Tensions have been growing in Ghana since late September, when militants of the Western Togoland Restoration Front erected armed roadblocks on arteries into the country’s eastern Volta region, and declared the secession of the territory as the independent state of Western Togoland. Security forces shortly cleared the roadblocks. But some 60 members of the Homeland Study Group, a nonviolent civil organization calling for independence for Western Togoland, were immediately arrested in sweeps. They were later ordered released by a judge, but one of the detained reportedly died in police custody.
Togoland, a German colony since 1884, was divided between the UK and France as trust territories after World War I. British Togoland was on the west, adjacent to the British colony of Gold Coast (today Ghana); French Togoland was on the east, adjacent to the French colony of Dahomey (today Benin). As independence for Ghana was being negotiated, a plebiscite was held under UN supervision, in which British Togoland voted for union with Ghana. French Togoland, in turn, became the contemporary state of Togo. Independence advocates today reject the plebiscite as illegitimate because Togoland, the homeland of the Ewe people, was not able to vote as a whole for independence.
The new secession movement was set off by the central government’s plan, carried out last year, to break up Volta region, creating Oti region in the north, and diluting Ewe power. (DW, UNPO, UNPO, UNPO, Global Security, Graphic Online, Accra, Ghana Web, Modern Ghana, Ghanian Times, via AllAfrica)
Photo: ISS Africa