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

  • Good morning. I note some changes of appearance.

  • Good morning, your Honour. For the Prosecution this morning Nicholas Koumjian, Mohamed A Bangura and Kirsten Keith.

  • [Open session]

  • [The accused not present]

  • [Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.]

  • Thank you. Good morning, Mr Griffiths.

  • Good morning, Madam President, your Honours and counsel opposite. Representation today is myself Courtenay Griffiths, my learned friend Mr Morris Anyah and Shannon Torrens.

  • Thank you. We have been advised that there are some matters relating to the witness that counsel wish to bring to the attention of the Court.

  • It was at my suggestion, your Honour, consistent with the order that the witness's identity remain anonymous. In order to preserve that fact my learned friend Mr Bangura has put together a list of names associated with the witness's testimony so to enable the witness to refer to the particular person by number rather than name during the course of his testimony.

  • This is persons other than the witness himself?

  • Other than the witness himself, but who by association with him might lead to his own identification and it was just to inform the Court that that's the procedure we are intending to adopt.

  • So what steps will be taken? Will this list be circulated?

  • That is correct, your Honour. I thank my learned friend for ably putting the position to the Court. I have already handed over to my colleague on the other side one of these lists that I intend to have circulated and the witness will have a copy of it with these names and they are numbered and each time in his testimony that he wishes to refer to any of the names he would rather refer to the number than the name.

  • And the number is a TF number or just a random number?

  • Just an ordinary number. Just a number.

  • The position at issue perhaps before we move on would be - my suggestion would be that the document, the paper, that has been handed out be admitted subject to agreement with my learned friend - be admitted in evidence at once so that your Lordships can follow, because the witness is only going to be referring to numbers and every time he refers to a number your Lordships will have before you a copy of that sheet with the number and you will know what name the witness is referring to.

    Can I ask Madam Court Manager to --

  • [Trial Chamber conferred]

  • We have considered the submissions of counsel. We accept the suggestion in principle. However, there must be evidence of: (1) the witness's knowledge of the person and (2) his concerns for security, et cetera, to determine if a pseudonym can be allowed by the Court. Therefore, we will hear this is private session to determine if it is appropriate that a number rather than a reference to the person by name is adduced in the course of evidence. So if the witness can be brought in, I will remind him of his oath and we will go into private session and deal with that matter first, Mr Bangura, Mr Griffiths. Counsel, I should remark that this was a procedure that we have adopted in the past.

  • Very well, your Honour.

  • Thank you. If the witness can be brought in, please, and please go into private session for purposes of public record and the rules. We are having a short private session for reasons of security of the witness and possibly, possibly, other witnesses. So at first all the blinds will be down so the witness can be brought in, then the side blinds will be lifted, but there won't be any sound.

  • [At this point in the proceedings, a portion of the transcript, pages 11739 to 11747, was extracted and sealed under separate cover, as the proceeding was heard in private session.]

  • [Open session]

  • Your Honour, we are in open session

  • Thank you. Please proceed, Mr Bangura.

  • Mr Witness, we shall now continue with your testimony from where we left off yesterday.

  • When we broke off yesterday you were telling this Court how you left Kenema and had travelled through Segbwema, Daru and on to Bomaru. I believe we were at a point where you had just crossed the border?

  • We were in Bomaru trying to go across the border, sir.

  • Thank you. Now can you describe what was the situation at Bomaru when you got there?

  • Well, in Bomaru, sir, there were thousands of refugees from Kenema and the surroundings trying to go across the Sierra Leone-Liberia border.

  • Mr Witness, could you speak up and clearly, please, because I think the transcribers are finding difficulty in picking up some of your words.

  • Thank you, ma'am.

  • Thank you. In Bomaru there were thousands of refugees from the surroundings of Kenema and elsewhere who were also trying to go across the Sierra Leone-Liberia border and there were hundreds of RUF rebels and the AFRC soldiers. We were there, we were detained, we were searched, some of our properties were taken away from us and at some times people have to give money before you could go across, though there were thousands of people wanting to go across.

  • Did you eventually get across the border?

  • Yes, sir, I did.

  • Where did you go to on the other side of the border?

  • On the Liberian side of the border we managed to cross there, sir, and we met again another checkpoint on the Liberian side. This time they were Liberian soldiers there.

  • And what was the situation at that checkpoint?

  • It was similar as the Bomaru checkpoint on the Sierra Leone side, sir. On the Liberian side there were thousands of refugees also before the checkpoint and there were Liberian security forces there. They too were taking properties from people, demanding money from us before we could go across. But then, as I said before, my wife was pregnant and she was having problem with it, so we used her situation to go across.

  • This place where the checkpoint was, did it have a name?

  • Well, the name of the village I could not recall, sir, but it was in Liberia, on the Liberian side.

  • And did you move from that point eventually?

  • Yes, sir, we did. We later got help from an NGO, the ICRC, and we went to Vahun. In Vahun we were lodged at the chief's house, because we were fortunate to be with her niece from Daru which I have given up hell from there. We were in Vahun for about a week, sir.

  • And what was the situation in Vahun during that one week you were there?

  • The situation in Vahun was tormenting. There was a lot of harassment and intimidations. Security forces both from the RUF, AFRC and the SOD from Liberia, the Special Operation Division of the Liberian police, and other security members of the Liberian police and armed forces were there. They usually come around and get at civilians, able men, women, and forced them to go to their places. So one day I was arrested.

  • Just before you move on, you said to force them to go to their places, what do you mean?

  • To their headquarters, their offices, sir.

  • Whose offices are you talking about?

  • The Liberian police, the RUF, because in Voinjama both the RUF, AFRC, the SOD, the other police department, they all housed in one building, sir, so whenever people were arrested they take you to this building.

  • So they were all housed in one building?

  • Yes, sir.

  • What is SOD? Have we got that name yet?

  • Can you tell the Court what SOD means?

