The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

  • Sir, before we go back to the messages brought from Charles Taylor by Ibrahim Bah, I want to take you back for a moment to your time with the NPFL. Sir, when you were with the NPFL did you ever hear the name Zig Zag?

  • What is the name Zig Zag - excuse me. What did you hear about this person named Zig Zag?

  • Well, the Zig Zag that I know was a person, but it was a name that the person took and he was one of the men - he was one of the operations men for Mr Taylor.

  • When you say "operations men", what do you mean?

  • Well, when I say operation it means sometimes they used to send a man to go to the front line, or sometimes to undertake to execute people.

  • Did Zig Zag have a reputation among other members of the NPFL?

  • That is a very sweeping question that is in the same category as the questions that this Trial Chamber has ruled inappropriate and has to be - really there has to be more foundation before we can get to that stage.

  • Mr Koumjian, you have heard the objection.

  • Yes. My response is that it is a specific question: What is his reputation? I can be more specific, in which case I would expect an objection for leading.

  • Yes, you cannot lead and it is a sweeping statement. You are asking what was his reputation --

  • -- among the other members of the NPFL. We do not know if this witness has discussed his reputation, or how he would assess such a broad organisation.

  • I understand that. Thank you:

  • Mr Witness, did you hear other members of the NPFL talk about Zig Zag?

  • Yes, they used to talk about Zig Zag.

  • And what was his reputation among the other members of the NPFL?

  • Well, people used to be afraid of him because he used to undertake some killings that made him fearful to people, so people used to be afraid of him.

  • Thank you. Thank you, your Honours. Sir, going back to the meetings you mentioned yesterday afternoon with Ibrahim Bah, you said that there were two meetings. Where did the first meeting take place?

  • The first meeting took place at Hill Station where Sam Bockarie was residing. That is his house. That was where the first meeting took place and the meeting took place amongst us the RUF authorities and Ibrahim Bah.

  • Unless I misheard, I believe the witness said Hill Station:

  • Is that correct, Mr Witness?

  • I heard Hill Station.

  • Yes, Hill Station.

  • H-I-L-L, capitalised:

  • Sir, you said it was Sam Bockarie's house. Was Sam Bockarie present?

  • No, Sam Bockarie was not present, but it was in that house that Sam Bockarie resided at the time we went to Freetown.

  • At the time you had this meeting, to your knowledge was Sam Bockarie in Freetown?

  • He was not in Freetown. He was in Kenema.

  • Who was present at this first meeting at Bockarie's house with Bah?

  • Issa Sesay was there, Morris Kallon, CO Nya, who is also called Foday K Lansana, Gibril Massaquoi and then they sent for me, I was also present, and some other people.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. What happened at the meeting?

  • During that meeting Mr Bah came to talk to us, the RUF, for us to join hands with the AFRC people whom had called on us for us to work together with them. He said it was that message that he brought from Mr Taylor for us.

  • What was the reaction, if any, from the RUF members present?

  • Well, we did not do anything because we knew Ibrahim Bah. He had been with us before and we knew him to be a liaison officer who had been with the RUF, so when we saw him, and when he brought the message, we were happy and we received the message according to how he brought it.

  • Mr Witness, this message from Mr Taylor that you should work - the RUF should work with the AFRC, did the members of the RUF discuss that, or was there any reaction given to General Bah about whether they accepted that?

  • Well, we accepted it because it was not that we went to have another meeting because of the message that he brought. We accepted it. We accepted that the message he brought, we received it and then we took him, the Bah - we took him, the Bah, to JPK's place, that is Johnny Paul Koroma, so that he will also get to know the message that Ibrahim Bah brought.

  • Where was Johnny Paul Koroma's place that you took Mr Bah to?

  • Johnny Paul Koroma's house was at Spur Road.

  • When you got to Johnny Paul Koroma's house who was present there?

  • Johnny Paul Koroma, he sent to call the other officers. Those were the SLA officers. They called SO Williams, they called Gullit, Bazzy. They called on all the other authorities who belonged to the AFRC and they were also present there.

  • What was said at this meeting at JPK's house?

  • JPK and all of us who were there together with Ibrahim Bah, we went to introduce the man to him to tell him that, "This man was the man who has been with us and that it is the Pa who sent him for him to come and talk to all of us." When I say the Pa, that is Mr Taylor. "So, he brought a message that we should all work hand in hand and that is the reason why Mr Taylor sent him here. So, we brought him so that you will also see him and then he will explain to you the reason why he was sent."

  • When Mr Bah delivered this message, what was the reaction of those present?

  • Well, everybody was happy for the message. We all accepted it and we all agreed with him.

  • Did Johnny Paul Koroma say anything?

  • Johnny Paul Koroma himself received the message and he was happy too for the reason being that for the message for which Mr Taylor had sent the man.

  • You say that the reaction was that those present were happy. Can you explain why they were happy?

  • Well, they were happy because we also needed help and the reason why they also accepted it was because that man will be able to help us to get ammunition because we were fighting and the AFRC also never had enough ammunition that they would use to continue the war.

  • Was this something that was stated at the meeting: That there was a need for ammunition?

  • Yes, we discussed that one. In fact, that was our main topic that we had in mind.

  • How long, to your knowledge, did Ibrahim Bah stay in Freetown on that occasion?

  • Well, after that day, the next morning I didn't see him again. He went.

  • At the meeting when Bah delivered this message from Taylor, was there any response given to Bah to take back?

  • Yes, we told Bah that we have agreed and the thing that he explained to us, that he brought from Mr Taylor, we all accepted it, that we were ready to work with Johnny Paul Koroma, and we ensured that we submitted ourselves to Johnny Paul and we worked hand in hand with him. But after that Johnny Paul and Ibrahim Bah had a closed door meeting, but that was not disclosed to us, whatever they discussed in that meeting.

  • Thank you. Mr Witness, you indicated that for a time you were a member of what you referred to as the Supreme Council and you gave us the names of some others you recall present. Can you tell us --

  • Mr Koumjian, I don't recall the witness referring to a Supreme Council. I may be mistaken, but he referred to a council.

  • I think Justice Sebutinde is right. He did refer to a council, but my recollection is that is as far as it went.

  • I am corrected by my neighbour, my learned colleague, that yesterday afternoon he did refer to a Supreme Council. I apologise.

  • I am not arguing about it, but I just think it came up originally as "council".

  • I think he might have been then referred to Supreme Council. I don't know. In any event, let us press on.

  • Sir, these meetings you talked about of the Supreme Council, where did they take place?

  • At first it used to take place at Johnny Paul's residence. That was where the Supreme Council meeting used to take place. Sometimes we will go to Cockerill, which was the military headquarters. Sometimes we will go to State House. Those were the places we used to have those meetings, but we preferred that we had the meetings at Johnny Paul's place, but in case of the other places, at any time we wanted to go there for the meeting the enemies will know about it and then the Alpha Jets will not allow us to sit in the places where we wanted to go and undertake the meeting.

  • Thank you. I think we all understand, but just so the record is clear, when you say the Alpha Jets would not allow you to sit in the meetings, what do you mean?

  • Because the Alpha Jets used to raid our positions and I will recall at one time when we went for a meeting at Cockerill, when the meeting was announced, and even before we could reach there, the Alpha Jets went and bombarded the place before we could even reach the place.

  • Mr Witness, these Alpha Jets were part of what force?

  • It belonged to the ECOMOG.

  • In the meetings that you had of the Supreme Council, that you attended, what was discussed?

  • The things that we used to discuss were about ammunition and the weapons that we needed to fight the war because we were fighting against the ECOMOG and the Kamajors, so the things we discussed in the Supreme Council were mostly about the materials.

  • Can you tell us if any possible plans, or strategies, were discussed of how to get these fighting materials?

  • Yes, we used to discuss them at the time when we received the message from Ibrahim Bah, the message he brought from Mr Taylor, and when we had all accepted and Johnny Paul Koroma, who was the Head of State at that time, he had started having communications with Mr Taylor and he used to tell us that he had a plan to travel to Liberia. So, those were the things we used to discuss and those were the plans that we had.

  • Mr Witness, you said that Johnny Paul Koroma was having communications with Charles Taylor. How do you know that?

  • Johnny Paul Koroma used to say them when we had meetings. That was where I came to know.

  • Excuse me. Mr Interpreter, what do you mean "used to say them"? What do you mean by that, Mr Interpreter?

  • He said he used to talk about them.

  • When I said "them", it was all of us who were in the meeting. That is the Supreme Council meeting. Those of us who were there, he used to tell us. That is what I mean.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. I think you clarified that. Can you tell us what your own relationship with Johnny Paul Koroma was?

  • Well, the relationship that I had with Johnny Paul Koroma was that I was very close to Johnny Paul Koroma because I was the person who used to take information from the front line and would bring it to him, and the reports that I used to bring, they were confirmed reports. So, he opened his door to me at any hour, any minute, even if it was at night. I will go to his place, I will sit with him and then we will discuss.

  • Did Johnny Paul Koroma have bodyguards at this time in Freetown in 1997?

  • Yes, he had bodyguards.

  • Who were the bodyguards of Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • They were mixed. We had the RUF and we had the SLAs and those were the ones that formed the bodyguard unit who were with Johnny Paul.

  • When you had your own private discussions with Johnny Paul Koroma, did you discuss the general situation? What did you discuss with Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • Well, I used to talk with Johnny Paul Koroma because he had now known me, I was an NPFL man and he used to tell me that it was now good that he was now in contact with the Pa, and that is Mr Taylor, and that he had plans for him to go there and see him. I also used to tell him that, "It will be nice that you will go there and see him, because when the two of you meet you will be able to sit down and discuss something that will make things better for us all." So, those are some of the things that I used to discuss with Johnny Paul.

  • Did Johnny Paul Koroma ever discuss with you any - excuse me. Let me try another question without making it leading. When you suggested that it would be good for Johnny Paul Koroma to sit down and discuss with Charles Taylor, what did Johnny Paul Koroma say?

  • He also said yes, that is a good thing, and the way he said he has been discussing with his brother, he believed that if they see face to face and sit together and discuss, they will discuss more.

  • Now, earlier you talked about plans discussed at the Supreme Council to obtain weapons and ammunition. Did you have any discussions, or plans, of how this would be paid for?

  • What would be paid for?

  • The weapons and ammunition.

  • Yes, because we discussed about the things that we were to take along and those were diamonds. Those were the things that we were going to take along to pay for those items.

  • Were economic matters, budget, money, ever discussed in the Supreme Council meetings?

  • The money issues that we used to discuss were that, in fact, the AFRC at that time never had any budget that we met, but Johnny Paul organised that he sent some people to Kono who were mining for the organisation and mining was going on there, so we used to get those diamonds and normally when we had the meetings he will show us the ones that they had already brought before he would keep them, and those were the things that we planned that the Pa, that is Johnny Paul Koroma, should take to the big Pa, that is Mr Taylor, so that we will get those things that we wanted and those were the ammunition and the arms.

  • Mr Witness, you said - you talked about that Johnny Paul Koroma would "take to the big Pa". What would he take to the big Pa? What was the plan?

  • I have said the diamonds that we collected. Those are the things I am talking about.

  • You said that Johnny Paul Koroma sent some people to organise mining in Kono. Do you recall the names of anyone that he sent?

