Armed separatist activists reportedly attacked a bus terminal in the Volta region capital Ho on the night of Monday, September 28, setting fire to one vehicle and assaulting members of staff. An unknown number of gunmen are reported to have stormed the State Transport Company (STC) terminal in the city center after nightfall, firing rounds in the air and assaulting several drivers. At least one bus was subsequently set alight and another damaged, while a security guard was reportedly beaten and held at gunpoint.
The motive behind the attack is currently unclear and no group has yet claimed responsibility, but local officials suggested that activists linked to the separatist Western Togoland Restoration Front (WTRF) were involved in the incident.
A heightened security presence has been reported around the STC terminal and throughout Ho on Tuesday, September 29, and localized disruptions are likely in the area in the near term.
Separatist groups have been campaigning since the 1970s for an independent Western Togoland state in the Volta region on Ghana's border with Togo. Whilst the movement has struggled to gain significant influence, the arrest of WTRF separatist leaders on treason charges in May 2019 brought a resurgence in separatist sentiment in the region, with the group making a declaration of independence in November.
Monday's attack came three days after armed men, allegedly from the WTRF's militant Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) wing, attacked two police stations in the Volta region towns of Aveyime and Mepe, kidnapping three officers, including a district commissioner, and raiding the station armories. Activists subsequently attempted to block roads leading into the region, with at least 31 being arrested by security forces responding to the low-level uprising.
Tensions in the Volta region are believed to have been increasing in recent weeks, with Western Togoland posters and road signs being surreptitiously erected on roads leading into the North Tongu District. On Thursday, September 24, the WTRF released footage of several hundred uniformed supporters allegedly attending graduation ceremonies from training camps in the region.
Those in the Volta region are advised to monitor developments, avoid all demonstrations and political gatherings, and heed any directives issued by local authorities and their home government. Travelers should be aware of the increased political tensions in the region and avoid discussing politically sensitive topics in public or on social media.
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