the media. He said the fugitives fled just before the operation.
Investigators will be interested in determining what the suspects were doing around 2 am when the operation commenced on Monday and in the thick forest in spite of telltale evidence about their secessionist bid.
This is the first time that the military have been associated with a security clampdown on the alleged secessionists.
Col. Eric Aggrey-Quarshie, Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces, who confirmed the operation, told DAILY GUIDE that journalists were taken to the site of the operation.
The arrest comes on the heels of an earlier one in the Northern Region in which the suspects have already been charged and made a maiden appearance in court.
Eighty-year-old Charles Kokuvi Kudzordji, leader of the secessionists called the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), made the headlines when he and others were arrested last year and brought to Accra.
He was later released and many thought it could have something to do with his advanced age.
The old man was in the news again when he declared independence of Western Togoland in Ho at a place in the neighbourhood of a police installation.
A waiting car whisked him away soon after he had declared the independence of Western Togoland.
He has been in hiding for a while and many wondered why he has not yet been arrested considering the gravity of the offence of declaring a part of sovereign Ghana independent.
Even before Ghanaians could come to terms with the gravity of the secessionist threat, with many downplaying it as a non-starter, social media soon splashed pictures of men said to be Western Togoland recruits undergoing military training in the jungle.
That was perhaps what got many who downplayed the security threat to sit up and start asking probing questions.
Pictures of recruits undergoing military training in the forest made the rounds on social media last year causing much apprehension among Ghanaians; many were disturbed about a burgeoning incidence of rebel activities in the country.
Nine of the secessionists were later charged with conspiracy to commit treason felony, abetment of unlawful training, unlawful assembly and offensive conduct conducive to the breach of peace and were put before court.
The Attorney-General, however, in July, discontinued the case based on which the High Court trying them discharged them.
Eighteen men were on December 27, 2019 arrested at Dipa, a village in the Nanumba North Municipality, for allegedly having a meeting to discuss the separatist activities.
They were rounded up on the meeting grounds with a joint police and military and a Bureau of National Investigations officer.
They were taken to the Yendi Circuit Court where they were charged with treason felony.
On 9th December, 10 suspected members of the movement were also arrested at Tumu in the Upper West Region.