  • It was Gullit who was in Kono and he was in charge of the mining, the mining that Johnny Paul had organised.

  • Mr Witness, I see that in my question I used the word "big Pa" when I asked - you said that Johnny Paul Koroma would "take to the big Pa". Do you understand what I meant by "big Pa"? I was quoting you earlier.

  • The big Pa is Mr Taylor. That was what I said. I said when I talked about the big Pa, because I said - I referred to Johnny Paul as "Pa". Now, when I said "big Pa", I was referring to Mr Taylor and he was the big one.

  • Thank you. Now, at the time that Johnny Paul organised the mining and you said he sent Gullit, to your knowledge was RUF engaged in mining of diamonds?

  • Yes, RUF also used to mine for diamonds and the AFRC men were also doing mining.

  • Do you know some of the locations where RUF commanders were responsible for the mining?

  • RUF was doing mining in Kono and Tongo.

  • When you say Kono, is that one site, or is that more than one site?

  • Well, Kono, for people who know Kono, Kono Town is a big town and the people who used to mine were in different - were at different locations.

  • You indicated that Johnny Paul Koroma showed some diamonds at these meetings. Can you describe what happened?

  • Yes, the diamonds - when he had organised the mining in Kono, the diamonds that they brought, he will display the diamonds in the meeting, the diamonds that he brought. He will show them to us. They will be in small containers and he will show them to us and sometimes he will put them on piece of papers and they will count the pieces of diamonds before he will put them in a container and then he will keep them. That was how he used to do it.

  • Can you describe the containers that you saw the diamonds kept in by Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • Well, they were in small jars. You know there are some bottles that are gem bottles. There are some bottles that are jam bottles. Those were the bottles in which he used to place them. The size is like the glass that is in front of me here.

  • Perhaps just a clarification from the interpreter, on line 11 I believe the word was "jam bottles". The LiveNote has "gem" and then it has "jam".

  • That is the way I heard it, the two different words.

  • I am wondering if that came from the witness, or the interpreter. I am just asking for clarification from the interpreter. Perhaps your Honours could ask if the witness used the word "gem bottles", or only "jam bottles".

  • Mr Interpreter, there are two words shown with the bottles. Was one a "gem bottle" and one a "jam bottle", or were the --

  • Your Honours, initially when the witness called the word I heard it to be "gem" and at the second time I heard it to be "jam".

  • So the record is correct. Just for purposes of record I note the witness has indicated the glass in front of him which I think is approximately 250 millilitre size it looks.

  • I have no idea of millilitres, but I am quite willing to accept Madam President's description.

  • It is a small whiskey glass.

  • I am not a whiskey drinker.

  • For the record, it is not millimetres, it is millilitres, if that can be corrected.

  • Mr Witness, how long were you in Freetown?

  • Well, I spent some time in Freetown, until the time of the intervention when we were flushed out. I was always in Freetown the time we joined the AFRC.

  • During that period of time, from the coup, when you came to Freetown, until you were pushed out, can you tell us what relations were like between the AFRC and RUF?

  • Well, the relationship at that time was nice. We were all working together well and in the town we were all doing things together and we fought together and we used the arms together. They also used to give us ammunition that we used to go to the front line at any time we were going to fight the ECOMOG. So, if you are asking for the relationship, the relationship between us was nice. We never had any problem at all.

  • When you say, "They used to give us ammunition to go to the front line", who gave ammunition to who? Please use the names.

  • Well, it was Johnny Paul Koroma who was the Head of State and he was the leader. He was the one who gave us the ammunition. He used to supply us ammunition for us to go to the front line.

  • When you say "us", who do you mean?

  • Those of us who were the fighters, like the RUF, because we were now mixed up. The SLA and the RUF, we all used to join hands together to go and fight. We were faced with the same target so we were mixed. It was not that RUF was in a separate place and the SLA in a separate place. That was not how it was at that time. We were all together and fighting together.

  • You indicated that you were a front line commander. Did you receive ammunition from Johnny Paul Koroma during that time in Freetown?

  • Yes, I received it at first, but later I never used to receive ammunition again.

  • When you were a front line commander in Freetown, were the troops under your command - from what factions, from what former organisations did they come from?

  • We had STF. These were people who were in the national army in Liberia, they were those soldiers, but because of the war they ran away and crossed over into Sierra Leone, so they joined the government troops, that is the SLAs. They joined them, so they were with them up until the time of the coup when they called on the RUF. So, we met those people with the AFRC, and that is the SLAs, so we all joined hands together and we were fighting.

  • Okay, thank you. I want to ask you about the troops you yourself were commanding in fighting during that period of time. Were your own troops from the SLA, STF and RUF, or were they of - from what factions were they?

  • Well, my own fighters - I had some SLAs who used to fight together with my own men, like the RUF with whom I was together, and even some STF men who I have just spoken about. They were also with me and we were all fighting.

  • During that time that you were in Freetown, who were you fighting against?

  • We were fighting against the ECOMOG and the Kamajors.

  • At the time of the AFRC coup, did all of the SLAs join with the RUF?

  • Not all the SLAs joined the AFRC, but at the time we were in town they all pretended as if they were with the AFRC. That was how they used to do, but some were there who were spies, who used to spy on our information and any plans that we had they would reveal them to the people to whom they were loyal. What I mean is the then President Kabbah.

  • Mr Witness, I want to go back to ammunition. During the time that you were in Freetown, do you know if any significant ammunition shipments were received?

  • Yes, we received a small amount of ammunition that came before the intervention.

  • What shipments do you recall?

  • Well, the one that came it was at Magburaka that they brought them, but even before they brought them Johnny Paul had told us that his brother, who is Mr Taylor, was going to send something for us and that was small amount of ammunition and he said we should go and receive them at Magburaka, because at Magburaka we had an airstrip. So, that was where we went and at that time they appointed Fonte Kanu, who was an SLA. He led us to go and receive the ammunition. Mike Lamin also went. I also went. But whilst we were there, the aeroplane that brought the things, when it alighted it was like the ECOMOG had intercepted the movement so the Alpha Jet came around and bombarded the place, but when it came, even before it could reach there, we had already collected the items even before the Alpha Jet got there to bombard the place.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. I have several questions to ask you about what you just told us, but first a spelling, Fonte Kanu, F-O-N-T-E K-A-N-U. You said, Mr Witness, that, "Johnny Paul told us that his brother, Mr Taylor, was going to send something for us." Did Johnny Paul Koroma indicate how he knew that?

  • I have told you that Johnny Paul and Mr Taylor, they were now having communications, so he received that through communication before he called us and explained to us that we should go to Magburaka and receive those things.

  • When you say that Johnny Paul and Mr Taylor were having communications, do you know how they were having communications?

  • Yes, I know how they used to have communication because Johnny Paul had communication set, which was a Yaesu radio that we used to use in the field. He also had one at his house and also we had communication people who were in Liberia, who were RUF members. They were there in Liberia. We had a woman there who was called Memuna. We had another operator who was also there, who was called Tollo, and we had another who was called Ebony. So, those people were based in Liberia. They were there, so they were the operators who were in Liberia who were doing the communication from Freetown to Liberia, so that was how the communication business went on. Even for them to open frequencies that Johnny Paul would talk on, they were the ones who used to show that to Johnny Paul and the operator that Johnny Paul had, he also used to follow the instruction that he received from those ones in Liberia, so that was how the communication was when Mr Taylor and Johnny Paul Koroma used to talk. Johnny Paul also used to tell us, at the time we had meetings, that he also - that he always speak with his brother and I had already told you that we had plans that Johnny Paul himself should go and see Mr Taylor, so that communication was there.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. First let me ask you, you said, "Johnny Paul would tell us that he talked to his brother", just so the record is clear, who do you mean by Johnny Paul's brother?

  • Well, I will call the name again. Maybe you did not get it clear. I said he used to tell us that his brother was Mr Taylor because he was also considering Mr Taylor as his own elder brother. So, he took Foday Sankoh's footstep, so he was also calling Mr Taylor his brother.

  • Some spellings, your Honour. Memuna, M-E-M-U-N-A. Tollo, T-O-L-L-O:

  • You said that you yourself were sent to Magburaka; is that correct?

  • Yes, I went to Magburaka with Fonte Kanu and Mike Lamin, together with other people.

  • You described something being delivered. Can you tell us what you remember as to what was actually unloaded from that plane?

  • They brought two AA guns and those were anti-aircraft guns, two of them. They brought some ammunition, the ammunition for the AA gun, and they brought some GMG rounds. Those were the things that they brought, but although we also received them, we also expected to receive AK rounds. Although we had had AK rounds before, but we needed more.

  • Your Honours, the witness is going too fast.

  • Mr Witness, you are going fast for the interpreter, so if you can speak more slowly so the interpreter can keep up with you, please. Please continue.

  • Had you finished your answer? The last thing we understood you to say was you had expected AK rounds, "Although we had AK rounds before, we needed more." Is there anything else you wanted to add?

  • Well, I said the AK rounds that we had was small in quantity, so we expected more AK rounds. Although the one that came, we accepted it, but we will have been happier if more AK rounds came because that was what we expected.

  • Now, you indicated that you received GMG rounds. Can you tell us again what GMG rounds were for?

  • The GMG rounds is - we use it in a gun that has something like a belt. That is where we fix the ammunition before we fix it into the gun and it is that belt that that particular gun uses with the ammunition to fight.

  • Did you, the members of the AFRC/RUF, have GMG guns that you could use these rounds in?

  • Yes, we had the guns.

  • You also talked about two anti-aircraft guns with ammunition. Can you describe what the anti-aircraft guns looked like?

  • Well, the anti-aircraft gun is a gun. It has a stand that you can put on the ground. Sometimes it can be mounted on a van and sometimes when we wanted to take it to the front to fight we will mount it on top of a vehicle and it has a long barrel that has the magazine by the side. It also uses a belt and it is in the belt that you will load the ammunition, and it has a box that has the magazines that you put it by the side of the barrel.

  • These anti-aircraft guns, could they be used for other purposes besides shooting at aircraft?

  • Yes. We shot human beings with it, not just aircraft. It was to kill human beings.

  • The anti-aircraft gun rounds, can you describe them?

  • It is something that is big. It is longer and bigger than the AK rounds and it is even bigger than the GMG rounds, but it is an explosive.

  • Do you know whether this shipment was paid for by the AFRC/RUF?

  • Well, I have told you here that Johnny Paul and Ibrahim Bah had a closed door meeting, so whatever they discussed in that meeting they did not tell us and Johnny Paul himself did not tell us that he sent something to be taken along, only that he told us that it was an instruction that he received from his brother when they were discussing and he said we should go and receive those items.

  • Thank you. Mr Witness, during this time between the coup and the intervention when you were in Freetown, can you describe what the civilians', in Freetown, reaction was to this AFRC/RUF regime?

  • Again, the civilians in Freetown is a rather large population for one man to be able to speak on behalf of, unless he was elected democratically by them as some sort of spokesman.

  • Mr Koumjian, you have heard the objection.

  • Yes, your Honour. This witness said he spent a year there. I can't ask him about the reactions of every individual in Freetown.

  • But we have no idea if he did some research, polling, or read the newspapers, or how he would assess the reaction of the general public. He was a member of the military.

