A retired military man, Colonel Festus Aboagye, has described the arrest and subsequent prosecution of alleged seccessionists along Ghana’s eastern borders as a hoax and a ploy to deploy the military to parts of the Volta Region.
A group known as the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) were accused by government of undertaking violent steps to achieve the aim of a country to be called Western Togoland.
Their violent activities including the burning of some public facilities resulted in the deployment of the army into parts of the Volta Region to quell the rising violence in 2020.
Speaking on Accra-based Citi FM, Col. Aboagye (Rtd.) said the whole episode amounted to a hoax and a ploy to deploy the army to the region.
“This hoax about Western Togoland, terrorists invading Ghana was a ploy. In the process, the Ghana Armed Forces were deployed and casualties occurred. People were arrested, and we saw them in the media.
“As of now, can any journalist tell us where those arrested persons are? What has been the outcome of that event?” he asked.
The group at the time wanted the Volta, Oti, and parts of the Upper East Region to become part of the so-called autonomous country.
A number of them were arrested and later charged with treason felony, conspiracy to commit crime amongst others.
The Homeland Study Group Foundation claims that Western Togoland was an independent state before it was forced to join Ghana after the 1956 plebiscite.
Per their demands, Volta and Oti regions, parts of Northern Region, North East region and Upper East Region was to become part of a new Western Togoland state.
In 2019, the group declared independence twice but some 81 members of the group were arrested after assembling for protest over the arrest their leaders.
National executive for the Homeland Study Group Foundation, Emmanuel Agbavor, told the BBC last year that the people of the Volta Region have been suppressed for a very long time.
The territory of Western Togoland was first colonised by Germany in 1884 and incorporated into the Togoland colony. After Germany’s defeat during the First World War, the colony of Togoland was divided between France and Britain as protectorates.
The western part of Togoland became part of Britain’s Gold Coast colony, which became independent in 1957 to form modern-day Ghana. Togo gained independence from France in 1960.
Western Togoland is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO). Four million people live in the region. In terms of language and culture, Western Togoland, especially the Volta region, has more in common with Togo. Locals in the region say they feel underrepresented by Ghanaian authorities.