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31 persons arrested not part of the secessionist group – Lawyer of alleged secessionists

The lawyer of the 31 alleged secessionists currently in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), Lawyer Theophilus Donkor says his clients are not members of the Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF).

According to him, his clients were random residents of the region who were merely present at the scene of the incident when the joint police-military security force rounded them up on suspicion of their involvement in the disturbances.

Secessionist, members of the WTRF, are reported to have blocked major roads in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region and launched a simultaneous attack on two police stations in the towns of Mepe and Aveyime, ransacking their armoury and taking into custody 3 police officers

This was done in an attempt to proclaim their sovereignty and demand that the government of Ghana recognize them as an independent state.

The Ghana Police Service after some hours was able to quell the situation and arrested about 31 suspected secessionists, with two persons dying in a shoot out with the security forces.

However, speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, lawyer for the accused, Theophilus Donkor contends that the Ghana Police Service erred in their arrest of the 31 suspected secessionists.

“Yes they were at the crime scene, but as they were travelling and the traffic had piled up, they went to the crime scene to find out exactly what was happening. At the time they arrested them, all the people who were alleged to have belonged to the secessionist group have left the scene.”

He further added that no offensive weapon was found on any of the arrested persons at the time of their arrest.

“I must also state that none of the 31 persons arrested on Friday, no offensive weapon, nothing whatsoever was found on them.”

He also drew host Evans Mensah’s attention to the fact that the initial news item showed pictures of the secessionist group “wearing black with inscriptions and then green khaki trousers, but if you look at the accused persons who were in court today, some of them were in dresses that were going to farm, some were travelling, these were not part of the secessionist group,” he said

This, he said, was made clear to the police during their interrogation session with the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), in whose custody they currently are.

“And they have made it clear to me and they have told the police during their interrogation that they do not belong to this secessionist group; nobody has recruited them, nobody has extended a hand of invitation to them so they are not part of this secessionist group,” he said.

In addition, Mr Donkor revealed that the prosecution in court on Monday admitted that the Accra High Court has no jurisdiction over the matter as the incident occurred in the Volta Region.

“Per section 45 of Act 30, they were supposed to try the case within the Volta Region, which has jurisdiction over where the crime was committed, so they themselves came to court again and said that the court has no jurisdiction and that the only reason they are in court is to remand the 31 persons who have been charged with the offences as presented to the court.”

The court proceedings has been adjourened to the 13th of October, 2020 after prosecutors have managed to gather enough evidence to charge the alleged secessionists.