Torkor Atorlia
Torkor Atorlia
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Torkor Atorlia - Anlo’s crime last stop

Torkor Atorlia, meaning the fifth landing stage, is a place where convicted hardened criminals in Anloland were taken to and buried to the neck.

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The purpose was to make crows, vampires and other birds of prey come and pluck out their eyes after a fair trial had found the offenders guilty in the highest traditional Anlo court.

Torkor Atorlia was introduced to put felons away from society at one stage of the history of the people of Anlo after crimes such as rape, robbery, burglary, disobedience to authority, stealing and murder took uncontrollable heights after they arrived from Nostie in the present day Republic Togo.  

Traitors and men who slept with the wives of other men were also sent to Torkor Atorlia. Beside Torkor Atorlia is a small pond where those who buried the criminals went through various purification rites.

The pond, over the centuries, has never dried up even in times of prolonged dry seasons and is always covered with floating plants. With time, the purpose of Torkor Atorlia got lost to modernity.

Some of the trees which formed a wide canopy at Torkor Atorlia have been preserved over the centuries, while others have been replaced. The site today is serene, cool and breezy all the time.

Many who sit under the shade to rest for a while end up falling asleep for several hours. Torkor Atorlia, established about 600 years ago is now close to the Anloga Police Station, Hogbe Park, a basic school, the Keta Lagoon and many houses.

Crime prevention

Some residents who spoke to the Daily Graphic during a visit to the place said the practice of sending criminals to Torkor Atorlia helped to stamp out crime in Anloland in those days.

The pond near Torkor Atorlia

The pond near Torkor Atorlia

“Despite modernity, there is crime these days in our land,” one elder of Anloga said. An indigene of Anlo, Gavivina Tamakloe, maintained that the practice of sending criminals to Torkor Atorlia could not be described as barbaric.

“Today, even in the developed world, criminals are sentenced to death,” he explained. However, what has been the concern of many people in Anloga in recent times is how to restore Torkor Atorlia, not to put criminals to death, but rather to promote tourism.

The focus of this year’s Easter celebration in Anloga, therefore, sought to find ways to do that.

Home-coming

A homecoming event which was slated for March 23 – April 1, was on the theme: “Developing our proud tourist potential, taking Anloga to the next level.” The Secretary of the planning committee of the celebration, Silas Aidan, told the Daily Graphic that before the Easter festivities in Anloga, the principal objective of the celebration was to raise funds to develop Torkor Atorlia into a tourist site.

He said that would boost the prestige of Anloga, which is the 47th most populous town in Ghana, with a population of about 35,933 people. Anloga is the traditional capital of Anlo and the capital of the Anlo District in the Volta Region.

Due to its favourable climatic conditions, the Anloga District is one of the largest producers of shallots and tomatoes in the country. The oldest public secondary school in the Volta Region, Zion College (ZICO) which was established in 1937 is in Anloga.

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