  • SOD is the Special Operation Division of the Liberian national police, sir.

  • Thank you. Yes, continue. You said one day you were yourself arrested.

  • So one day I was arrested and detained and later I was asked to go for a meeting. It was on 27 February 1998. I refused after I was released to go to that meeting, so the next day we left Voinjama - Vahun for Voinjama - for Kolahun, sorry.

  • Was there a reason why people were being arrested, or harassed across at Vahun?

  • Yes, sir. The reason was one - both the RUF, the Liberian police, or the Liberian security forces were forcing people to go back to Sierra Leone, especially if you were a man or a young person from both gender, you could be forced to go back in Sierra Leone to go and fight, or be used in any other form that could benefit them. So while we were this was going on and we were forced to leave Voinjama - Vahun to Kolahun.

  • And you yourself, why were you arrested, do you recall?

  • I was arrested for the same purpose, sir. It was for the same reason.

  • And you said that --

  • Mr Bangura, the witness keeps mixing up Voinjama, Vahun, Kolahun. Where was he coming from, where was he going?

  • At this point, Mr Witness, where were you when you were arrested?

  • Okay. Just be careful not to lead us to a point where you were not at this time.

  • You said you were arrested and you were asked to go to a meeting. Did they tell you, the persons who arrested you, did they tell you what the meeting was going to be about?

  • No, I was not need to be told, sir, because I have been in Voinjama for a week now and --

  • We are not in Voinjama.

  • In Vahun, sir. I am sorry, sir. I am very sorry. I have been in Vahun for a week now and I understood the situation that was there, so after I was released, then it was a clear indication that Vahun was not a safe place for us to stay. So --

  • Did you leave Vahun eventually?

  • Yes, sir, the next day.

  • And where did you go?

  • We went from Vahun and we went to Kolahun. Our destination was really Kolahun, sir, but when we reached to Kolahun again we met thousands of refugees who were also trying to go to Voinjama and so --

  • Okay, just before you move on, when you say "we", who are you referring to?

  • Me and my family, sir.

  • Okay. So you went to Kolahun and from there did anything happen at Kolahun?

  • Yes, sir. After we met these so many refugees in Kolahun, we were also trying to on board the trucks that we were in and so we were discouraged to get down in Kolahun, sir, and we decided immediately to go to Voinjama.

  • Now, you travelled from Vahun to Kolahun by what means?

  • By truck. By vehicle.

  • And how long was that distance?

  • Well, we took about four to five hours, sir, because the road was very bad.

  • And you say at Kolahun you were discouraged to get down; discouraged by what?

  • I was discouraged by the people we met there. We all shared the same identity, they were refugees like us, and they were tell us that there was a lot of violence and harassment in Kolahun and we knew what we were running away from and so it was not a good idea to stay in Kolahun where we could face the same problem we had in Vahun. So we decided to go to Voinjama which was said to be the capital city of Lofa County and we thought we could meet civilisation there.

  • So you continued on your journey to Voinjama?

  • Yes, sir, I did.

  • And was it on a different day, or --

  • It was on the same day.

  • And how long was that journey to Voinjama from Kolahun?

  • The journey also took about four or five hours, sir.

  • And can you describe what happened when you arrived at Voinjama?

  • When we arrived in Voinjama we met some local NGO and some other international NGO workers there who were receiving people, giving blanket, food, and some civilians, and we also met some Sierra Leonean refugees who had been there before us. There was a place selected by some of these NGO, which was an old school building, or something, where people were taken, but fortunately for me and my wife we met this lady, the person named number 1, and she gave us help, water and my wife was feeling pain, so she took her home and gave her aid.

  • So you met this person named number 1 on the list before you?

  • Yes, sir. She was a Liberian.

  • And did she render further assistance to you?

  • Yes, sir, she did.

  • What kind of assistance did she continue to render to you?

  • She was our host. She was our mother. She - after two days while we were with her to her compound, her house, so she rent a place for us, but this place was very uncomfortable for us, sir, especially my wife. She was pregnant and there was steps without any protection and so my wife finally stayed with her until she delivers. After some weeks I got another place at the other side of Voinjama Town, which was the Mandingo quarter, because Voinjama was divided into two areas, distinctive areas, sir.

  • You said Voinjama was divided, what do you mean?

  • I mean in Voinjama there were two different sections, major sections. On the other side is the Mandingo ethnic groups and they are Muslims. On the one side was the Loma ethnic group. Most of them are Christians. So these two distinctive tribes have differences, both political and cultural.

  • Now, you just mentioned Loma. Can you spell that? Loma ethnic group, you said. Can you spell that?

  • Thank you. You said they had political and cultural differences. What was the political difference, if you know?

  • Well, the political differences was that the Loma people, most of them were in support of the former NPFL regime, or the Taylor administration, and the Mandingo people were supporters of the former ULIMO and Alhaji Kromah of the ULIMO.

  • Thank you. Now, how did you get by in Voinjama when you arrived there? How did you survive?

  • Well, in Voinjama it was really tough, sir, at the beginning, but we had some amount of money when we came there and Voinjama - there used to be a market there in Voinjama almost every Friday, or every two Fridays, so this money we had we started buying cigarettes and other small, small market business to do, so we opened a cigarette box like and we started selling these cigarettes. Later this business expanded to a kiosk and we used to sell cigarettes, palm wine, beer, stout and plenty commodities were there. It was established and became very, very popular in Voinjama.

  • Where was your business located?

  • My business was located at the centre of Voinjama and Voinjama is a very strategic place, if I could try to describe the area how Voinjama was. Voinjama was the capital city of Lofa County in the north of Liberia and it has three major roads. One of the roads was coming from - if I could try to write something and so the Court could get a better picture of it.

  • Is it possible to explain without trying to write something?

  • Yes, yes, of course.

  • Please try and explain without writing.

