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7 secessionists appear before Ho Magistrate Court ‘One’

Heavily armed police and military personnel dominated the premises of the Ho Magistrate Court ‘One’ yesterday, during the hearing of Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) case.

A total of seven people, including a woman, are standing trial at the court for their alleged complicity in last month’s declaration of independence for the Volta and Oti regions, by the HSGF.

Five of them, who were remanded by the court a fortnight ago, are: Godsfriend Peter Edem, 48, Mkpe Tornyi Kudjo, 61, Kofi Agbeko, 32, Agbenyega Akudzi, 54, and Ibrahim Tofa, 60.

They appeared before the court together with two others – Euphemia Gborgbortsi, 61, and Stephen Arku, 66.

Chief Superintendent Ayamga Yakubu Akolgo, prosecuting, told the court presided by Mr Robert Addo that the leader of the group, Charles Kudzordzi, 85, who is the first accused and two other organisers of the group, ‘Gbeku’ and George Nyakpo, were still on the run.

The prosecution said that about 11am on November 16, the HSGF held an event at Ho-Moleme, which attracted a crowd of about 100 people.

The court heard that during the function, Kudzordzi announced the secession of the Volta and Oti regions from Ghana, and declared the area ‘Republic of Western Togoland’.

Chief Supt Akolgo said Edem, a pastor, and second accused, played the role of master of ceremony at the independence declaration, which Kudjo, Agbeko, Gbeku and Nyakpo helped to organise.

The court heard that soon after Kudzordzi pronounced the ‘The Republic of Western Togoland’, a video footage of the ecstatic crowd went viral on social media, after which the police arrested accused.

According to the prosecution, Kudjo in his statement to the police insisted that he was a ‘Western Togolander’ and had never been a Ghanaian citizen.

The court heard that Akudzi was the treasurer of the group, responsible for collecting dues from its members while Tofa offered prayers at HSGF gatherings.

Chief Supt Akolgo said that accused had been under police surveillance radar since 2017, and were found to have held several clandestine meetings in the house of Kudzordzi and the church premises of Edem.

The prosecution said that the matter was still under investigation.

The court remanded accused into prison custody and adjourned the case to December 18, for them to be processed for indictment at the High Court.

The court at an earlier hearing, issued warrants for the arrest of Kudzordzi, Gbeku and Akudzi.

FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO

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