Arrest “financiers’’ of Western Togoland rebels now, says security expert

Security expert Adib Saani has urged the government to improve its intelligence to go after alleged financiers of the Western Togoland Group

Adib Saani, the director of the Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peacebuilding, says the government must crack the whip by arresting politicians and prominent individuals alleged to be connected with financing the Western Togoland rebels.

The security expert believes this will send a strong signal to the financiers and those behind the activities of the rebels to put a halt to the practice.

“We need to go beyond the low-level arrest. I have seen in all, about 31 persons arrested. But you see, [we must] go after the high-value targets, we know which people and politicians are involved. The top people, if we don’t go after them we won’t really succeed in sending across the signal,’’ he said.

“We need to go after where they get the inflows, monies [and] where they get the weapons because now they are armed. We cannot run away from it.”

Improve intelligence

Adib Saani was speaking with Kojo Mensah on The Asaase Breakfast Show following the arrest of 31 persons linked to last week’s disturbances by a breakaway faction of the Western Togoland Group.

He says despite the effort of bringing the situation under control, the government must seriously improve its intelligence in the wake of the development.

“I think a lot more work needs to be done; there were some blips, intelligence is not always right, even when you have intelligence and you don’t apply it within a certain time and space, it defeats the purpose. So going forward, I think [we must] improve intelligence through investment and training.”

The chairman of the parliamentary select committee on defence and security, Seth Kwame Acheampong, who also spoke on the programme minutes later said the action of the group is criminal.

“At first we felt maybe it was just a disgruntled group who felt they were being marginalised. However, now it is escalating and evidence demonstrates that their engagement is not only people within, there are people [outside] from intelligence gathered [about] their engagement.”

Secessionists’ attacks

The group on Friday (25 September), launched attacks on the Aveyime and Mepe police stations of the North Tongu District in the Volta Region in Sogakope, as well as in Asutuare and Atimpoku in the neighbouring Eastern Region.

The secessionists had ordered all members of the security services to leave the “homeland” within 24 hours and not attempt to take any arms or ammunition away with them. Report suggests they are also holding a number of police officer’s hostage.

The armed group also mounted roadblocks amid the firing of gunshots, prompting joint police and military action.

Fred Dzakpata

* Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

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