  • Thank you. One of the major roads was coming from Monrovia, Gbarnga, to Zorzor, from Zorzor you could come to Voinjama and there was another road leading from Voinjama to Guinea, and on the other side of the junction there was a road coming from Voinjama to Kolahun and from Kolahun you could take another road which has another leg going to Foya and from Foya it could lead you to Sierra Leone. On the other side of the legged road you could go to Vahun, which could also lead you to Sierra Leone. So it was a very, very strategic business and other important business, sir.

  • Mr Witness, I would like for us to go over this again much more clearly. Now, you initially said that there were three different roads that came to Voinjama. Perhaps if you try and explain from within Voinjama where these roads lead to, that might be much easier and better. So let us take them one at a time.

  • First of all you said your business was in the centre of Voinjama, is that right?

  • Now, where did these three roads that you talk about, where did they meet?

  • The three roads were junctioned very close to my kiosk and by the kiosk there was a church, a very big church, and I had this kiosk there.

  • Now, let me take you through. Now, tell us about these three roads, one at a time?

  • You said one of them - you talked about Monrovia. Tell us about the one that leads to Monrovia, or comes from Monrovia, but take it from Voinjama.

  • Okay. I had my kiosk at the centre of Voinjama and where the parking ground was. This parking place, all the roads were junctioned there and one of this road from the parking, very closer to my kiosk, was going to Zorzor. From Zorzor you could go to Gbarnga and in Gbarnga you could take the main highway to Monrovia, sir.

  • Okay. What about the second one of those three roads, where did it lead to?

  • And the second one of these three roads, which was very much closer to my kiosk too, as I said before, was leading to Kolahun and in Kolahun there was a two legged road, a junction there, which one of it could lead you to Foya and from Foya you could go direct to Sierra Leone. The other junction of the road, or the other leg of the road, could lead you from Kolahun to Vahun and from Vahun to Sierra Leone.

  • And did you use one of those roads to get to Voinjama?

  • Yes, sir, both of the roads lead to Voinjama and if I may come to the third road in Voinjama, sir?

  • Thank you. The third road in Voinjama could lead you directly to Guinea and it was very much shorter, about two hours - one hour 30 minute walk from Voinjama to the Guinea side of the border.

  • All right, thank you. Now, you mentioned that your business expanded, so who were the kind of customers that your business attracted?

  • Well, my business was attractive to every type of customer, sir. Both the refugees, civilians, the travelers, the security forces, police, SOD, SSS, the ATUs, the immigration, the custom officers, the Liberians. Everybody in this community, sir.

  • Now you just mentioned at few names here by acronym. You mentioned SSS. Who were the SSS?

  • The SSS were part of - were the Special Security Services, a paramilitary force in Liberia.

  • And you mentioned the ATU. Who were the ATU?

  • The ATU were also the Anti-Terrorist Unit and the leader was - the ATU was - the leader was Chucky Taylor, the son of the President of Liberia, but it was also a Liberian security forces. A very powerful unit in Liberia.

  • And you mentioned other groups. You mentioned immigration and customs and were these also forces that were present in Voinjama?

  • Yes, sir, they were. They were all forces of the Liberian government.

  • Mr Bangura, is it possible to have a time frame for Voinjama at least?

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Now, Mr Witness, let me just take you back to when did you arrive in Voinjama, first of all, on your trip from --

  • On 27 February 1998.

  • So how long was your journey from the time you left Kenema until the time you arrived in Voinjama?

  • It was about two weeks, sir. I spent a week travelling from Kenema to Liberia. I took a week in - about a week in Vahun and on 27 February 1998 I left Vahun for Kolahun which I continued to Voinjama, sir.

  • Now, how long after your arrival in Voinjama were you able to set up your business to this level?

  • It was within a month, sir, to two, because as soon as we came in Voinjama so we started buying and selling cigarettes. It was there we started our business. As I have said before, Voinjama is a town that hosts marketing every one or two Fridays, so it was a very big opportunity for us to be buying and selling goods that people would want later.

  • Now, you have mentioned various units of the security forces in Liberia that were present in Voinjama. How were you able to distinguish between these different groups?

  • Well, all these groups have a very clear identification, sir. For example, the SODs, they were well dressed in black overall like with their rifles all the time and the SSS were dressed in a blue camouflage like or uniform like. The immigrations and the custom officers, of course they were dressed in civilian dress. That was how they were dressed. The ATU were dressed in this American like camouflage and the - I don't know if I have mentioned the RUF when I was naming these security groups because they too were part of the security there. They were also - they were having half camouflage and half civil shirt, but they could be identified by the way they speak because they are all Sierra Leoneans, most of them. All of them were Sierra Leone and they speak most of the Sierra Leonean tribes, Mende, Temne, any of the different tribes in Sierra Leone. They were very, very simple to identify.

  • Thank you. Now the ATU, did they have any other unit or sub-unit within them that you were aware of?

  • Yes, sir. I later found to understand that they have a different group within the ATU that were called the Demon forces and these were the Special Forces for Chucky Taylor, their commander Chucky Taylor.

  • Can you give us that name again. What forces was it?

  • He is really Charles Taylor Junior, but that Chucky Taylor was the name that was famously used.

  • No, not that, Mr Witness, the name of the sub-unit within the ATU?

  • The Demon forces. This was how they called it.

  • Are you able to spell that for us?

  • D-E-M-O-N F-O-R-C-E.

  • Demon or something. I am sorry for the pronunciation. That was how they used to call them.

  • Now apart from running a shop did you engage yourself in any other activity?

  • Yes, sir, I did. [Redacted] - I'm sorry.

  • Your Honours, the witness has just mentioned a name. May I respectfully ask that that be stopped from the record.

  • Yes. The name mentioned by the witness, it is on page 20, line 5, should be redacted. Thank you.

  • You were going to mention somebody's name, Mr Witness. If you just try to go by the names on the list before you.

