Don’t politicise Western Togoland rebels’ attacks, says Aning

Kwesi Aning, a prominent figure in thinking on defence, says Ghana’s security forces will welcome an end to the politicking around Friday’s events

A leading security expert, Kwesi Aning, has called on political parties to desist from politicising the disturbances by Western Togoland rebels in parts of the Volta Region.

“I think the security forces will be very happy when our political leaders stop the partisanship with respect to issues that we can classify as threatening our existence,” he said.

“So that the message will be clear, consistent, supportive, so that as a nation there is consistency and agreement that this is how we deal with issues that threaten our existence.”

Professor Aning, director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peackeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), was speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile after the arrests of 31 people linked to Friday’s disturbances by rebels in parts of the Volta and Eastern Regions.

Order to leave “homeland”

The group is reported to have launched attacks on the Aveyime and Mepe police stations in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region and in Sogakope, as well as in Asutuare and Atimpoku in the neighbouring Eastern Region.

The secessionists 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. Reports suggest that they are holding a number of police officers hostage.

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

However, Professor Aning wants the government to desist from using an exclusively military approach as the means of resolving the impasse between the central government and the breakaway group.

Invite to negotiations?

He described the attack by the Western Togoland rebels as the most successful secessionist attack in West Africa, prompting a call for the government to consider entering negotiations with the group to get a better understanding of their concerns.

“In the negotiation process, you will weigh what you would seek to achieve and face the law and punish people,” he said.

“The history of secessionism and the way that these issues has been resolved does not include that.

“In Liberia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali and Sierra Leone, talking to those who have been excluded and have lifted arms against the state does not show weakness by the state.”

Fred Dzakpata

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