Brutal military attack on Western Togoland secessionists can escalate matters – Kwesi Aning

The Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) says government must deal amicably with the Western Togoland secessionists.

Professor Kwesi Aning said brutal military action against the group is not the best way to resolve the matter as it may trigger further negative reactions from the group.

“[The state] must find ways of coming around to talk [with the group], identify the critical issues, and find how we negotiate around them.

“If the narratives that we are hearing from them, and that is, if we do a discourse analysis of what their issues are, this will allow the state to come round by using its negotiators to move towards each other,” he said on Newsfile.

This comes after about 30 persons believed to be members of a secessionist group fighting for the independence of the Volta Region were arrested.

The group wants the Volta Region to be an autonomous country known as Western Togoland.

The arrest was possible as a result of the efforts of a joint Police-Miltary team deployed to ensure the protection of lives and property at Juapong following the blockage of Juapong and Kpong roads.

Prior to their arrest, members of the group in the early hours of Friday blocked major entries into the Volta Region. Commuters of the route were stranded as a result.

The group also attacked Police stations in Aveyime and Mepe leaving one officer injured. 

One person was shot dead in connection to the matter.

The move, however, has highly been condemned by Ghanaians who have called on security agencies and government to act immediately and deal with  persons involved in order to prevent matters from escalating.

But speaking on Newsfile Saturday, Professor Aning said there is a need for peaceful resolutions on the matter.

According to him, how the matter is dealt with now can either deescalate or escalate matters.

He said the concerns raised by the group that the said region has been neglected [in terms of development], thus, the move, may be genuine and if so, government must take steps towards addressing these concerns rather than fighting back.

Meanwhile, representatives of the two major political parties who also sat on the Newsfile panel Saturday disagreed with the professor.

Both Sammy Gyamfi – who represented the NDC -and OB Amoah – who represented the NPP – agreed that, if indeed underdevelopment was the reason for their action, there were better means the group could have to resorted to in drawing the government’s attention for negotiations to take place.

The Communications Officer for the NDC added that, there are people in other parts of the country who equally have the right to, as well as a good reason to accuse government of neglecting them in terms of development, yet, such persons have not resorted to setting up secessionist groups.

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