  • The person named number 1's boyfriend was a driver and he was driving for an NGO called Action Faim. So he invited me to be his assistance driver by then and I answered yes to that particular opportunity. So I was with that truck too, with him working together with the NGO. So while on this truck we used to go to Monrovia, Gbarnga - from Voinjama to Monrovia to collect the implement that Action Faim was using to dig holes or water well for displaced people and refugees. So I was engaged on this particular truck, sir.

  • So apart from going down to Monrovia, were you able to move around the area of Voinjama?

  • Yes, sir, we do. Not only Voinjama. We used to go to Kolahun, Foya to deliver these pump articles.

  • Thank you. Now what --

  • Is Action Faim spelt properly?

  • Pump, P-U-M-P. Water pump.

  • Your Honour, I think it's a French name.

  • Yes, I think that is correct.

  • Can you describe what was the atmosphere like in your business in the shop that you ran. You said you sold palm wine, you sold drinks as well. What normally was the atmosphere there?

  • Well, really, sir, my kiosk, it began with a very small table and developed to a very big or medium like business. People of all these backgrounds used to come there, buy palm wine, cigarettes, beer, stout, whatever they could meet on that particular place. So it was like a place where people could come and interact. Security forces used to come to this place and it was a very - it was a place where people got all type of information, because when anybody come, business people, security forces, civilians who are working, every type of people when they come, they discuss their present situation or the present situation that was going on there.

    So during, for example, when I was - when people, the security forces or the SODs, or it could be the ATU, the SSS, the SOD, the AFRC, RUF, when they come there they explain about the situation that is in Sierra Leone. The security forces of Liberia explains about the situation that is happening in Sierra Leone, that had happened in Sierra Leone and that is going to happen in Sierra Leone and the surroundings. So it was a very, very, very common place to get any type of information.

  • Now when you say they explained, who did they explain this to, these sorts of matters to?

  • They could discuss it within themselves and they could discuss it with us. I could have access to these informations, because sometimes when these security forces came there they command a lot of respect by explaining the issues that was going on. And when they come, for example if they want to drink palm wine or have a beer they could just force them to get it and when we are going - when you ask them for payment you could be beaten, or at the end of the day. So to avoid this type of harassment sometimes we offered - I offered them and when I offered them they start explaining about situation that is going on, or that will happen, or that had happened. So this was how I used to have most of the information.

  • So in the course of your business what sort of information came to your knowledge?

  • A lot of information, sir. For example, about if - for example, there was a time before - there was a time when a man came who was an RUF commander. His name was CO Victor. When Victor came I was at a friend's tailoring shop and he asked us to go and get some palm wine and have some discussion. But it was around 9 o'clock in the morning, so we went and bought the palm wine. We came very closer to my friend's tailor shop and we sat there. He started talking. He told us that he is here to recruit people to go and train in Gbarnga for four weeks and everybody could have - everybody who signed to this particular mission will have from about 500 to $1,000 and this money - half of this money will be paid to you before you go for this training and after the training you could get your balance money.

    So after the meeting - of course most of the discussion was about Sierra Leone war, how the war was going on and what they have intended doing, et cetera, et cetera. But Victor told us before we could sign to this particular contract we have to meet with the President's son who was Chucky, the man I called Charles Taylor Junior, sir, but I could have called him Chucky in this case.

  • Yes, continue.

  • So --

  • He said you had to meet with Chucky?

  • Yes, we have to meet with Chucky Taylor to sign the contract and it should have happened within a month.

  • Now, who was present on this occasion that you had a meeting with Victor, CO Victor?

  • CO Victor was with some ATU members, I cannot remember their names, and there was another officer called CO Vandi from the RUF, some SODs, of course, and their men.

  • Now CO Victor, what nationality was he?

  • CO Victor was a Sierra Leonean, sir, and CO Vandi was a Sierra Leonean. Both of them were RUF commanders.

  • Now, were they the only RUF personnel that you had seen in Voinjama?

  • No, sir, there were a lot of RUF members coming and going from Voinjama, sir. For example, after CO Victor have visited, because CO Victor usually come to Voinjama and there were a lot of RUF there of course, so any time General Mosquito came from Sierra Leone - for the first time I saw him in Voinjama and when he came, he went to Monrovia. After he came - after he went to Monrovia - because CO Victor has promised us that Chucky Taylor will come and those people who are going to sign the contract, we have to meet with Chucky Taylor first. So after General Mosquito went to Liberia on that same trip, when he was coming he was with Chucky Taylor and there was another AD called Campare, they said he was AD to the President, Charles Taylor, and many other people. There were some Arab people like and they came in some jeeps, some SUV and some trucks.

  • Can I pause for a while. First of all you said that at some point you saw Mosquito. Do you recall when you saw him for the first time in Voinjama?

  • Yes, sir, it was in September of 1998.

  • Right. You said he was heading somewhere. Where was he going?

  • He was coming from Sierra Leone and going to Monrovia, sir.

  • How did you know this?

  • Well, I knew this before he could come to Voinjama, because, as I have said before, when these security forces, these security personnel, come to my kiosk to drink or buy something, they have to explain everything that was going on. So I have got this information before he could come and that day in the evening, when they were coming with their convoy, I saw Mosquito.

  • Now, who was Mosquito, as far as you know?

  • Mosquito was the - well, the leader of the RUF, sir, by then.

  • You said he went to Monrovia and how long after that did you see him come back to Voinjama?

  • Well, it was within one or two weeks, sir, when they came.

  • And you said that on his return he came now in the company of a number of people.

  • Yes, sir, they came with a convoy. It was a convoy.

  • Can you just say again who were in this convoy that he came with?

  • In the convoy was Chucky Taylor and Campare, some Arab guys, I don't know their names, some ATU. This was the first time I really saw this - the demon forces of the ATU. This is how they call them, so if I use the name demon forces, I hope you can understand it. The demon forces, the special security group that always moved together with Chucky Taylor and some SODs, some SSS, different security personnel, RUF were there, some members of the AFRC and RUF, all these groups were there and these Arab looking guys.

