Col Aboagye (rtd) explains why govt must engage Western Togoland separatists

Western Togoland Flag.jpeg The HSGF is agitating for an independent Western Togoland

Tue, 29 Sep 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Security expert, Col Festus Aboagye (rtd), has said Ghana risks more insecurity from the activities of the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) if it continues to ignore them.

The teaching consultant at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) told GhanaWeb on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, that history does not support instances where states have ignored insurgents or any armed group making demands.

“To say that we are not going to engage with them because it will legitimise them, history doesn’t support that,” he said.

Engage them

The HSGF, which is agitating for an independent Western Togoland (an area that covers the entire Volta and Oti regions) on Friday, September 25, 2020, recently attacked a police station in Juapong, a town in North Tongu District of the Volta Region.

They seized a Police Commander and paraded the streets with police patrol vehicles, but calm was restored after security forces stormed the area.

Calls by some for government to engage them have been shot down by a section of the public on grounds that such an engagement will only seek to legitimise the group’s actions.

However, Col (rtd) Aboagye said a similar decision by some governments in West Africa to ignore armed agitators that sprang up in their countries have resulted in dire consequences for those countries.

“I have cited the example of Charles Taylor [Liberian former military leader and President]. The ECOWAS’ strategy from 1990 onwards was that we were not going to talk to him….it took up to 1995 before ECOWAS realised that strategy was not working; because ECOMOG could just not defeat Charles Taylor on the battlefield. So, they changed the strategy.

“That resolution was not a perfect one but at least it ended the mayhem until 2003 when time caught up with him,” he said.

Citing a more recent example, the respected security analyst said the Cameroon government is currently facing a tough time with an insurgency in Ambazonia because it failed to admit early enough that the insurgents in the region needed to be engaged.

“I am of the view that if we will start behaving like Cameroon – ‘we will not talk with them’ – we will end up where Ambazonia is because that was the strategy of Cameroon. Cameroon called the agitators ‘criminals’ but now they have a full-grown insurgency,” he stressed.

Fighting between the military in Cameroon and English-speaking separatists of Ambazonia has killed more than 3,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

Recent strike

On Monday, September 28, 2020, some persons suspected to be members of a secessionist group attacked a State Transport Company bus terminal in the Volta Regional Capital, Ho, and burnt one of its buses.

According to reports, the incident occurred at midnight on Monday and involved the members of the group firing gunshots before proceeding to beat up the drivers.

There is currently a heavy security presence at the scene.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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