A total of 17 persons arrested at the weekend and placed in police custody following two separate operations by the security agencies, are said to be connected to activities of the ‘‘Homeland Study Group Foundation’ (HSGF) claiming independence from Ghana.
Fifteen of the suspects were reported to have been picked up on Sunday, December 22, between 2:00am and 4:30am from three communities – Gbledi Kyebi, Fodome Helu and Kwadzato – in the Hohoe Municipality, with the two others having been picked up earlier on Saturday, December 21 at Wli Todzi in the same municipality.
A statement issued Monday night on behalf of the Commander of the 7 Garrison Public Relations Department of the Volta Barracks, Ho, explains that the 66 Artillery Regiment based in Ho, the Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Ghana Police Service, the Defence Intelligence (DI) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Accra, were involved in conducting what it called the two “Counter Insurgency Operations” within the Hohoe Municipality to counter the activities of the secessionist group.
“The first operation which was conducted from 0300 hours to 0535 hours on Saturday 21 December 2019 at Wli Todzi led to the arrest of two (2) persons namely Stephen Anyidoho, a construction labourer aged 30 and a native of Dzodze and Brain Todoko, an artist aged 40 and a native of Wli Todzi. The two are suspected to be close associates of one Mr Hope Mortey also known as “Spider”, who is believed to be a key member of the HSGF and suspected to be in charge of a Training Camp at Wli Todzi for Militants of the group.
“During the operation, one Mr. Clement Todoko, a BNI operative with the Hohoe BNI Division who is suspected to be an informant and spy for Mr Hope Mortey engaged the troops in a heated argument and tried obstructing them from performing their Lawful duty. He argued that the 2 suspects were close associates or “his men” therefore the troops should release them to him but the troops professionally refused.
“The second operation took place on Sunday 22 December 2019 between the hours of 0200 hrs and 0430 hours around Gbledi Kyebi, Fodome Helu and Kwadzato all in the Hohoe Municipality. This operation also led to the arrest of 15 suspects.
“Items seized during the operation included Western Togoland Branded Shirts, Berets, Flashlights, Boots, Police Belts, Flags of Western Togoland, a Cheque Book and a list containing items needed for training.
“All those arrested and the items seized are currently in the custody of the Ghana Police Service for further investigations.”
The statement said the upsurge in activities by the secessionist group in the Volta Region in recent times, threatens the security of the Volta and Oti Regions in particular and Ghana as a whole and that the group’s demand for a semi-autonomous region violates the constitution of Ghana, which coupled with their declaration of independence to cover the Volta, Oti, parts of the Northern, North East and Upper East Regions, “necessitated the conduct of operations to maintain the unity and stability of Ghana.”
It asked the “general public to remain calm and be assured that the security agencies are in firm control of the situation and will deal with any individual or group found to be actively engaged or associated with the said HSGF or any other Secessionist Group.”
The statement also advised the general public to be wary of any group or groups or individuals who collect money from them with the promise to train them and give them lucrative working conditions, and urged the media not to provide their platforms to the group to spread its illegal activities. It also requested the public to “provide information on individuals or activities of the Group to the Security Agencies for prompt action.”