  • How many of the Arab looking guys did you see?

  • I saw two Arab guys, sir. Two of them.

  • Now, you mentioned --

  • Mr Bangura, this Campare, we don't have a spelling, but also he appears in the transcript as described as an AD to the President. I don't know what AD stands for in the transcript.

  • You mentioned a name Campare.

  • I hope I am pronouncing it correctly. What was the name again?

  • He was Campare, sir.

  • Can you help the Court with a spelling, please? You don't have to write on that document.

  • Does the witness require a piece of paper to assist his memory of the spelling?

  • I don't think so, unless he specifically says so, your Honour. Your Honour, we have a spelling, but I would rather have the witness give a spelling because pronunciation might be slightly different.

  • C-A-M-P-A-R-E, but I would love the Court to have this, that the way I spell it may probably be the wrong way, but I spell it C-A-M-P-A-R-E, Campare.

  • And you say who was Campare?

  • Campare was a special protocol officer, the AD they used to call him, but I don't really understand, but he was said to be some.

  • Special protocol officer. When you say AD --

  • Yes, sir, A-I-D-E.

  • And who was he a special protocol officer to?

  • To the President of Liberia then, Charles Taylor, Mr Charles Taylor.

  • How did you know this?

  • I knew this because when he came, most of their personnel, their securities, that they came along with, within the two weeks they were within Voinjama they used to go to my kiosk and get drinks and so I got to know this information: The individuals, what was going on, what they were there for and everything, sir.

  • And you say within the two weeks they were there. Were they there for a period of two weeks?

  • Yes, they were there for some weeks, because they were there for more than one week, sir. So they were there for about two weeks.

  • Do you know why they were there for two weeks?

  • Well, they were there really, sir, to recruit people to go and get trained, undergo commando training in Gbarnga, and then go to Sierra Leone. This was their major reason for being there, sir.

  • How do you know this?

  • I knew this because they have confronted me several times and there were some refugees, some people in Voinjama I knew personally who signed this contract and went for this training. They had the money, as Victor has said before, and they come to my kiosk and bought drinks, bought things they would love to. They left some money with their relatives before they could go. So I get to know all this there and I saw it.

  • When you say you saw them, at what time did you see them? Was it before they went, after they had signed the contract? At what time after they signed the contract did you see them?

  • When this - before - when they got the money, when by then these officers were in Voinjama during these weeks.

  • It is not clear. Your answer is not clear. At what time after they had signed this contract did you see them, those ones who signed up to go for training and to go into Sierra Leone? At what point did you see them?

  • Before they could go for the training, sir, after they have signed the contract, they gave the money during these days, the days they come to my kiosk to buy drinks and other things. So I saw them and they did not just come and buy drinks. They even come with foreign cigarettes, rums, to my kiosk. I bought these rums and cigarettes from them. I was part of the things they gave to them. So after then they went and since they went I could never see them.

  • When you say you could never see them, do you mean you did not?

  • No, I did not see them again.

  • Thank you. Now, you said that you saw Mosquito and Chucky, Campare and others, in Voinjama again when Mosquito was coming back from Monrovia. Where exactly did you see them in Voinjama?

  • I saw them the last day after they have spent weeks in Voinjama. That day they were walking from the Mandingo quarter of Voinjama, because they were coming down the road that could lead you to Mandingo quarter, going down to the road that could lead you to Kolahun which could also take you to Sierra Leone. Their cars were parked very closer to my shop area, my kiosk, and down this road, while they were walking, their securities were by their sides. General Mosquito, Chucky Taylor, Campare, all of them were - Victor and other important people of the organisations were walking down the road towards their cars and on the way they were talking to people who were curious, like myself, looking at them to try to identify who these guys were. So Mosquito was talking to some of the Sierra Leone people. It was really that time I saw them walking and they went into their cars, their jeeps, and they drove towards Sierra Leone, sir.

  • How do you know they were driving towards Sierra Leone?

  • Because that is the road that could lead you to Sierra Leone.

  • Okay. Now, apart from - you mentioned CO Victor as somebody who came before you saw Mosquito in Voinjama. He came and invited you and talked to you about signing up to go and fight. Apart from that, did he do anything else in Voinjama? Was he doing anything else in Voinjama?

  • Yes, sir. CO Victor's primary responsibility was to recruit people to go - come to encourage people to go. Sometimes they encourage you, sometimes they forced people to go. In Sierra Leone they could arrest anybody. So after that particular incident, which was the first and the last one I saw when they come and offer money to people, the rest was forced.

  • When you say the rest was forced, what do you mean?

  • The other times the security forces, they used to just arrest people and take them to Sierra Leone, so they used to force people to go.

  • Which security forces are you referring to here?

  • I am referring to the SOD, sir. The SOD, the Liberian police soldiers, the RUF, et cetera.

  • How do you know that they were actually forcing people to go to Sierra Leone, how did you know this, arresting and forcing people to go?

  • I was in Voinjama and I had this place and I knew a lot of people who come there. Like I had influence over people, my business clients and so on, so there were - we are Sierra Leoneans and I was respected among our fellow Sierra Leoneans, sir, and when anything was going on, I could hear it. People could come and say, "What is going on?" Myself have been a victim of this several times. They have engaged this wickedness on me. So sometimes when this thing is happening people spread the information to others that they are arresting people, so we were able to hide ourselves until the tension has cooled down, before coming around.

  • Now, you said yourself you were a victim. They engaged this wickedness on you. What do you mean?

  • I have been arrested, my brother has been arrested, I have been harassed, I have been humiliated, because when Victor came for the first time when he was looking for people, those people who signed the contract and went for this training, after we could not see them we the rest refused to be a part of this particular system. We were subjected to contest molestation, looting, beating, arrest, detention, et cetera. So I was a victim of this particular situation and anything that was going on, it was absolute I could not ignore it, sir.