  • Yes, and that would be the follow up question as to what he observed. I believe the question - he will probably give us what he observed about the civilians. Let me try to deal with - I will try to --

  • With respect, it still has to be more specific than what he observed of the civilians. You can't ask a witness of this sort what the civilians did, or didn't do.

  • You have to be more specific, Mr Koumjian.

  • Sir, what did the university students in Freetown - how did they react to the coup of the AFRC and RUF?

  • I make the same objection. There has really got to be more foundation before these great groups of people can be gathered together under one umbrella and then this man give evidence as to their attitude.

  • We don't know if he observed them. We don't know if he talked to them. We don't know if there was a poll of them, or how he would reach any conclusions as to their opinion.

  • Okay, I can do it in the order your Honours like, but I believe it will be more leading:

  • Sir, was there a demonstration at the university against the coup?

  • I think that is called a leading question.

  • That is a leading question, Mr Koumjian.

  • Sir, are you aware of the reactions of the civilians of Freetown? Did you observe anything yourself that told you what the reactions of the civilians of Freetown was to the coup and the regime, you yourself?

  • I am sorry, we have not moved away from the first proposition. The wording might be more specific to the witness, but he is still being asked to comment on the civilians of Freetown.

  • Mr Munyard --

  • You want me to talk?

  • Just pause, Mr Witness, please. We have moved away slightly from, "What is your assessment of the reaction of the population?" The question now is, "Are you aware of the - did you observe anything yourself?" He is being asked did he himself observe. He can say yes, he can say no and he can describe what he observed.

  • Yes, I observed something.

  • Can you tell us what you yourself observed as far as a reaction from people in Freetown to the coup?

  • Well, the majority of the civilians were not in favour of the government and even the students, who were the Fourah Bay College students, were not in favour, so they demonstrated against the AFRC and the RUF. Even fighting erupted between us and the students, and during that some of the students died as a result of the gunshots, so actually the civilians and the students were not in favour. Some people only pretended, just like I had said. Some soldiers pretended as though they were with the government, but they were not actually with the AFRC government. So, they used to take information that they revealed and they had a propaganda radio, which was Radio Democracy, which was located at Lungi. They used to talk over that one about all our plans and the things that we did on a daily basis. So, people who were with us were the ones that passed that information and the radio will also say it. So, the students and the majority of the population in Freetown did not favour us at all.

  • Did you ever discuss with other RUF and AFRC commanders how they felt about the civilian attitude towards the junta?

  • You introduced a new word, Mr Koumjian.

  • Sir, what did you call the AFRC/RUF union?

  • We used to refer to it as the People's Army.

  • Were there any other words used for the government that you formed?

  • Well, it was the AFRC and the RUF government combined together.

  • Mr Witness, did you ever discuss with other RUF and AFRC commanders how they felt about the civilian attitude towards this People's Army that you had formed?

  • Well, like I had said, we had started discussing amongst ourselves that the civilians were not favouring us. They did not like us. They were only pretending to us, but deep down in their hearts they did not like us. That was the reason why even the students rioted and demonstrated against us, so those of us, the commanders, used to discuss those things amongst ourselves. So, we also did not have clear and clean hearts for the civilians because of what they were doing to us.

  • When you say you did not have "clear and clean hearts" for the civilians, what do you mean?

  • What I mean is that we did not have that clear hearts for them because they had also formed a group, that is the young men had formed a group that they called the Civil Defence Force and they started mounting checkpoints and manning checkpoints in Freetown. That was what they used to do, you see? So, we also did not have clear hearts for them and we were against them totally.

  • Mr Witness, you discussed the intervention. Can you recall when the intervention took place?

  • The intervention took place in 1998, in February. That was the time the intervention took place.

  • When you used the word intervention, can you tell us what it was? What does it mean?

  • It was the ECOMOG troops and the Kamajors that we were fighting against. Those were the people that advanced on us to flush us out of Freetown. So, other people who were soldiers, who were with the AFRC and who were loyal to President Kabbah at that time, they also joined the ECOMOG group to push us out of Freetown, so that was the intervention that the ECOMOG took against us when they came to push us out of the town.

  • Thank you. Just so we are clear, you said the intervention took place in February 1998. Prior to the intervention was there fighting in Freetown with ECOMOG and these other opponents that you mentioned?

  • We were fighting against the students. We would attack the ECOMOG at Jui. That was where they were. That was where we were attacking them. They were also based at Lungi from where they were shelling into Freetown. They were bombing Freetown. It was at Jui that ECOMOG had their base, so that was where we used to launch attacks on them. They moved from that position and advanced.

  • Jui, your Honours, is J-U-I. Thank you:

  • Now, Mr Witness, I want to go to February 1998, the intervention. Can you tell us what happened to you at that time?

  • Well, at that time when we were fighting against the ECOMOG, at that time we were running short of ammunition. The guns, that is the AKs, which most of the fighters had had, there were no ammunitions for them, so we started running away. We pulled out through the peninsula to go to Tombo. That was where we went. We crossed using the fishing boats that the people had there and went to Four Mile, up to Masiaka. That was what we did.

  • Thank you. Masiaka is spelt correctly. I am sorry to go back, but, Mr Witness, you mentioned the lack of AK rounds and I want to go back for a moment to the Magburaka shipment you told us about. You said that there were two AA guns. What happened to those two guns?

  • Well, one of the guns was with the AFRC people, which they had mounted at JPK's house for the Alpha Jet. One was given to the RUF fighters, which was with Mike Lamin, but he had taken it to Kenema and left it in the care of Mosquito, Sam Bockarie.

  • What about the GMG rounds? How were they divided, if you know?

  • The GMG rounds were used at the time when the fighting was going on, when the people - the men were advancing. That was what we were fighting with. We did not distribute them the way the AA guns were distributed, no.

  • Thank you. Mr Witness, you said, in regards to the intervention in February 1998 "we started running" and "we pulled out", who pulled out? Can you explain who it was?

  • When I say "we" I mean we the fighters for the AFRC/RUF and our Head of State, who was Johnny Paul Koroma. All of us pulled out together with the STF. We pulled out from Freetown and went to go into the bush.

  • When you got to Masiaka did you see anybody you knew?

  • Yes, I saw people whom I knew.

  • Who was in Masiaka?

  • I met SO Williams, who was one of the senior men for the AFRC. I met Issa Sesay there and other fighters.

  • Were these people that had previously been in Freetown?

  • Yes, they were in Freetown.

  • Do you know how they got to Masiaka from Freetown?

  • They passed through the peninsula to Tombo and they used a boat to cross over to Four Mile. They walked and arrived in Masiaka. That is how they travelled. Those of us who stayed behind did the same thing.

  • So at Masiaka were the fleeing soldiers all on foot, or did you have any vehicles?

  • From Masiaka it was not everybody that walked because we were going to Makeni. It was not everybody that walked to Makeni. Some people, who were the soldiers, took vehicles from the civilians who had them in that Masiaka area. So, they were taking away these vehicles from them and used them to go to Makeni.

  • Where did you go?

  • I went to Masiaka and to Makeni. I first went to Lunsar, that was where I was. Then I received a message. They sent a message. Johnny Paul sent a message that I should go to Makeni. Then I went.

  • How did that message reach you?

  • Well, first I got it through radio and I saw people who came with a vehicle to take me along.

  • Did you go to Makeni?

  • Yes, I went to Makeni.

  • What did you see when you got to Makeni?

  • Well, when I arrived in Makeni I saw a lot of commanders who had pulled out from Freetown: Superman, Issa Sesay, Gullit, Five Five. I saw those people there. I saw a lot of fighters there, but Johnny Paul was not in Makeni Town. He was in his village.

  • Did you receive any instructions when you were there in Makeni?

  • Yes, I received an instruction from Mosquito, that is Sam Bockarie, that we should go with Johnny Paul to Kailahun, we should go with him. So, that was the message he sent: That we should not allow anything to happen to him. We should be with him until we take him along.

  • You said Johnny Paul Koroma was in his village. Do you recall the name of the village?

  • Magbonkineh, that is the name of the village. After Makeni and Binkolo then you get to that village.

  • I understand this has been spelt before, but the spelling we gave before, to be consistent, is M-A-G-B-O-N-K-I-N-E-H:

  • How did you learn that Johnny Paul Koroma was in Magbonkineh?

  • Well, Johnny Paul sent someone to tell me that he was in that village and that I should go there, and I went there to see him.

  • How far was the village from Makeni?

  • Well, from Makeni to Binkolo it is about seven miles and Binkolo to that village it could be, let us say, a mile and a half.

  • Binkolo, B-I-N-K-O-L-O:

  • Did you see Johnny Paul Koroma there in his village?

  • Yes, I saw him in the village.

  • Yes, he was there with other securities who were fighters. They were with him, together with his family members, his wife and other people were also there.

  • Did you speak with Johnny Paul Koroma there?

  • Yes, I spoke with him.

  • What did he say?

  • Well, I told him that we should go to Kono and he said yes, that was why he had called me, for us to prepare to leave Makeni, because he wants to go to Kailahun. So, the plan which we had for him to travel to Mr Taylor, it would be good for him to make that trip, so I too said okay. I returned to Makeni to organise ourselves to go.

  • Sir, can you explain that answer? When you say that in order for - because Johnny Paul Koroma had plans to travel to see Mr Taylor, it would be good for him to go to Kailahun; can you explain that?

  • Yes. I had told you that plans were underway at the time we were in Freetown that Johnny Paul was to go to Liberia to Mr Taylor, so that plan was still in place. So, when he goes to Buedu the distance will be shorter because from Buedu to Liberia was not a far distance. It was closer to Liberia. It was close to Liberia, sorry. So, he agreed to go to Kailahun and the plan that we had he still had in mind, so he thought that when he goes to that end that plan could materialise, materialise for him to travel, so that was why he wanted us to move with him from that place to go to Kailahun.

  • Thank you. Did Sam Bockarie, Mosquito, give you any instructions what you were to do?

  • Yes, I have told you that he said I should go with Johnny Paul Koroma, that we should take him along safely, so I and Superman organised ourselves. I told Superman that, "It would be better for you too to be with some security so that you could be with the Pa, that is Johnny Paul. I will lead the convoy from Makeni up to Koidu", because we had heard that in Koidu Town they had had over 5,000 Kamajors there, so people were afraid to leave Kono to go, so that was why most of the AFRC fighters did not follow us to go to Kono. Some people went with SAJ Musa towards that Kabala end, so I led a convoy because I had a twin barrel AA gun, which I was using, and one mortar - 60 millimetre mortar gun. I mounted everything in a truck and I was using the twin barrel and at the same time I was launching the mortar as I was advancing to Koidu, until I reached - after Masingbi I fell into an ambush and I was able to bulldoze my way through the ambush, but during the ambush they returned with Johnny Paul Koroma to Makeni. I didn't know this until I arrived in Koidu. When I checked, Johnny Paul was not in the convoy. They had returned with him to Makeni, so I had to come back to Makeni to take the convoy and lead them back to Kono. But by that time I had deployment in Koidu Town. I left them there before I picked up Johnny Paul with his group and returned to Koidu.

  • Did you then arrive in Koidu Town with Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • Yes, I reached Koidu Town with Johnny Paul Koroma and his family members.

  • Did Johnny Paul Koroma stay there?

