Ghana: Alleged secessionists remanded in custody

APA-Accra (Ghana)

A Circuit Court in Accra has remanded in police custody 21 persons including a woman alleged to have been recruited into the military wing of the Western Togoland Secessionist Group at Dodze in Volta Region of Ghana.

They have been charged with two counts of participating in the activities of an outlawed organization called Western Togoland, and attending a meeting by the same group. 

The court however reserved their plea.

The accused are expected to reappear before the same court on March 4.

The accused included Justine Abotsi, a pupil teacher; Joshua Lawoe, motor rider; Patrick Doe-Dzogbeta, repairer; Solomon Normeshie, unemployed; Moses Dakpenese, driver; Raymond Amemo, glass fabricator; Justice Kumasbor, steel bender; Christian Agbeko, unemployed; Emmanuel Tannor, salesman; and William Ahiamadi, an electrician.

The rest are Michael Dakpense, motor rider; Enos Agbanyo, mason; Francis Sakyi, mason; Kwame Asorgba, unemployed; Devine Bedzrah, unemployed; Samuel Kay Suglo and Vincent Abosti, fishermen; Anthony Dormekpo, driver; Kofi Atsu, teacher; Estse Borbor, mason; and Julius Sah a Lotto agent.  

The court ruled that for the interest of justice, it would preserve the plea of the accused and urged the prosecution to take a second look at the sections of the law under which the accused have been charged, Joy News reported.

Prosecuting, Chief Inspector Simon Apoisornu prayed the court not to take the pleas of the accused because investigations were ongoing and it was likely the charges might be substituted by the next adjournment date.

 Giving more insight into the case, Chief Inspector Apoisornu said the matter borders on national security and the prosecution would prefer that the accused were kept in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) so that they can have access to their lawyers as well as relations.

According to prosecution it was going to be difficult to keep them in the custody of the police given their numbers.

Counsel Mr. George Asamaney and Mr. Yaw Dankwah represented all the accused persons.

 In his submission, Mr. Asamaney requested the court to allow the accused to plead to the various charges since that was mandatory under the law.

According to him the accused ought to have access to their counsel so that they can take proper instructions from them.

He therefore asked the court to remand them in police custody instead of under the BNI.

According to counsel, when an accused is remanded in BNI custody, it becomes difficult for lawyers and relations to have access to them.

The facts presented by prosecution was that the accused reside at various places in the country.

 Prosecution explained that on Monday February 17, this year, personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) following several days of intelligence gathering on the activities of the Western Togoland Secessionists group, a prohibited organization, arrested 21 of its alleged members including a female at Dodze in the Ketu North Municipality of the Volta Region. 

According to the prosecution, they were recruited into the military wing of the Western Togoland secessionists group.

It claimed that the accused bought recruitment forms and paid between GHC400.00 and GHC800.00 as registration fees through a mobile money (MOMO) number under the name of Samuel Gafa named as one of the ring leaders currently on the run.

The prosecution said the accused were made to assemble at Dodze and were transported on motor bikes and vehicles to a training camp of the Western Togoland Gorilla Army to commence training.

The prosecution said the accused were briefed by one Togbe aka Spider about the activities of the Western Togoland Secessionists’ Group.

According to prosecution, state security agencies had intelligence about the training of the accused as guerilla fighters and that the military on the dawn of February 17, this year, conducted a raid at the camp. 

The accused were arrested while their supposed instructors and other trainees had managed to escape, the court heard.



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