  • Now, apart from the fact that the RUF were in Voinjama to recruit, or to force Sierra Leoneans to go back and fight in Sierra Leone --

  • Mr Bangura, the witness did not say forced to go back and fight. He said to go back. To me it could mean forceful repatriation, because they are foreigners in someone's country.

  • I take the point, your Honours:

  • Mr Witness, when CO Victor made this proposal, this suggestion, the proposal to you that you should sign up on a contract, what was the focus of you being trained for if you signed up?

  • Well, the objective was people who signed to this contract will go to Gbarnga and have a commando training for four weeks and after the four weeks they would go to Sierra Leone and fight. This was their objective. We that refused to sign this particular - to go on this particular mission, we were subjected to constant - when I say constant, it was basically a daily intimidation. They will come to you, they will provoke a system that you will be arrested and when you are arrested sometimes we don't see people that were arrested. You could never see them. They will force people in their house, they will force people anywhere and take them to Sierra Leone to fight.

  • Thank you. Now, apart from forcing people to go train and to go and fight in Sierra Leone, did the RUF come to Voinjama for any other reason?

  • Yes, sir. The RUF were almost like any other security forces in Liberia and, for example, in Voinjama there is a grassy field there, there was an airfield, a local airfield. This airfield, it was at this airfield they usually come with logistics for RUF and so when they come some days they could be around when they got this - when they got these logistics. It could be ammunition - arms, ammunition and any other thing that they could need. When they got them from the airfield there, then they could take it to Sierra Leone.

  • Now, when you say "they", they could bring logistics, who are you referring to as "they"?

  • I am referring this to the member of the Liberian security and the RUF. I am talking about Liberia, sir, the situation that was happening in Liberia.

  • Yes, but how were these logistics brought to - you have mentioned the airfield and the grassy airfield. How was it brought to the airfield?

  • On one occasion, sir, I was in the truck coming. On that particular day there was an aeroplane with two propel wing. Inside this aeroplane there was a truck, some RUF cars, jeeps, off-loading these boxes, these ammunition boxes and other things that they had. They have explained it before, I knew it in Voinjama and every time this aeroplane comes people know, I usually know maybe. When these things are happening I sometimes hear about it two days, or three days, or even a week before it laps.

  • Okay, can I just pause you. You said - this is what has come up. You said there were jeeps inside the aeroplane. There was a truck there were jeeps and off-loading boxes?

  • No, not inside the aeroplane. At the airfield I said, I mean.

  • At the airfield. Now the aeroplane that you saw, was it in motion when you saw it, or was it standing there at the airfield?

  • The aeroplane was standing at the airfield and the trucks were by the aeroplane, off-loading these boxes from the aeroplane into the RUF vehicles at the airport, sir.

  • And you said these were logistics. How did you know what was in these boxes?

  • The same group who were responsible for this, for the transportation of these things, have been in my kiosk, they have explained about what is coming to happen and it was this same group that was receiving these logistics, as I have said, and it was these same people I saw there and they would take this logistics to Sierra Leone. That was the object.

  • How do you know that they took them to Sierra Leone?

  • Because they loaded - they have said it before it happened, before the aeroplane has come, and when they have loaded it they would drive it towards Sierra Leone. I was not a secret, sir.

  • Mr Bangura, what does "logistics" mean?

  • Your Honour, I will get him to explain again, but I believe in earlier part of his testimony he had given some examples of what logistics were:

  • What were the logistics that you refer to?

  • When I say "logistics" I mean the arms and ammunition, or the other things the RUF could need in Sierra Leone.

  • Do you know of any other things that they needed or that came through these means?

  • Yes, they used to call it morale booster and that means something like alcohol, cigarettes, or any other thing that they could give to the soldiers, or that they could use for any operation.

  • Thank you. Now apart from this one occasion when you saw an aircraft standing at the airfield in Voinjama, do you know of other occasions when that aircraft, or an aircraft, brought logistics to that airfield?

  • Well, really, sir, that was the last time and the first time I saw this aeroplane. But on other occasions I could hear aeroplane that - aeroplanes coming with weapons for Sierra Leone and the guys who will come, the RUF fellows, or the SODs, or the SSS who were responsible for this particular operation, when they come and I could see the vehicles going back to Sierra Leone. So that was the last time I saw - I physically saw the aeroplane and the people off-loading those goods from there.

  • Can I just enquire, your Honour, when the witness says he heard, does that mean that he physically heard aeroplanes, or he was told by others about aeroplanes landing?

  • I shall clarify, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, you just mentioned that - the question was apart from the one time that you saw an aircraft at the airfield, whether you knew of any other occasions that the aircraft came there and your answer was that you heard about the aircraft, I believe.

  • No, Mr Bangura, don't give evidence. Read the script.

  • Can you just go over your answer again about what you heard when the question was was this the only occasion? Can you just say again what you --

  • Okay, thank you. When asked if that was the only time I saw the aeroplane, or I saw, I said I physically saw the aeroplane once, but I heard that the aeroplane - an aeroplane is coming with logistics for Sierra Leone and I never see the aeroplane any other time, but sometimes if you are in the very small community and there comes an aeroplane you could hear the noise of it and I would hear some of the security guys saying that there is an aeroplane that would come with logistics and when they come they are taking the supply to Sierra Leone. They could say that at my kiosk.

  • Now when you say you could hear the aeroplane, what did the sound that you heard indicate to you?

  • The sound of the plane, you will hear it.

  • Okay, thank you. Now apart from the time that you saw Mosquito come into Voinjama en route to Monrovia and when he returned, apart from that did you see him on any other occasion in Voinjama?