  • He spent some few time there when the BBC picked him up and announced it over the air that Johnny Paul Koroma was in Koidu Town, so we too - once he had been located we knew that we would encounter pressure, so we decided to send him to Kailahun straight away, but the route that we were to use for the man to go, which was the Gandorhun route, there were Kamajors there. So, I had to go there to fight to ensure that I cleared that area and stayed there before I could send for Johnny Paul and his group to be taken, together with Issa Sesay, Akim Turay, Leather Boot and some other people, to move to Kailahun.

  • Mr Witness, you mentioned a broadcast on the BBC. How do you know about that?

  • Well, we too did monitor radio to know what was going on, so I heard it over the radio.

  • When you talk about BBC and the radio, are you talking about a commercial radio?

  • I am talking about the commercial radio.

  • Did many people, or few people, have these radios among the RUF during the years of the conflict?

  • Many people had these commercial radios. Even the Yaesu radio that we were using in the communication field, it had a certain area which could be tuned to catch the commercial frequency that you could use to listen to news.

  • Was there any particular news or programmes that you listened to?

  • We will listen to local media, that is the SLBS and Radio Democracy, but we mostly listened to get the news about what the government was saying, whether it was true or whether it was in line with where we were, or the positions where we were. We also listened to the BBC to hear from them the reports that they were giving about us, whether they were saying the right thing. So, that was why we too were listening: To know how things were going on.

  • How often would you listen to the BBC?

  • Well, I did it every day. I did it every day.

  • Did the BBC report regularly on Sierra Leone, or how often would they report on Sierra Leone?

  • Well, they were reporting about Sierra Leone saying they have pushed the rebels out of Freetown, they have killed 500 rebels. All those things, that was what they were saying, because they had one Kamajor reporter who was in Bo. He too was reporting. He will say they have killed 500 rebels, they have captured so and so rebels. That was just how they were reporting. Sometimes some of the news that they report, sometimes the places they say we were, we would already be there but they would say we are not there. You know, such things, you see.

  • Mr Witness, during this time after you were pushed out of Freetown and when you took Johnny Paul Koroma to Koidu Town, was there any organisational changes in the structure of the People's Army?

  • Yes, we had a structure when Johnny Paul Koroma went to Buedu. They set up a structure where RUF would be as commander, we should have the AFRC - one man should be there as deputy. If they had an AFRC man at the other side as commander, RUF should be there as deputy. That was how the command structure was.

  • I didn't get any interpretation.

  • Mine was very light. Mr Interpreter, could you check if you are close enough to the microphone, please.

  • Yes, I am close enough.

  • This structure, Mr Witness, that you talked about, did it apply to any particular units, or to all units?

  • Well, it applied to all the units that I have spoken about because it was the AFRC and RUF, so wherever you had the AFRC you had an RUF deputy. Where you had an RUF commander, you would have an AFRC deputy and vice versa. That was how the structure was.

  • Mr Witness, did you yourself then have an SLA deputy?

  • Yes, I had an SLA deputy at the time that I left Kono and went to Kailahun District. I had an SLA deputy who was Mr Sammy. He was the major.

  • Thank you. In addition to this structure of each commander having a deputy from the other faction, were there any other changes in the command structure?

  • I want you to repeat it for me to understand properly.

  • Was the top command restructured in any way after the intervention?

  • Yes, they made changes. They made promotions at the top. They made Sam Bockarie - he was over all of us the fighters. They had Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon and other commanders like Akim Toure, Leather Boot, Banya, those people they too had their own promotions.

  • You indicated Sam Bockarie was put in charge over all of the fighters. Was there a title to this position?

  • He was the - he was the defence chief of staff for the whole movement.

  • Who was it that appointed Sam Bockarie to that position?

  • It was Johnny Paul who did the restructuring because he said he had spoken to his brother and the plan that he had to travel, he was going to travel, so he wanted to leave the AFRC and the RUF in one accord. So, that was why he has done these promotions, so that he would leave us on the ground before he goes.

  • Thank you. Mr Witness, please explain for the record, when you said Johnny Paul had spoken to his brother, who did you refer to?

  • I am talking about Mr Taylor and I have told you that the way Foday Sankoh was talking - the way he referred to Charles Taylor as his brother, that was the footstep Johnny Paul had taken, so when he was talking about Charles Taylor he will refer to him as his brother.

  • Where were you assigned after you took - sorry. After you took Johnny Paul Koroma to Kono, I am not sure if you have told us, where did he go then? Where did Johnny Paul Koroma go?

  • I told you that. I think I said it, maybe you didn't hear, but I said when he arrived in Kono we took him from there and he went to Kailahun in Buedu. That was where he went, where Mosquito was, but he did not stay at that place. It was at Kangama in that village, that was where he stayed.

  • Do you know how far the village of Kangama is from Buedu?

  • It is not too far away from Buedu. It is seven miles.

  • What was your assignment then after Johnny Paul Koroma had gone to Kailahun?

  • I was at the front line at Sewafe and Superman was our commander for the entire Kono District where we occupied.

  • In the Kono District, under the command of Superman, were there any SLAs?

  • Yes, we had SLAs there. There were many.

  • Can you name some of the SLAs that were with you in Kono?

  • We had Leather Boot, he was there. We had Five Five. Five Five was there.

  • Thank you. How about in Kailahun, do you know if there were any SLAs in Kailahun with Sam Bockarie?

  • Mr Koumjian, just pause. I notice you have been using the word "SLA" in the last sequence of questions, whereas before you used the term "AFRC". Are you using them interchangeably?

  • I am, but thank you, your Honour, I should be consistent, so I will use the term "AFRC".

  • Because I have in mind the fact that there was earlier evidence that there were SLAs still with the Kabbah supporters.

  • The men you mentioned, Leather Boot, Five Five, were they AFRC members, or were they supporters of the Kabbah Government?

  • They were the AFRC people because the SLAs at that time had been divided into two. There were those who were loyal to Kabbah and there were those who were loyal to Johnny Paul, who joined the RUF to go into the bush.

  • Thank you. In Kailahun District were there AFRC loyal army soldiers?

  • Yes. Gullit was there, Akim Toure too was there. You had Eddie Kanneh, he too was there. You had Major Sam, whom I have spoken about, he too was there. You had a lot of AFRC men who were there whose name I can't call now.

  • You also mentioned, I believe, earlier that there was a force that went to the north. Were there forces of the People's Army in the north?

  • Yes, you had RUF people who were in the north with SAJ Musa. They were there.

  • Can you name any of the RUF people that were in the north with SAJ Musa?

  • You had King Perry, Alfred Brown and there were other commanders, other fighters. They too were there.

  • Now, just to clarify, I have used this term before, "the north", when you say "the north", what do you mean? What districts are covered?

  • It is the Koinadugu District.

  • When you yourself were the commander of the northern jungle, where was your headquarters, if you had one?

  • I was in the bush. I was in the bush at that time. Before I joined the AFRC I was in the bush at that time. I was in the Kangari Hills.

  • Where was the SAJ Musa force that you have talked about after the intervention?

  • They were at that Krubola area. That was where they were.

  • Your Honour, I would like to show the witness a document. It has been marked already admitted as P-11.

  • Your Honours, P-11 is a video clip.

  • I am sorry, if I can just have one moment. I will come back to that after lunch when I get myself organised.

  • You are deferring the P-11?

  • Yes, I will do it after lunch, or the next break:

  • Sir, when you were in Kono was there any order given to you and the other commanders there?

  • I want you to repeat it for me to understand.

  • You said you were assigned, under the command of Superman, in the Kono District. What were your orders there?

  • Our order was to go to Kono and we should not let go of Kono.

  • Do you know why the order was to not let go of Kono?

  • Yes, because it was in Kono that we did our mining. It was there that we got our diamonds from.

  • Who gave you the order to hold Kono?

  • It was Sam Bockarie who passed the order for us to hold on to Kono.

  • When you were in Kono, what was your ammunition situation?

  • Well, there was no ammunition, but I sent to Buedu for them to send me some ammunition and Mosquito told me to exercise some patience, so I exercised some patience and he told me that Colonel Jungle had gone to Liberia, to Mr Taylor, to get some ammunition, so when he comes with the ammunition he will send them to me and indeed when they brought the ammunition, he sent some ammunition for me in Kono. He sent ten boxes. He dispatched them to be taken to me, but when the men were coming they fought on the way, so they were not able to get to me with all of them, so I just received half of them.

  • Just to explain, when you say they fought on the way and you only received half, can you explain that a little bit?

  • Yes, when the men were coming - because usually the route that we used to come, people who were coming from that Kailahun end, when they were coming they will cross the Moa River, they will use bush path to come, but they met the Kamajors on the way and they fought against them, so they were able to use some of the ammunition they were bringing along to fight these men. So, they were able to reach me with half of the ammunition.

  • Mr Koumjian, it is not clear from the testimony, when the witness says "he sent ten boxes to me" is he referring to Colonel Jungle, or to Mosquito, or who is he referring to?

  • I am talking about Mosquito who had told me that he would send ammunition for me, but that he had sent - that Colonel Jungle had gone to Mr Taylor to bring ammunition and that when he brought the ammunition Sam Bockarie took ten boxes and dispatched them to me, to be taken to me in Koidu.

  • So, Mr Witness, are you saying that the ten boxes that Bockarie said he was sending you, he told you were from the ammunition received from Colonel Jungle?

  • Yes, that is the ammunition.

  • When you say boxes, what do you mean? Boxes of what?

  • Boxes of AK rounds, which were explosives.

  • Can you describe the box?

  • The box had four corners and in that box you had two sardine tins in there. When I talk about sardine tins, I am talking about the tins that are in the box that I am talking about. One tin is there that contains 35 packets and the other tin contains 35 packets, so that is how they were in the boxes.

  • What was the box made of, what material?

  • The box is a wooden box, but in that box you had the tins that are made of metal. That is where the ammunition packets were.

  • How would you open the metal tins that you spoke of?

  • Well, it had its key there. The key was there and you will open it like the opener that you had to open made tins. It had its own key there to open the metal tin.

  • So you have indicated that each box had two metal tins. What was inside each metal tin? I believe you said 35 packets; is that correct?

  • I said 35 packets are contained in one of those tins and in one packet - in one packet, you have 20 rounds of ammunition in one packet.

  • Mr Witness, you told us that a box contains two pans, that each pan contains 35 packets and that each packet contains 20 rounds. My multiplication indicates that that means each box contains 1,400 rounds. Does that sound about right to you?

  • In Kono was there fighting?

  • Yes, there was fighting going on. It started at Sewafe, up to Koidu.

  • Who was fighting? What were the sides involved?

  • We were still fighting against the ECOMOG troops and the Kamajors and SLA loyalists to Kabbah.

  • Now, at any time did you get called to any meetings while you were in Kono?

  • Yes, I was called to a meeting to go to Buedu, but I was unable to go.

  • Do you know if you were the only one called to the meeting?

  • I was not the only person who was called. They called other commanders, like Superman and other commanders who were in Koidu. They called us. They said the vanguards who were there should also go to that meeting. That was the meeting that was summoned by Sam Bockarie at Buedu.

  • Mr Witness, you used the word "vanguards". Can you explain what that term means?

  • Those who were the vanguards were the people who were trained in Liberia for the Sierra Leone war, those whom I trained.

  • Why were you unable to attend the meeting in Buedu?

  • Because the two of us who were commanders, I will not leave and Superman will not also leave. The two of us cannot leave together, so Superman went and I sent somebody to represent me at the meeting.

