Aftermath of alleged secessionists attack: Security beefed up at Ho STC yard

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
The two burnt buses
The two burnt buses

Security has been beefed up at the Intercity STC yard in Ho, following an attack on the premises by persons suspected to be members of a secessionist group.

When the Daily Graphic visited the premises yesterday morning, there was tight security there, with a number of officers and men from the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) patrolling the area.

It was also observed that the place was unusually quiet, giving the indication that the Ho STC Yard was not operating.

The management of Intercity STC had confirmed the beefing up of security at the Ho yard.

Latest attack

In the latest attack, some persons believed to be members of the secessionist group completely burnt an Intercity STC mini bus, while another was partially burnt, in Ho in the early hours of yesterday.

The group also posted warning notices at the STC yard and the entrance of the Volta Regional Police Headquarters directed at the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Yao Archibald Letsa; the Energy Minister, Mr John-Peter Amewu, and the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, for condemning its activities in the public space.

Police statement

A statement issued by the Ghana Police Service on its Facebook page assured the public that the police had launched investigations into the burning of the STC buses and the subsequent attacks on its drivers.

"Preliminary investigation shows that there were 11 vehicles parked at the time of the incident. One bus was completely burnt and another slightly burnt. The flag of the group, which calls itself Western Togoland, was found at the scene," it added.

It called on the public to remain calm and volunteer information to the police and sister security agencies.

Attacks bite region

The attacks by the secessionists group are having a bite on the region, as fear has gripped its residents.

Underneath the calm atmosphere in Ho, residents are raising concerns about their safety.

A call has been made for the security agencies to tighten security in the region, especially at state-run institutions, and also increase the visibility of police patrol teams to give some assurance of safety to the people.

Yesterday, the Volta Regional House of Chiefs joined the chorus calling for independent and transparent investigations into the events of last Friday to bring the perpetrators to book.

The chiefs called on people to be mindful of the ethnocentric comments they made against Voltarians because such statements and conduct came with some consequences.

Asogli warriors

The Asogli State said yesterday that it was ready to deploy its warriors to protect its territories, in collaboration with the security agencies of the nation.

Addressing a press conference in Ho, the Warlord of the Asogli State, Togbe Adzie-Lakle Howusu, on behalf of the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, said Togbe Afede XIV and the Asogli State Council were committed to ensuring a peaceful and united Ghana.

He said they were prepared to collaborate with the government to ensure peace and stability in the Volta Region and the country at large.

He condemned the “criminal acts” of the group and urged the government to conduct investigations into the incidents and make those involved to face the full rigours of the law.

Togbe Howusu also advised the group to use proper channels to address their concerns.

Residents views

Some residents of Ho who spoke with the Daily Graphic said the time had come for the government to stop handling the group with kid gloves and rather apply the full force of the state to arrest the kingpins behind the disturbances.

A media practitioner, Mr Maxwell Awumah, stressed the need for the media to research into the issues for the right information to help educate the nation, since distortions in the system might have empowered the secessionists to wage the attacks.

Mr Dzidefo Elorm called on the government to improve its security intelligence and launch a thorough investigation into the burning of the STC bus "because some individuals could also hide behind these secessionists to cause mayhem".

A trader, Madam Adzo Mawuena, called for the arrest of the leader of the group.

The Ho Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Prosper Pi-Bansah, described the attack on the STC yard as a “surprise attack”.

He said investigations were ongoing to get to the bottom of the incident.

Intercity STC reacts

Reacting to the attacks, the management of Intercity STC assured travellers patronising Accra-Ho buses that security measures put in place would see the Police Service and the GAF post their men to the premises daily to ensure the safety of travellers and staff of the company, reports Nana Konadu Agyemang.

“We are in touch with the security agencies, especially the Police Service and the military in Ho, to ensure that at any given time, they will have their men at post at our terminal to help prevent future attacks,” the Director in charge of Operations of Intercity STC, Nana Kwabena Sintim Aboagye, told the Daily Graphic yesterday.

He said STC remained the provider of buses that were safe to travel with.

Shedding light on the attack, Mr Aboagye said he received a report from the Ho Manager of the company around 2.15 a.m. that there had been an attack on the terminal of the company and that two of the minibuses had been set on fire, with one badly burnt.

He said while a security man who was at post at the time of the attack was assaulted and had his mobile phone taken way, none of the staff of the company, including the drivers, was hurt.

He said those who carried out the attack fled, but left behind a flag to show that they were members of the separatist group.

He gave an assurance that the attack had not affected the operations of the company, as it continued to operate the Accra-Ho bus service.