  • No, those two times were the last time I saw Mosquito, but in March of 1999 I heard, it was a rumour - it was in May of 1999 I heard that Mosquito was fired, was shot, and he was in Gbarnga for medication. And by then Chucky Taylor was in Foya. Foya is the last big town that is very close to Sierra Leone and Liberia, that he was in Foya with weapons for Sierra Leone and Guinea. By then Mr Mosquito was fired, but they said it was a minor injury and he was in Gbarnga for medication, sir.

  • Did you see him on this occasion?

  • No, sir, I never saw him.

  • Now you mentioned earlier that when in your business in the shop if you did not - the security forces who came there sometimes would take --

  • Sorry, Mr Bangura, sorry to interrupt, but when the witness says, "He was in Foya with weapons for Sierra Leone", he is referring to Chucky Taylor?

  • Yes, ma'am. Chucky Taylor.

  • You mentioned something about security forces coming to your shop and taking things without paying. Is that right?

  • How frequently did this happen?

  • Almost every day, sir. Almost every day. Almost every day. Sometimes they call it war effort. So when they come to the kiosk if they don't have money they would drink just the same as when they have money and they could only pay sometimes if there are other people who could ask them to pay, you see. And if you refuse giving them these things then it could be a licence for them to arrest you, take you to the police station or their base and you will be punished.

  • Now, you said you had been a victim of harassment by the security forces. Is that right?

  • On what occasions were you harassed by them?

  • I have been harassed for so many times and some of these harassments were not just because they wanted to come and harass me. Some of this harassment was because of - on several occasions because when they come to get people to go to Sierra Leone, when there is tension in Sierra Leone, when there is war in Sierra Leone, they will hunt civilians and when they hunt you down, or sometimes they will come and try to encourage people, because this was - as I have said before, this was the primary responsibility of Victor. Always when Victor comes sometimes he encouraged people, sometimes they could just arrest anybody on the street and take you to Sierra Leone. Sometimes they will encourage people to go and get a training to go to Sierra Leone. So we that refused to this particular idea, we were under constant intimidation and I have suffered that a lot, you see. So on most occasions when these things are happening I have to go in hiding.

    So there was a time in February, it was just about some days after my birthday, they came to my kiosk, they really came there to arrest me, but I was not there. My younger brother was there and he was arrested. They looted my shop. They took away everything that I had there, my money, my businesses, everything, and took my brother away. My brother was at the police station. So my wife contacted me to where I was living, I was sleeping by then. So she went there and she told me I should not go home. I should not go to the kiosk. I said why. She said a lot of securities are around today and they have went there, they have arrested my brother.

    So I told her to go and call the person named 1 on this list so that she could help us, because she was our - she was like our mother in everything. So she came, my wife came with her and we explained the situation to her. She went and asked her uncle and they went to the police station. There they met the officers - the deputy officer who was in charge at that particular moment and negotiated the release of my brother, but before that could happen they demanded me. They said my brother would never be released except I have to go to Kailahun or Sierra Leone to go and fight in Kenema. So I could not come there because they told me - I knew if I go there I will be forced to go to Sierra Leone.

    So what they did after all the conversation, all the negotiations, was that we could give money for the release of my brother, which we did, and the next day I gave my brother transport and he left for Monrovia. Then myself - me and my sister-in-law's boyfriend, went to Kolahun and we stayed at the Kolahun refugee camp too because it was very much safer there for us.

  • Now, the boyfriend of your sister-in-law, is he one of the persons named on the list?

  • What number is he?

  • He is number 2 on the list in front of me here.

  • Now, which of the security forces arrested your brother?

  • I wonder - and I hesitate to interrupt my learned friend, but the evidence to date regarding this incident when the witness's brother was arrested is that it occurred in February, days after his birthday. It would be helpful to know a year.

  • It was in the year of 1999, sir.

  • Now, which of the security forces had arrested your brother on this occasion?

  • Well, on this occasion it was the - when the person - the person number 1 on this list went, they went to the regular police and it was the deputy police officer who was there. So he could have been arrested by the Liberian police.

  • Thank you. Now, you said after this incident you yourself and the person named number 2 left Voinjama. Is that right?

  • Yes.

  • Where did you go to?

  • We were forced to leave Voinjama because of the present situation that was there. So we went to Kolahun and we were living at the refugee camp there, Camp 2, in Kolahun.

  • Did you say Camp 2? Is that the name of the camp?

  • Yes, it was the name of the camp. There were two camps there. They had Camp 1 and Camp 2.

  • Okay. And how long were you at the camp in Kolahun?

  • Well, we were there until Voinjama was attacked, sir. 7 April is my daughter's birthday, so we were - me and my - me and the person named number 2 was in - I was in Voinjama to celebrate my daughter's birthday. So we were there about some days. We went back to Kolahun. So a week later Voinjama was attacked and while in Kolahun that morning hearing this news, so we managed to get a car and we came towards Voinjama. There was a village very closer to Voinjama and there we met our family and they were fine. So we decided to go back to Kolahun, but other people, the group, we argued and my wife said we should go to Monrovia, not Kolahun, so we get a truck, one WFP truck that were carrying food and people by then, with thousands - plenty of people who were in Voinjama after the attack forcing their way out, so we all on boarded this truck towards Gbarnga, sir. On that same day --

  • Just before you move on --

  • Thank you.

  • -- you mentioned that there was an attack on Voinjama.

  • Did you know who attacked Voinjama?

  • No, they were unknown armed men. I never knew who they were. I could not know.

  • And did you know how long this attacked lasted?

  • Well, according to my wife she said it was in the morning they heard firings, serious firing, and the attack took place from then to about 8 to 10 o'clock in the morning, because according to her, after the rebels who had come with this firing in Voinjama, some security forces in Liberia went and start fighting against them with some RUF rebels. So after the war was over in Voinjama, it was then we had the opportunity to pass through Voinjama and go to Monrovia, sir.

  • Earlier you mentioned after your shop was raided you and your brother were arrested, you left Voinjama and moved to Kolahun and that was because you felt safer in Kolahun. Why did you feel safer? Why did you think you would feel safer in Kolahun?