  • At that time in the Kono District who controlled Koidu Town?

  • Well, ECOMOG had pushed us out of Koidu Town, so we were not in control of Koidu Town, but we were in the outskirts of Koidu Town.

  • Did you receive any reports about what happened at the meeting in Buedu that you were unable to attend?

  • Yes, I received a report.

  • Which person, or persons, told you about what happened at that meeting?

  • It was Superman who came and met me at Gandorhun where I was. He came with ammunition, a lot of AK rounds, boxes, and he said the meeting that they had was for us to run a mission to capture Koidu, to dislodge ECOMOG from Koidu, so he brought the ammunition. The mission - the name of the mission was to have been Fiti Fata. That was the mission we were to run in Koidu. So, after we had spoken I too received a call from Mosquito in Buedu and I tried to ask him about what Superman had told me and he confirmed what Superman had told me, saying that a small quantity of ammunition had arrived and that Brother Jungle had taken it from Mr Taylor, so that is why he had sent them the ammunition: For us to endeavour to capture Koidu, to dislodge ECOMOG from Koidu. So, he showed me the ammunition and I agreed for us to go on that mission.

  • Thank you. Mr Witness, you told us about this ammunition and the information you received as it came through Colonel Jungle from Liberia. Let me just ask you: From the time of the Abidjan Accord, in 30 November 1996, until the end of the conflict, are you aware of the RUF receiving ammunition from any other country other than Liberia?

  • Yes, we used to receive ammunition from Guinea. We used to buy ammunition from the Guinean soldiers who were at the border. We used to buy ammunition from them, but it was not much. It was just a few. Sometimes we would get three boxes with some grenades that we used to get from them. That was it.

  • What years was that that you received this ammunition from the Guineans? Do you recall?

  • Well, that was at the time that the ULIMO fighting was on, when I told you that ULIMO had blockaded that border. That was in 1993. That was the time that we used to take cocoa, coffee, to the waterside and sell them to the Guineans. We did it like an exchange when we used to buy those things from them.

  • Aside from the ammunition purchased from the Guineans during the time that ULIMO blocked the border, do you know whether ammunition came from any other country to the RUF, other than Liberia?

  • Well, apart from Liberia, during that year I am not sure if any ammunition came from any other place.

  • Thank you. Sir, you talked about this mission having a code name Fiti Fata. Can you tell us what that means, Fiti Fata?

  • Fiti Fata means to do something as if you are senseless. You were doing it as if you were a mad man. You were doing it as if you have lost your senses. You were doing it that you have no feeling that "If I did this, this was the consequence", that this was the consequence that it would have. That was what it was.

  • Did you participate in this Fiti Fata mission?

  • Yes, I took part in it.

  • What were the orders as to how you were to carry out this mission?

  • Well, in that mission we were to ensure that we recaptured Koidu, like I have told you, and we were to kill anybody whom we could lay hands on.

  • Was the Fiti Fata mission successful in taking Kono?

  • No, we did not succeed at all.

  • Mr Koumjian, what would be helpful is to have some time frames for some of these activities.

  • Mr Witness, you have talked about being sent to Kono after the intervention. Can you tell us approximately how long after the intervention it was that you arrived in Kono?

  • The intervention - after we had been dislodged and we went to Koidu, let me say we were in Koidu for a month when the ECOMOG and the other troops dislodged us from Koidu Town.

  • Okay, but my question was how long did it take you to go from Freetown to get to Koidu?

  • I can take it that, because the day - not all of us went together. I want you to note that. All of us that left Freetown did not go together at the same time. To say that we went together, no. Whilst we were fighting, others were retreating and they had already reached Masiaka, but when I reached at Masiaka I told you I left there and went to Lunsar and from Lunsar I got an order to go to Makeni. On that same day I went to Makeni, passed the night there and the following morning we went to Kono. So, I want you to look into my explanation and you should know how many days I spent, but I can say I spent about a few days before we arrived in Kono. We didn't take more than one week.

  • You have indicated that after you arrived in Kono, in Koidu, about a month later you were dislodged by ECOMOG; is that right?

  • Yes, that was when ECOMOG flushed us out of Koidu Town.

  • Now, do you recall the month of Fiti Fata, or do you recall how long after it was that you were flushed out of Koidu Town that the Fiti Fata operation took place?

  • Well, I have told you that when we were dislodged from Koidu Town we were in the outskirts and we had Superman Ground at the Guinea Highway and we had some other people in the Gandorhun area and some other areas, and the month that we ran that mission - I cannot tell you the specific month. If I did that, I will be telling lies to you because I can't remember everything, because my head is not a computer to say that I can store everything in there to be each time I want to know about them I will look into the computer. But when we were pushed out of Koidu Town, it was not too long when we undertook this mission.

  • Thank you. I understand that. Mr Witness, do you recall, first of all, was Fiti Fata the same year that you were pushed out of Freetown, the intervention, or was it a subsequent year?

  • The Fiti Fata happened in that year that we left Freetown. It was in that year that we did the Fiti Fata. It was in 1998.

  • Do you recall if it was rainy season, or dry season when Fiti Fata took place?

  • The Fiti Fata was in the dry season.

  • When you say the dry season, was it before the rainy season, or after the rainy season?

  • We ran the Fiti Fata mission before the inception of the rainy season.

  • After the failure of the Fiti Fata mission to take Koidu Town, were there any subsequent operations?

  • Yes, we had another operation called Operation Spare No Soul.

  • How did you hear about this operation?

  • I heard about the operation when Morris Kallon left Buedu and came for us to undertake this mission. The mission was for one of the towns in the Kono District.

  • Which town was the target of the mission?

  • It was Njaima Nimikoro where we were to carry out the mission.

  • Your Honours, the spelling for Njaima Nimikoro. I see Nimikoro is spelt correctly in the transcript, but Njaima, N-J-A-I-M-A, Njaiama Nimikoro:

  • Did this mission have a name?

  • Yes, I said it was Operation Spare No Soul.

  • Who was the commander for this mission?

  • It was Morris Kallon.

  • Do you know if this mission was successful in taking Njaima Nimikoro?

  • We did not succeed in taking the entire Njaiama Nimikoro. I too, talking here, did not go on that mission, but I sent some of my men who went with a group on that Njaiama Nimikoro mission.

  • You indicated, Mr Witness, that it had the name Spare No Soul. Where did you hear this name? From which person, or persons did you hear the name?

  • The Spare No Soul name came from Buedu. When Morris Kallon came they went over the air and said it. It was Eldred Collins who went over the air and said it over the BBC.

  • Did you hear Eldred Collins on the BBC?

  • Yes, I heard him.

  • What do you recall Eldred Collins saying about this mission?

  • He said the mission which the RUF and the AFRC are going to run was Operation Spare No Soul.

  • Mr Koumjian, I am just watching the time. I think we are up to our limit now on the tape, if this is a convenient moment?

  • Thank you. Mr Witness, we are now going to take the mid-morning break. We will adjourn for 30 minutes and we will come back at 12.00. Please adjourn court.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Mr Koumjian, please proceed.

  • Thank you. Your Honours, it would be convenient now for me to have the witness be shown P-51.

  • [Microphone not activated]. P-51, that is fine.

  • My mistake. It was under tab 11 of that binder, but it is P-51.

  • I am sorry, we have a different document as P-51. P-51 and it has the ERN number 0025572 on the first page:

  • Actually I can ask you some questions, Mr Witness, about this before it is shown to you. I want to ask you whether you recognise some names and, if you can, can you tell us what you know about those persons. First, do you know a Lieutenant Colonel Hector Lahai?

  • Colonel Hector, I know him.

  • Who was Colonel Hector?

  • He was one of the honourables who staged the coup.

  • Thank you. Can you explain what the term "honourables" means?

  • Well, those people who were called honourables were the people who staged the coup which took place in Freetown.

  • When you say the people that made the coup in Freetown, did these people belong to any organisation?

  • Yes, they were soldiers.

  • Was - when you were in Kono, do you know where Lieutenant Colonel Hector was?

  • Colonel Hector? Colonel Hector too was - he was in Kono.

  • Do you recognise the name Amara Salia? (Your Honours, I am referring to number 28 on the second page of the document.

  • Your Honours, could we have some spellings? Before we move off Hector, we have got a collection of different last names for him on the transcript.

  • Yes, one of whom sees to be "alcohol". So, let us have it spelt so it can be properly recorded.

  • It may be whisky, your Honour.

  • Nothing to do with me, Mr Munyard. Wouldn't dream of touching the stuff.

  • Your Honours, the name as spelt in the document is Hector initial B L-A-H-A-I:

  • Mr Witness, I asked you about an Amara Salia. That is A-M-A-R-A second name S-A-L-I-A. Do you recognise that name, Amara Salia?

  • I know a lot of Amaras, but it the surname that is confusing me. I am not familiar with it.

  • Madam Court Officer, could you ensure that we follow the document. We only have the screen and we don't see any of these names that counsel is referring to.

  • In Kono, Mr Witness, was anyone assigned as the mining - were any individuals as signed as mining commanders?

  • What were the names that you recall of mining commanders?

  • I can recall Kennedy. Mr Kennedy.

  • Do you know any other mining commanders' names?

  • I know the other man who is called Abdul.

  • When was Kennedy a mining commander?

  • It was in '98 that Kennedy was the mining commander.

  • What happened? Did anyone replace Kennedy after he was no longer the mining commander?

  • At that time I was not there, but it was after - it was Alpha and Kennedy who were leading the mining. They were the mining commanders.

  • On line 27 is a name Matthew Barbu. Do you recognise that name, Matthew Barbu?

  • Yes, I know him.

  • Who is Matthew Barbu?

  • Matthew Barbu was an NPFL man, but he was trained as a vanguard. He was one of the commanders.

  • What was his nationality?

  • On line 24 there appears to be "Major Parker" and then in parentheses "Base Marine". Do you recognise that name, or names?

  • Yes, I know him.

  • Base Marine was one of the SBUs whom I trained at Camp Naama. He was a vanguard.

  • When you trained Base Marine at Camp Naama, can you estimate how old he was?

  • Base Marine was about ten years old when he was at the RUF base.

  • In 1998, when you were in Kono, do you know where Base Marine was assigned?

  • Base Marine, we were all in Kono when we were fighting. The troubles were in Sewafe.

  • At line 20 there is a name "Major MJ Wallace". Do you recognise the name Major MJ Wallace?

  • Yes, I know that name.

  • Wallace was an STF.

  • Do you know where Major Wallace was when you were in Kono in 1998?

  • Mr Wallace too was in Kono.

  • Mr Witness, what were you known as? What did people call you at that time in 1998?

  • Well, they used to call me Colonel Isaac.

  • The document in front of us has a list with numbers and the first name is number 1 "Colonel Dennis Mingo". Do you recognise that name?

  • Who is Dennis Mingo?

  • Dennis Mingo was the one whom we called Superman. He was the commander when we were in Koidu. He too was one of the area commanders in the western jungle at the time that we were in the bush.

  • At the time that you were in Kono in 1998, who was the commander and who was the deputy in Kono?

  • It was Superman who was the commander and I was next to him.

