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Leaders of a secessionist group in Ghana arrested over planned May 9 independence declaration

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The group which is based in Ho, the capital city of the Volta Region has been demanding the secession of the Volta Region from Ghana, claiming that the region was an independent state before being made to join Ghana in a plebiscite.

The Chairman of the HSGF, Charles Kormi Kudzodzi, alias Papavi Hogbedetor, and eight others were arrested on Sunday evening by a combined team of armed police and military personnel in Ho and airlifted to Accra.

In a statement by the Ghana Police, it said that the group was finalizing arrangements to declare Volta Region an independent state on May when they were picked up.

The group also had “a constitution, national emblem and anthem prepared” for the supposed independent state.

“Activities of the group also include illegally recruiting and training young people in a “militia-style” for them to form the core of their supposed country’s armed forces and police force,” the statement added.

This is not the first time members of the group have been arrested. On February 29, this year, they were arrested in similar fashion while they were going on a health walk. They were later released on bail.

The leadership was also arrested in March 2017, during which time the group’s agitations dominated the media in Ghana.

The leaders who were arrested were charged with treason but were later discharged with a warning. In July 2017, a High Court in Ho ordered them to sign a bond of good behaviour and desist from their secessionist activities.

However, the group failed to adhere to the ruling, following Sunday’s meeting, which has resulted in the arrest of leading figures, including the secessionist leader, Mr Kudjordjie, who is over 80 years old.

Kudjordjie’s group has been demanding the secession of the Volta Region and parts of the Northern, North East, and Upper East Regions from Ghana to become the Western Togoland state.

It claimed that Western Togoland stretches from Kulungugu in the Upper East Region to Keta in the Southern coast.

The group argues that the Volta Region lacks the needed development, members further “claim that residents of the Western Togoland voted to become a union with the Gold Coast (now Ghana) but the union had not been established up till now and that Ghana opted to be a unitary state under the plebiscite in 1956 [referendum] to be in union with a common constitution with the Western Togoland and the Gold Coast but there had been no unionized constitution up to date.”