Ghana’s security forces killed one member of a separatist group in a shootout after they attacked police stations in the east of the country, the police and army said late Friday.
Officials said members of the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) — which wants to establish a new nation in eastern Ghana — launched assaults on two police stations and blocked roads to the Volta region at dawn on Friday. “In response to these unlawful acts, a joint Military-Police Team, in conjunction with other security agencies deployed to the affected areas and succeeded in apprehending 31 members of the Group,” a joint statement from the army and police said.
“Fire exchanges between the Group and the Security Agencies led to the death of one member of the HSGF and injury to three others.” The statement said a local police commander was also wounded. It said security forces were in control of the situation.
Separatists began campaigning in the 1970s for a breakaway nation of “Western Togoland” in the region they say has a unique history and culture. Last November the group nominally declared independence for the territory. That move followed a crackdown by the authorities last May that saw some of the group’s leaders arrested.
They were later released after treason charges were dropped. Claims for independence have their roots in the region’s complex colonial history. During the so-called “Scramble for Africa” in the 19th century, Britain seized much of what is today Ghana, while Germany grabbed neighbouring Togo.
After Germany’s defeat in World War I, the land was split between British Togoland and French Togoland. When Britain left its empire in Africa, British Togoland became part of eastern Ghana in 1956. Ghana — viewed as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies — is gearing up for presidential elections in December. The Volta region is a stronghold of main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, which is looking to unseat incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo.