Crime

Court Jails Five Separatists In Ghana

A high court in the Ghanaian capital, Accra has sentenced five members of an outlawed separatist group fighting for a breakaway state of Togoland to five years each in jail along with hard labour.

This is the first known instance of people being convicted and jailed for secessionist activities in the West African republic.

The convicts, all members of the Western Togoland Restoration Front, were among dozens of people arrested in 2020 for raiding police stations, freeing detainees, burning security vehicles and blocking a major road.

Some of the suspects were later released after a screening by the authorities. But the five sentenced on Tuesday have been in detention since their arrests.

Local media in Ghana have reported that the lawyer for the convicted separatists had asked for leniency for his clients. The court has described the actions of the convicts as ‘’premeditated’’ and also an affront to Ghana’s national security and territorial integrity.

Ghana is one of the most stable countries in West Africa. But some groups in the Volta and Oti regions have been agitating for a separate country for decades. The secessionist movement has been largely peaceful until the 2020 incident.

A Ghanaian security analyst, Irbad Ibrahim, says the ruling shows that Ghana has developed as a democratic country where rule of law is upheld.

He said in the past decades, suspected or convicted separatists were usually executed by firing squad for treason related offences.

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Mr Irbad said, nevertheless, the latest sentencing could serve ‘’as a deterrent to others who may attempt to destabilize the Republic of Ghana.’’

But he advised the Ghanaian authorities to also look into the ‘’petitions and grievances’’ of the separatists including underdevelopment in their region through ‘’an open door policy.’’

TRT Afrika

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