Five persons belonging to the Homeland Study Group(HSG), who wanted to secede the Volta and Oti Regions from Ghana, in 2020, were yesterday sentenced to a total of 25 years imprisonment in hard labour by the Accra High Court.
Each of them was handed five years jail term by the court presided over by Justice MaameEkueYanzuh.
The convicts, Ebenezer Gblorkpor, AfetorgboKpogo, Joseph Nyamewu, Wisdom Kuvor and BessahKpexor were charged with attending meetings contrary to section 2(1)(b) of SMCD 20 and making contributions to the funds of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(g) of DMD 20.
They were also accused of participating in the campaign of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(d) of SMCD 20, and being members of a prohibited organisation contrary to section 2(1)(i) of SMCD 20.
On March 16, the court found them guilty for the offences, but deferred sentencing to March 21.
Before sentencing, counsel for the convicts, MrVortia asked the court to take into account the pendency of the case and the fact that his clients spent two years in prison custody.
The prosecutor, MsAdomaOsei, a Senior State Attorney, on the other hand opposed the plea for mitigation, and urged the court to take into account the seriousness of the offence,the fact that the convicts shot a policeman and that the crime was premeditated.
She said the convicts did not show remorse and deserve no mercy of the court and asked the court to impose harsher punishment on them to deter others.
MsOsei noted that the Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF), is an offshoot of HSG, established by Michael KokuKwabla, alias TogbeYesu.
She said the WTRF’s main aim was to use force to secede the Volta and Oti regions from Ghana, to form a new state to be called ‘Western Togoland.’
MsOsei told the court that the convicts planned to campaign and protest by blocking roads that lead to the Volta Region from Accra, with sand and burning tyres and that in September 25, 2020, at dawn, WTRF set the plans in motion.
The court heard that the convicts divided themselves into groups and one group blocked the Aveyime road from Accra, with trips of sand and burning tyres.
MsOseisaid the other WTRF groups attacked the Aveyime and Mepe police stations as members wielded guns and other weapons,which they used to overpower the policemen.
She told the court that the convicts freed inmates of the cells, broke into the armory of the stations and stole arms and ammunition, including; 13 AK 47 assault rifles, two pistols and five pump action guns.
The court heard thatthey took one 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.
Ms Osei said the convicts also stole a police patrol vehicle with registration number GP 195, proceeded to attack the barracks and made away with monies and other items belonging to the police residents and their families.
The prosecutor said a police team was sent from Sogakokpe to restore calm at Aveyime and Mepe, and when they reached Aveyime, the team was attacked by WTRF members.
MsOsei saidthat in the process, three police officers were injured and their leader, Chief Superintendent Dennis Fiakpui was shot.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA
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