  • Now continuing with this document, Mr Witness, I want to go to the page that has the ERN number 25579 and there appears to be a date in the top right, handwritten, "5" and it appears to be "17/98". Do you recognise Banya Ground? Does that word - those words mean anything to you?

  • Banya Ground, yes.

  • What is Banya Ground?

  • Well, that was where that man was a commander. That was his own area.

  • Where he was. He, him, Colonel Banya, that you are talking about.

  • Okay, so Banya Ground is named after a Colonel Banya. Is that correct? Do I understand you?

  • Yes, it was named after the ground.

  • Earlier, Mr Witness, you used the words "Superman Ground". What is Superman Ground?

  • Where Superman himself was based at the Guinea Highway, that was where they called Superman Ground.

  • The Colonel Banya that you mentioned for Banya Ground, who was he?

  • He too was an SLA, loyal to Johnny Paul Koroma.

  • On the page that we are on now there appear to be some names and then a dash and then - next to the first two names Lieutenant Gbarrie, G-B-A-R-R-I-E, and then the next two names Lieutenant Kellie and then the next two names - that is K-E-L-L-I-E. Do you recognise those names?

  • Yes, I know these names.

  • Who are Lieutenant Gbarrie and Kellie?

  • Well, on the document I am looking at there are two Lieutenant Gbarries and two Lieutenant Kellies. Are we talking about all four of them, or just two of them? The question was asked in an ambiguous way.

  • Well, on my interpretation of the document it is one person.

  • I am not too about that, because one is Celia Gbarrie and then there is Esther Kellie and Susan Kellie and Coomber Gbarrie.

  • Yes, there is Coomber Gbarrie as well.

  • Well, your Honours, my own interpretation of the document is that it is the names of civilians and then the assigned officer for each civilian.

  • We don't have that. Was that adduced in evidence?

  • No, but I don't think they are separate individuals:

  • Let me ask this. Sir, in lines 10 through 25 there appear to be names and then a dash and then it says "G5". Do the words G5 mean anything to you?

  • G5 is one of the units in the RUF which controlled the civilians.

  • Do you recall the names of any G5s in Kono District in 1998?

  • Well is he being asked to recall them, or is he being asked to look at this list and pick some off, because at the moment in response to the question he is staring at the screen. That is different from recall.

  • He is not being asked to pick the names off the screen and I don't think the names are on the screen. These are a list of civilians, it appears:

  • Sir, do you recall the names of any G5s that were in the Kono District?

  • One, the G5 commander - the G5s I am not so familiar with all of them, but their overall commander was one Prince Taylor. He was their overall commander. He was one of the commanders. He was one of the commanders - he was one of the vanguards who controlled the other men and he assigned the orders to the different areas. Now, I want to tell the Court that my own focus was at the front line. That was where my attention was.

  • Thank you. So, you are saying that you are not so familiar with the G5s duties because you were a front line commander. Is that correct?

  • I know about the G5 that it is a unit between the civilians and the soldiers, those of us carrying guns like I have said, but what I am trying to say here to say that I am familiar with the commanders who were in the different areas in Kono District. That is what I am talking about.

  • Okay, thank you. As a commander - as a front line commander - did you ever co-ordinate with G5s, or give any requests to the G5s to carry out some operation for you, or to do anything for you, excuse me?

  • Yes, I used to ask. For instance at the time that we were in the bush I used to ask the G5 to send some civilians to erect my hut where I would stay, or sometimes to come and work for me.

  • How were those civilians compensated, do you know, if they were?

  • Well there was no compensation to say you would use money to pay them, no. They were civilians and they had no choice. They are with the gunmen, they were under the control of the gunmen and so whatever the gunmen wanted them to do for them they will do just for them to survive.

  • I would like now to have the witness shown page 00025594:

  • Mr Witness, reading the top of that document it says "Civilian Women and Officer in Charge" and then there is a list going from numbers 138 to 171 on this page. I am just going to read the first few lines. It appears to be Tenneh Tua, that is T-E-N-N-E-H T-U-A is how I would read it and then "Major Sam MP Commander" next to that name. The next line 139 "Agness", A-G-N-E-S-S, "Francis", next to that line "MP Sergeant Francis Amara. It appears to be A-M-A-R-A to the best that I can decipher the handwriting. Sir, as someone who was working in Kono at that time with the RUF, can you tell us why there would be a list "Civilian Women and Officer in Charge"? What would that mean to you?

  • Well, those civilians, they were with most of the commanders. Like the G5 can go to - the commanders can also go to the G5 to sign for the civilians to stay with them, to work for them, to be doing some things for them which they wanted them to do. Those things were happening. The G5 too would make records that they would keep.

  • So, when the list says "Civilian Women and Officer in Charge", can you tell us what would be the relationship between the woman and the officer in charge?

  • Well unless this witness is saying he knows who these particular individuals are, how can he say that? And before the witness answers, furthermore we haven't established at the moment at any rate through this witness whether he does know what this list is all about. He has not been asked anything about the provenance of the list. He has just been shown the names and now is asked to give a general view of his own as to the relationship between the people in the two columns.

  • Mr Koumjian, your response to that objection, please.

  • Your Honours, you do not have to put the provenance of each document to a witness especially when the document is in evidence. This is a witness who was present with the RUF. He was the number 2 commander of the RUF in this district. I believe his knowledge of how things worked in the RUF in Kono in 1998 would be helpful to the finders of fact in understanding a document that may not be so apparent on its face. He can --

  • But I personally have not established so far that he knows what kind of a document this is, how it would have been compiled, or what its purpose was, so I am - and I speak now for myself - not sure how he can answer questions on it. I would like to know what he knows about the document first before we get into the specifics.

  • Well, then, I will ask the witness about the relationship between - I am not asking the witness about the document, of course the document's contents speak for themselves, and this witness I do not believe has a knowledge of how the document was made, I believe. I am going to ask the witness about his knowledge of facts which I think confirm and help us interpret the document. The document can be taken away from the witness, but I would ask your Honours to follow the document:

  • Sir, do you - can you tell us what the relationship was between women in Kono District in 1998 and - no, please take it away from the witness. I am sorry.

  • I don't think my learned friend understands that those of the rest of us in Court can't follow it unless it is on the screen in which case the witness sees it.

  • Okay, then I don't need to use the document at this point. Thank you. We could maybe I think turn the screen off, but I don't think it is necessary. I can go over it without the document. I have lost my LiveNote for a moment:

  • Mr Witness, how were civilian women treated in the Kono District in 1998?

  • Well, those civilian women, some gunmen took them to be their wives. Some of them used them to work for them. So if you are talking about a relationship between the women and the gunmen that you are asking about, you - whoever the civilian, you who were the gunman who has been captured you had no choice. You were under the sole control of the gunmen and the gunman was going to take you as his wife. You would not refuse, because you want to protect your life.

  • When you say take as his wife, what does it mean to take as his wife?

  • Well, they will take them to go and sleep with them, to use with them, to have sex with them.

  • Where were these civilian women who were taken as wives in the Kono District?

  • Well, they were at the PC Ground.

  • Where is the PC Ground?

  • The PC Ground was at the same Guinea Highway, but behind Superman Ground where we had one commander.

  • Can he kindly repeat the commander's name?

  • Can you tell us again the name of the commander again slowly, please?

  • I said the commander's name is Konowa. Major Konowa.

  • Your Honours, I am not familiar with the name, but perhaps to give my own uneducated guess it is K-O-N-O-W-A:

  • Mr Koumjian, I hope you are going to establish who these gunmen were, because I haven't a clue personally who he is referring to.

  • Sir, when you say the gunmen would take the wives, who were the gunmen? Did they belong to any organisation?

  • We, the RUF, SLA and STF, we were the ones who took these women and turned them into our wives.

  • And, Mr Witness, when you say "we", are you including yourself?

  • Yes, I am part of it, because the woman that I had I did not give any money for her, I did not go to her parents, so I take her as my wife too.

  • You mentioned PC Ground. Just so we understand, is this a name that existed before the war, or is this the name given to it by your forces?

  • Well, we ourselves gave that name to it.

  • Besides PC Ground, were there other areas or camps in Kono District where women were kept as wives in the manner you described?

  • Well the place where we called PC Ground was where no fighting was where we were based, where our families were. That was where we called the PC Ground. So the PC Grounds were at areas that were in the Kono District, but that particular ground that we spoke about, when we said PC Ground where Major Konowa was was where we entered when we had pulled out from Koidu. When Superman had created his own ground, all the other civilians whom we captured from the bush that was where we camped them. We encamped them, sorry.

  • You mentioned now where Superman created his own ground. Did that have a name?

  • That was where we called Superman Ground at the Guinea Highway.

  • Were these women who were taken as wives in the manner you have just described kept at Superman Ground?

  • If somebody has - if somebody hadn't - a man who was stationed at Superman Ground, he would bring that woman there for that woman to stay with him there.

  • Okay, but that is my question. Were women taken as wives in the manner you described to Superman Ground?

  • Yes, they used to bring them there. As long as you have taken the woman and you wanted her, if you were at Superman Ground you would bring her there.

  • Your Honour, my colleague has pointed out in line 16 of the transcript I believe the witness said "if somebody hadn't a woman", but this indicates a man. I am sure it will be corrected when the transcript is corrected.

  • But it also doesn't make sense, as you can see reading that sentence. I don't know what that sentence means.

  • Witness, I am going to read your answer and then ask you to explain it again. You said what we have on the transcript, "If someone has - if somebody hadn't a man who was stationed at Superman Ground, he would bring that woman there for that woman to stay with him there". Can you explain again what you mean by that?

  • Well what I mean, okay. For example I, Colonel Isaac, I am at Superman Ground and behind Superman Ground, which we call PC Ground, that was where the civilians were. If I go and take a woman from that PC Ground, I will bring that woman to where I am. That is what I mean.

  • Sir, was there any - how did soldiers choose the wives, these wives in the manner you have described? Could the soldier choose, or how would they get assigned a woman to a man?

  • Well someone did not take a woman and say, "Here, I am giving the woman to you", but when you go on attacks - when you go on attacks the civilians whom you captured there those were the people whom they took as their wives.

  • Sir, was there any hierarchy in who had the choice? What if two different soldiers, a lieutenant and a colonel, wanted the same woman?

  • Yes, there was a choice. You, the junior man, would have to give it up for your senior. That is what you will do. But when your superior wants a particular woman, you the junior man would not insist that you would want that same woman. It wouldn't work.

  • Thank you. I want to go back now, Mr Witness. We talked about Operation Spare No Soul, the attack on Njaiama Nimikoro, and you told us it was not successful. At that time, did the command in the Kono District change at all after the Operation Spare No Soul?

  • Yes, it was after the Operation Spare No Soul that the command that was in Kono changed.

  • Well, it changed after we have run the Operation Spare No Soul. Superman left and went to Krunbola in the Koinadugu District where SAJ Musa and others were. That is where he went.

  • We will have a spelling in just one moment for Krunbola:

  • When Superman left the Kono District, who became the commander for the RUF/AFRC People's Army in Kono District?

  • Well I was in charge there, but later I too was replaced. They called me. Something happened and they called me and the command changed again.

  • Okay, first the spelling of Krunbola is K-R-U-N-B-O-L-A:

  • For how long were you in charge in Kono before you were replaced, approximately?

  • Well, I did not stay long. I did not stay long when he was in command there, because a problem ensued.

  • Okay, we will come to that. Can you tell us when Superman went to Koinadugu District, do you consider first of all Koinadugu the north?

  • Yes, that is where it is.

  • And Superman went to the north. Can you tell us if anything happened at that time?

  • Yes, something happened. When Superman went there his bodyguards and SAJ Musa's bodyguards had a problem and that resulted in some shooting between them, but it resulted - it also resulted in the separation of the two men. Later, Mosquito sent for Superman to leave that end. Superman was unable to come back, so they sent Rocky CO. They gave him ammunition, and another boy whom they called Senegalese, and they went there to ensure - they sent Rocky CO to go and kill Superman, but when he went he was unable to do anything to Superman, so he joined Superman.

    So, Mosquito became angry and he said a problem had erupted between him and Superman. Superman refused to take command from him, so Mosquito wanted to send troops to go and fight against Superman in that area because the first one had failed. So during the ensuing argument over the communication set, the operator called me and said, "Your brothers were calling over the communication set". I came to advise Mosquito, that is Sam Bockarie. I told him, "Well, this quarrel, that you are quarrelling is not good. When you say you are sending troops to go and fight against Superman there ...", I said, "... that was not good. It is not good for us to be fighting against each other. It would be good for us to concentrate on the enemies that we are fighting against".

    So Sam Bockarie told me that we will not be able to discuss everything over the radio, but that I should go to Buedu for us to sit together and talk. So, that was why the command structure - that was why the command changed. When I went it was Morris Kallon who was in charged - who was in charge, sorry. Then I went to Buedu.

  • Okay, thank you. You gave a long answer and so I want to ask you just a few questions just to clarify and make sure we understand. When you said that they sent Rocky CO and I believe you said Senegalese to kill Superman, who sent them?

  • It was Mosquito who sent them and, when they were going, Rocky CO met me and he had ammunition. He called me. He said, "Big Brother, this is the mission that Sam Bockarie has given me to implement", but he said, "That man is my own brother. I cannot do a thing like that to him, but I am just telling you and you should keep it in the dark. You should not tell anybody". And I said, "Okay", but when I go - he said "But when I go there I am not going to do it".

  • Now, you said that you were called by your operator and that Superman and Bockarie were arguing over the communication. When you say they were arguing over the communication, what do you mean?

  • They were insulting each other. This one was telling his companion words that were unpleasant and other one too was insulting the other and Superman said he was not taking orders from that man. He was not taking him to be anybody. He will not take orders from him. In fact, he was senior to the man. So, that was the argument that was going on.

  • When you say over the communication, can you just make it clear what you mean? How were they communicating?

  • Well Superman was in his own place, that is the Koinadugu District that I have been talking about, and Mosquito too was in Buedu. He had his own radio set and this exchange was going on. When this one speaks, the other one will speak. When this one speaks, the other one will speak. That was how they were doing it.

  • Thank you. So you are talking about radio communications, correct?

  • Yes, I am talking about radio communication.

  • I want now to interrupt this current subject for just a bit to talk about radio communications. In 1998, can you tell us how many radios were available to the RUF and AFRC approximately? And I am talking about the communication radios.

  • If I give you a specific number here then I would be telling lies to you, but the radios that we had were many because we had areas where sometimes we had two radios and some other areas we had three. That is what it was like. We had some other radios whereby those groups were just monitoring. Sometimes it would be three, or four, and these would be the men. So if I give you a specific number then I would be telling lies to you, but I am telling the Court and I am telling you that we had many radios which were communication sets that we were using.

  • Okay, thank you. If you could just speak a little bit slower, it would be easier for the interpreter. Mr Witness, you talked about operators on these radio sets. What was the job of the operator?

  • Well, those operators received messages. You, who were the commander, the adjutant would write down your message that you are sending to your field commander, or the next commander. The operator - the operators would look at the message, decode it, before sending it. So, that was their own job. They were permanently on the radio.

  • When you say "permanently", are you - explain what you mean? Were the radios used a certain number of hours per day, or how long? How many hours per day were the radios on and able to receive messages?

  • Well, our radios were on 24 hours throughout the entire day. We - our radio we did not - even when it is on standby, people will be monitoring it at night to know the movement or the plans of the enemy at night. So, we had people who monitored at night. We had operators who worked all day. There are others who worked all night. So, that was what it was.

  • In the People's Army, did the RUF and the AFRC use the same channels, or different channels, to communicate?

  • Well we all used the same channel when we were talking to each other, but please note that the radio set I can tell you that, "Let us go to the frequency", and the operator and the other operator know which frequency they should tune so that when he is going there that other person who is going to the other frequency on which they will communicate. That is how it worked. It was not just a single frequency. Although they had one frequency which was stagnant for messages which was coming to all stations which was stagnant, a stagnant station, a stagnant frequency, where all stations monitored the headquarters, all stations had that, but when it is time for message they will tell them to tune it to so and so channel and they will go there to receive that message, or make that message.

  • Mr Witness, you have told us that you were a front line commander and not at the headquarters. First of all, where was the headquarters of the People's Army in 1998?

  • Our headquarters was Buedu. That was the headquarters.

  • Were you as a field commander able to monitor communications between Buedu and other commanders in other locations?

  • Yes, my operator who I had used to monitor headquarters and other monitoring teams that were in Buedu they monitored them. They monitored other stations, the other station which was in Liberia. Those people who were there were also being monitored.

  • Did you yourself ever listen to communications between other commanders, or the headquarters and other commanders?

  • Yes, I listened to communications. I had told you other one like Superman and Sam Bockarie, when he was at the headquarters when he and Superman were arguing I used to monitor them sometimes.

  • And why did you as a front line commander monitor these other communications?

  • Well, I was monitoring it because we heard there was the Alpha Jets that was in the air and troubling us and we had a station that was monitoring the movement of the enemy troops that we were fighting against. Especially when they were sending the Alpha Jet, they had a signal that they sent to all stations for us to be on the alert. That was why I was monitoring.

  • I was going to deal with that later, but perhaps this is an appropriate time. What was the signal that you are talking about that was used for the alert?

  • Well, we had - for the Alpha Jet we had a code name 448 which they send to all stations. They will say "448". As long as the monitoring team is monitoring the ECOMOG troops and the Alpha Jet movement either from Liberia or from Buedu, they would alert us. They would alert all stations.

  • I don't think that has actually answered the question, which was about a signal. Which signal?

  • I thought he had said the code name was 448. It was a signal.

  • That was a code name. That was not a signal, as I understood it. If I have misunderstood then I am happy to have that clarified, but I thought the signal was the radio signal.

  • Well, perhaps we will make that clear.

  • I believe it is quite clear.

  • The signal is 448, is that correct? Is that what the witness is saying?

  • I can ask the witness.

  • Yes, it should come from him.

  • Sir, when you used the word "signal" and then I asked you "What was the signal?", what was the signal?

  • The signal was the "448" which was the password that comes to all stations.

  • What does that mean? When you hear "448" as a field commander, what does that mean to you?

  • When I hear "448" - when I heard "448" it meant that the Alpha Jet was in the air, so when I have monitored the station and they have alerted all stations "448", whether it was coming to your location or not, because they were not saying - they wouldn't say it was coming to a specific area, but wherever the RUF and AFRC occupied, that was their target. So, those areas where we had the front lines and where the radio sets were, they would alert everybody to be on the alert when they say "448".

  • As a front line commander, did these alerts, 448, have any value to you? Did they help you?

  • It helped us a lot.

  • Can you explain why hearing the 448 alert when Alpha Jets were in the air would help the front line commanders?

  • Yes, it is good for you who is at the front line to know about it, so that you will be able to take cover, you and your men, so as to avoid a lot of casualties.

  • Were the Alpha Jets a threat to the RUF and AFRC forces?

  • Yes, it was a threat to us.

  • Would the Alpha Jets make any difference in your operations?

  • Yes, it used to make a difference because it did not allow us to advance the way we wanted to advance.

  • You have mentioned monitoring teams in various locations. Can you go over those again, where the monitors were and tell us what you know about what they did? Well, first, where were the monitoring teams?

  • The monitoring teams were in Buedu. Most of the men who were there were operators - were the operators who were SLAs, because their own way of monitoring was different from that of the RUF communication. The Nigerians too, when they are communicating they were not using voice procedures. They had something which was a key that made that sound, so those SLAs had been trained with the Nigerians so they know those sounds, so they were using keys. So, when they are monitoring - when they are monitoring they put the message that they have received and they will put it together and tell the commander. That is the field commander. If it was the Alpha Jets' movement that they monitored, or the movement of ground troops, they would alert all of us to know that their ground troops were moving, or the ground troops are moving - the ground troops are moving and they have an Alpha Jet that is going to give them support.

  • I will attempt, for the record, to describe the sound that the witness made.

  • Please go ahead, Mr Koumjian.

  • The witness gave a series of long and short what sounded like electronic tones.

  • Now, sir, you mentioned Buedu. Was there any other monitoring location for the Alpha Jets?

  • Yes, some were in Liberia. They too, at that time, ECOMOG was in Liberia where the Alpha Jets depart from to hit targets in Sierra Leone, so when they are taking off from there they too will be monitoring them and they will alert us too. They will tell us.

  • Do you know the names of the monitors in Liberia?

  • I have told you about Memuna. I told you about Tollo. I told you about Ebony.

  • Thank you. Sir, in your answer a few answers ago you said in addition to alerting on the movements of the Alpha Jets, there were alerts on ground troops that were moving. Did that have any value to you as a front line commander?

  • Yes, you had asked me. I told you it had value to us, the front line commanders, because it would always put us on alert and we would know how to move so that we will not just sit by and allow the thing to take us unawares, because sometimes we will lose manpower. We lost - so when we were alerted we will know how to manoeuvre, or how to take position for it. So, it was value to us.

  • I just want to make sure, Mr Witness, you understood my question. I am asking you now not about the Alpha Jets, but you also said that you were alerted about the movement of ground troops. So, first, when the alerts came about the movement of ground troops, which troops are you referring to?

  • We are talking about the ECOMOG troops when they were about to move. If we knew that they were moving and that they were coming to hit a particular area, then the commander who was around that area, he will ensure that he and his men were in readiness to meet with them for the battle.

  • Okay, thank you. Now, I want to go back and you have told us about hearing the argument over the radio between Superman and Bockarie and then your intervention and you said that Bockarie then told you you should not talk about this on the radio. What happened then?

  • He told me that I should go to Buedu for us to sit together and talk, so I also prepared myself and then I left to go there.

  • Okay. Between --

  • Mr Koumjian, who is the "he"?

  • "What happened then?", and he said "He told me".

  • Who told you to come to Buedu?

  • It was Sam Bockarie, who was my commander. He was the one who called me to go.

  • Before you actually went to Buedu, did you receive any other information?

  • Yes, I had information that the advice that I gave to the man, he became angry with it because he took it that I was siding Superman, so he had already planned that if I went he would also kill me. So, somebody told me, somebody told me secretly, and he said as I was going I shouldn't forget myself. I should go like a man. I also said "all right" and I went.

  • When you say in your answer that after you "had information that the advice that I gave to the man, he became angry", who is the man that became angry?

  • It was Mosquito who became angry.

  • Okay. Mr Witness, we will understand now when you say Mosquito that you mean Sam Bockarie unless you tell us differently, okay? Is that understood?

