6 More Western Togoland supporters jailed 13yrs
Six more members of the outlawed Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF), a group seeking to break the Volta and Oti regions from the country, have been jailed for a total of 13 and half years by an Accra High Court.
Apart from the jail terms, the six convicts were also fined by the court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh a total of GH¢15, 600.
In default of paying the fine, the convicts will spend a total of 22 extra months in prison.
The convicts, who were sent to the cooler last Wednesday — Gabriel Godfred Govina, Benjamin Gbadago, Cephas Zoddanu, Richard Doglo Ametepe, Cosmos Havor and Vincent Ramseyer Atsu-Galey — were given jail terms between six months and three years.
They were found guilty on 11 counts of belonging or contributing towards the success of a prohibited group contrary to the Prohibited Organisations Act, 1976 (SMCD 20), which carries a maximum sentence of five years
Four other persons who were accused of being members of the WTRF — John Gbedemah, Godwin Awudza, Excel Liberty Aheto Kuegbesika and Divine Nyadzinyor — were acquitted last month and discharged by the court.
So far, the total number of WTRF members jailed for their involvement with the prohibited group is 17, with many others still on trial.
Pronouncing the sentence, Justice Yanzuh described the actions of the convicts and WTRF as serious threats which could have plunged the country into a serious security crisis if not for the swift action of security agencies
“I must say, with visual and documentary evidence, that the disastrous act of this organisation should send shivers down the spine of any law-abiding citizen,” she said.
Justice Yanzuh said she decided not to hand the maximum sentence of five years to the convicts because they were first-time offenders while considering their ages.
The facts of the case as presented by the prosecution were that one Charles Kwami Kudzordzi, aka Papavi Hogbedetor, formed the Homeland Study Group (HSG) many years ago with the aim and objective of seceding the Volta and Oti regions from Ghana to form Western Togoland.
It said after Papavi left the scene, many other prohibited groups sprung up, and one such group was the WTRF formed by one Michael Koku Kwabla, aka Togbe Yesu, with the sole purpose of using force to achieve the creation of Western Togoland, which was to cover the Volta and Oti regions, and some parts of the Eastern and Northern regions.
The prosecution said the convicts were part of the WTRF and played various instrumental roles in its activities
According to the prosecution, WTRF hatched a plan to embark on massive protests and civil disobedience to achieve the aims of the group, and on September 25, 2020, members of the WTRF implemented their plans by first blocking the road from Aveyime to Accra, with sand and burning tyres.
The prosecution said while one group of WTRF blocked the road, another group of the WTRF attacked the Aveyime and Mepe police stations.
“They wielded guns and other weapons and used the same to overpower the policemen.
They freed inmates from the cells, broke into the armoury of the stations and stole arms and ammunition, including 13 AK 47 assault rifles, two pistols, five pump action guns, a short gun, two mack-3 guns, one mack-4 gun, three SMG rifles, 11 rubber bullets, 25 rounds of 37mm tear gas cartridges and about 300 rounds of AK47 bullets.
“They also stole a police patrol vehicle with registration number GP 195, proceeded to attack the barracks and made away with money and other items belonging to the police residents and their families,” the prosecution told the court.
The prosecution further told the court that the group attacked a police team sent from Sogakope to restore calm at Aveyime and Mepe, injuring three policemen and shooting the leader of the police team, Chief Superintendent Dennis Fiakpui.
“The signboard of the Police Service was defaced by WTRF members.
They erased ‘Ghana’ from the phrase ‘Ghana Police Service’ printed on the signboard and hanged and displayed what they claimed to be flags of their new country (Western Togoland),” the prosecution added.