  • You mentioned another Mosquito much earlier in your testimony. So, after you received the information - you said you received information that he was planning to kill you. Who was planning to kill you?

  • It was Sam Bockarie who was planning to kill me.

  • So after receiving that information, what did you do?

  • I also prepared myself. I took my bodyguards and the arms that I had with me and then I decided to go to Buedu, because he had called me that I should go to Buedu to discuss about the advice that I gave him and he said I should go so as to sit and discuss better.

  • Mr Witness, help us understand, if you believed there was a chance that he was planning to kill you why did you obey the order and go to Buedu?

  • Well, I went there - I never wanted anything that will spark off and spread over to other people, so that was the reason why when the problem was between himself and Superman, I decided to intervene. So, if I had also refused to go he was going to order some other people to come and meet me and do something else to me. So, if he decided to do that and if the people came, I was also going to command my own men and that was not going to stop between him and I, and if that happened it will have been an infighting. So, that was what I was trying to avoid, although I did not understand that that was what he was about to do, but I went there. So, if I went there and he wanted to do that, we were both going to die together.

  • Okay. Just a bit slower in your answers, please, Mr Witness, would be helpful for the interpreters. Can you tell us then what happened after you prepared yourself to go to Buedu with your bodyguards?

  • Well, I prepared myself and I went with some people, who were mining people who were in Kono. They had already got some diamonds and that was Mr Kennedy. They also joined me to go to Buedu, so we all travelled together and we went to Mosquito at Buedu.

  • What happened when you got to Buedu?

  • Well, when we got to Buedu, when I entered the town, his bodyguards used to sit in front of his house under the tree and so they were sitting there. So, when I got there the bodyguards were talking to me and they said my men should not enter Mosquito's ground with arms, so they said they should disarm. Then I said no. I said "I am also an authority, so, it doesn't mean that if I am coming to meet this man my bodyguards should disarm." So, whilst we were talking Mosquito was inside the house and he heard - he overheard my voice and then he came and he told his men that, no, they should forget about me, so that my armed men will enter. So, my bodyguards joined his own bodyguards where they were seated and then I also entered to Mosquito. So, when I went we shook hands, we greeted each other nicely. I didn't see - I didn't see a countenance of him about the information that I had received, because myself I had already alerted my own men, so whilst I was with him inside, if anything was going to happen they should also do what they will be able to do. But when I got there the man gave me a smiling face, we sat down, we smoked together, he brought rum, we drank and then we started discussing.

  • Tell us about your discussions with Sam Bockarie at that time?

  • Well, at that time the reason why he called me was because of the advice that I gave him about the Superman issue, so that we will discuss it, and then what he also told me was that he said, "Bra, I was waiting for somebody like you, for you to come here, because we have a problem here on the ground. So, we all need to sit together and hang heads and then we discuss and then we will act on what to do next." And then I asked him, "What can we do next?" Then he said, "It is about this ammunition business." Then he said, "There is nothing that we will be able to get now because the one we have at hand now has almost finished", and he said, "I have been discussing this with some other commanders here so that we will send somewhere for us to get ammunition and luckily I called you and you are here. So, we have to discuss it and when the other commanders arrive here, we always sit together and discuss it and then we will see what to do next." I said, "All right", and then I went to bed and slept.

    So, the next morning all of us, the commanders who were in the town there, we discussed that we should request for ammunition from Mr Taylor and that we should write a letter and give to Brother Jungle to take it along. So, those of us, the commanders who were there, we went, we had the meeting, we held the meeting, we discussed. Even Pa Rogers was present in the meeting. We all sat down, we discussed and then we came to a conclusion that we should write a letter, and then we wrote the letter.

  • Let me stop you and go over this a little more slowly.

  • First of all, your Honours, line 25, it states the "war" has almost finished. I thought the witness said "what we had was almost finished".

  • He said "the one we have".

  • Thank you, your Honour.

  • "Bra" just disappeared off the top of the page, which I think must mean "Bro". I think it is line 20.

  • Thank you:

  • So, do you want to go back for a moment. When you talked about the advice you gave Mosquito/Sam Bockarie about Superman, can you tell us again what advice you gave to Sam Bockarie about his argument with Superman?

  • When I told him that we should forget about this and that he should forget about Superman, I said we shouldn't have anything like infighting because I wanted us to concentrate on the enemies, but if we started petty conflict amongst ourselves the enemy will take that as an advantage to advance on our positions. So, I told him that we should forget about those things. So, he listened to me and he agreed. That was the reason why he brought the discussion up when he was trying to get some other people and when I came he said I was lucky to be present and that when we all meet, we sit and discuss it. That was how it happened.

  • Then you told us that the next day there was a meeting of commanders; is that correct?

  • Where did that meeting take place?

  • Well, we held the meeting in Buedu. That was where we held the meeting.

  • Okay. Who was present at the meeting?

  • Myself who is speaking, I was there. Mosquito was there. Jungle was there because he was also based in Buedu. We had other commanders who were also based on that ground, like one SLA he was called Sambebe. He was also present and some other commanders who were in Buedu, we and the late Pa Rogers.

  • At first you mentioned an SLA and I just wasn't familiar with the name. Can you say the name of the SLA who you said was present and based in Buedu?

  • Sambebe.

  • Taking a guess, it is S-A-M-B-E-B-E:

  • Pa Rogers was the - one of the RUF - he was the RUF Secretary-General who was there and he was the War Council Chairman.

  • At that meeting - sorry, and then you said Jungle was there. Are you referring to the person who you said was also named Tamba?

  • Yes, that is the person that I am talking about.

  • What was discussed again at this meeting of the commanders?

  • Well, I have told you that we did - during our discussions we were talking about ammunition because we had run out of ammunition. So, we did not have enough ammunition again to continue our offensive, or to fight, or to even defend our areas, so we discussed that it will be better that this time around we all ensure to write a letter and give it to Brother Jungle to take it to Mr Taylor for him to help us get some ammunition. So, those were the things that we discussed and we all came to the conclusion that we agreed. We told the adjutant, who was Rashid Sandy, to write a letter and he wrote it. He read the letter out to everybody and from there we enveloped it and we gave it to Colonel Jungle to take along. So, Colonel Jungle went with the letter and after three days Sam Bockarie called us and said he had received a message from the Pa, and that is Mr Taylor, that he himself should go, that is Sam Bockarie, that he should go to Monrovia. So, Sam Bockarie called us and informed us and we also said okay, it is not bad, and he said, "Okay, but since I am leaving I want Issa to come to Buedu and stay here and you, Isaac, you should go to Pendembu and stay there", because that was where Issa was. That was his own area of control. So, I went to where Issa was and then Issa came to Buedu. So, when Mosquito was leaving he said, "I will not go alone. I wanted to go with some other people." So, he went with Rashid Sandy, he went with Pa Rogers and then he went with Lawrence Wohmandia and Eddie Kanneh also.

  • Mr Witness, do you recall, or can you give us an estimate of when it was that you held this meeting in Buedu where you drafted the letter for Charles Taylor?

  • Well, at Buedu the place where they used to hold meetings, or discussions, it was not actually in the town itself, but it was out of the town going towards Liberia. There was a place that was called Waterworks. That was where we used to hold our meetings.

  • Mr Koumjian, I think the question you asked was when. It relates to a time frame, not where.

  • Yes, your Honour, before I re-ask the question I believe Wohmandia may not be spelt correctly. Our spelling is W-O-H-M-A-N-D-I-A:

  • Mr Witness, do you recall when the month, or the season, that it was that you held the meeting in Buedu where you drafted the letter to Jungle? I realise it was ten years ago.

  • The letter I can say it was in early November, something like that.

  • Do you recall if it was rainy season, or if rainy season had ended?

  • Well, it was during the dry season.

  • Which year is this? November of which year?

  • Mr Witness, you have indicated earlier that the operation - well, what year was it that we are talking about when you drafted the letter?

  • Thank you. You indicated that Sam Bockarie left and he asked you to have a new assignment because he was going to Liberia; is that correct?

  • Did you take that assignment? Did you fulfil that order?

  • So, where did you go?

  • I went to Pendembu.

  • Do you know if Issa Sesay replaced Bockarie in Buedu during the time he was gone?

  • Yes, Issa Sesay replaced Bockarie in Buedu.

  • Now, the letter you said was given to Colonel Jungle and you have mentioned him before, but you said he is based in Buedu. Can you explain what you mean when you say he was based in Buedu?

  • Colonel Jungle was based in Buedu with Mosquito. He had his own place there where he was staying, but he would go to Liberia and come back because himself and Mosquito belonged to the same tribe, so they were doing things together. So, he was also there. He had his own bodyguards with him and he was there in the place.

  • When you say that Jungle and Mosquito were the same tribe, which tribe were they?

  • What language would Jungle and Mosquito speak when they spoke to each other?

  • Well, they would speak the Liberian English and sometimes, when they are ready again, they will speak the Kissi.

  • What was Jungle's job when he was there in Buedu?

  • Well, Jungle was there as a liaison officer. He used to carry messages and he will bring things come again. So, that was just what he was.

  • When you say liaison officer, liaison between which parties?

  • Mr Interpreter, what do you mean "he will bring things come again"? What do you mean by that?

  • Your Honours, the witness said he would bring things come. He did not specify what thing.

  • [Overlapping speakers].

  • I have said before that Jungle will go to Monrovia and then he will bring ammunition. I have even told you that at one time when I was in Kono I requested for ammunition, when Mosquito told me that I should exercise patience because Brother Jungle had gone to Monrovia to bring some ammunition. He went to the Pa, that is Mr Taylor. So, if you are asking that when he took something along and then he brought something back, the something that I am talking about is ammunition.

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. You indicated he was a liaison, liaison between who?

  • A liaison between the RUF and the NPFL.

  • Do you know if at that time in 1998 Colonel Jungle belonged to any unit?

  • Colonel Jungle was part of the Executive Mansion guard, but they had changed his name. At that time I was not there any longer, but at that time I knew him to be an Executive Mansion guard, but they had changed the name from Executive Mansion guards and they now had another name.

  • Do you recall what the name was, the new name for the Executive Mansion guard?

  • Well, they said they had SS unit.

  • Thank you. Did you ever speak to Jungle yourself?

  • Yes, the time I went to Buedu I spoke to Jungle. He and I spoke.

  • Do you have knowledge of who it was that Jungle reported to within the Liberian structure?

  • Jungle was going to Mr Taylor because it was to him that we were sending a message, so he was going to him.

  • How do you know that? How do you know that he was going directly to Mr Taylor?

  • Well, I had told you that I have been talking to him and he also told me that, so I knew that for himself.

  • Just to be completely clear, when you say the Executive Mansion guard you are speaking of the Executive Mansion for which country and which person?

  • It was in Liberia and it was Mr Taylor, the place where he was.

  • Going back for a moment to the time you were in Buedu and you drafted the letter, the group drafted the letter for Jungle, how many days were you in Buedu area for that stay?

  • I said I was there for three days in Buedu Town.

  • During that time did you go outside of Buedu at any time?

  • Yes, I went to the village that is Kangama. I went to Kangama where Johnny Paul Koroma was.

  • Why did you go to Kangama?

  • That is my village and I later understood that Johnny Paul was there and so I went there.

  • You told us, I believe, at the beginning of your testimony that you were born in that village; is that correct?