  • Well, in Kolahun refugee camp there were a lot of NGOs there, sir, and according to my understanding then it was established to the Liberian security that the refugee camp should be respected and they never went to the refugee camp that openly to arrest people there and there were thousands of refugees there, more than hundreds of thousands of people, Sierra Leonean refugees, so it was very safe to be among people that you could identify yourself with. While in Voinjama we were subjected to all this humiliation, so it was very, very peaceful for me living there and doing my business, sir.

  • Did you register as a refugee?

  • Yes, sir, I was. I was registered with the UNHCR.

  • At what point did you register with the UNHCR?

  • I was registered from the beginning. From the day we entered into Liberia I registered to the organisations that were taking care of refugees and I was in Kolahun refugee camp. I registered there as a refugee. I was a registered refugee since then.

  • Thank you. Now, you said that the decision was taken not to go to Kolahun, but instead to go to Monrovia and you boarded a truck, a WFP truck, to go to Monrovia. Can you describe what happened along the way?

  • Well, there were thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Voinjama, sir. In that truck there were so many people that the truck could carry, of course, because people were fighting to just leave that place and that day we slept to Zorzor. There is a town called Zorzor. It is between Voinjama and Gbarnga on the Monrovia Highway. We came in the morning and we spent the whole night travelling and we had a break for some time in Zorzor.

    So after Zorzor, in the morning I was - we on boarded the truck and we were heading towards Monrovia Highway, the road that could lead to Gbarnga. So that morning, when we came at the St Paul River bridge, there was a checkpoint there, some kilometres to Gbarnga city, and at that checkpoint we were detained, because when you reached the checkpoint everybody has to get down the truck, or the car, or whatever means you are travelling with and go through security personnels.

    So at this checkpoint we were asked, we the men, to go on one way, the women and children one way, the people who were more elderly people, or above 40s, or something, or 50s, they were asked to go another way. They mostly concentrated on young people above 10 years and so. So when we went to this checkpoint we were detained there. So some of us, they carried us behind the Military Police office. We were there and among we that were there, some people, some security, will come and try to - were asking some people that could return back to Voinjama, or some people who could volunteer to go and fight, or something. So we - me and/or we that refused returning back to Voinjama, we were placed behind this MP office.

  • Okay, let me just pause you, Mr Witness. You said that you were taken behind the Military Police office and you said some security personnel came. Can you be very clear what they were proposing to you? It is not all that clear.

  • Yes, sir, they were asking - because we were plenty. We were so plenty. So you have to go through the line and any individual who meets these guys, they ask you this question that you should go back to Voinjama, because you are going to Voinjama area, when you go there this is the same campaign they have been running since I was in Voinjama, sir. The security people will not ask you to go and get them water. They ask you to go and be a part of the fight or the campaign they were engaged in. We knew that very well. So if you refused going there it means you are like an opposition to them, so you will be subjected to any type of cruelty.

  • Yes, but on this occasion they would ask you or they asked you if you wanted to - if you were going back to Voinjama and if you said no what happened to you?

  • Then they will force you, or they push - we that refused going there. For example, when I told them I have my wife and my younger brothers and my daughter so we are going to Voinjama - to Monrovia, they said, "No, you are going back to Voinjama." "No, sir, I am going to Monrovia, sir. I have my family. I must go with them." "Okay, then you could go and sit over there with the other people." So everybody in that particular group had the same story about not going back to Voinjama.

  • Now, the group in which you were, could you say roughly how many of you were there in that group?

  • There were plenty people there, sir. More than - we were plenty. We were more than 50. I could not estimate the number.

  • And did anything happen after you had been screened and put in one group? Those of you who decided not to go back to Voinjama, did anything happen to you?

  • Yes, sir, a lot of things happened, sir. So while we are sitting on the ground behind this office, after some time there came three Range Rover jeeps and one jeep, one SUV jeep. So inside there was Chucky Taylor and his Demon boys. So they came, Chucky Taylor was - he seems to be very, very angry. He was dressed in his combat trouser and having some muffler tied on his head. In his hand was a very large pistol, a silver pistol I could remember well, and we were all seated, me, my friend, the person named number 2 and so many other people and two more people I could - three more people I could recognise - two more people I could recognise from this list were among this particular group.

  • The person named number 3, the person named number 4. The person name numbered 5, I later saw him in Gbarnga at the detention place, the police station where they took us later, but before I go there, sir, I would love to explain what happened at the checkpoint.

  • Yes, sir, okay. So at this point at the checkpoint you had with you the persons named number 2, 3 and 4. Is that correct?

  • And at this checkpoint when Chucky came he was very angry, so he was having the pistol in his hand and he was walking across the people. We were seated at the back of the MP office, but there were a lot of women around, our wives, our sisters, our relatives, people that were in that particular group, the men that were in that particular group, the relatives of us. So they were there waiting for our release.

    So when Chucky came he was angry and he started shouting against the soldiers that he doesn't want to see these women around, they should drive them away. So they pushed them off, they drive them off and we that were sitting on the ground, he came - he went directly to us and he stood in front of us and said he heard that there are rebels and Kamajors among us and that for your best you should stand out of this group. You know, it was like intimidating us, trying to terrorise us, or trying to get something from us. And by proving his anger or --

  • Can you just pause. Can you go over again what he said?

  • He said, "I have heard that there are Kamajors and rebels among you guys here and for your best just stand outside of the group." So he was trying to psyche, or something, people from within this group we were sitting.

  • Okay. And then did anything happen after that?

  • So there was no movement. Nobody could get outside. So then he pointed out four people, including the person named number 2 on this paper in front of me, and he shot them with his pistol on their head. Then all of them were lying down dead in front of the group. So we were all panic and my dear friend was one of them that was killed. So after some time he asked his men to take away the corpse and they took them down the bridge, the St Paul bridge, to the very big river. So they took them, they cut the head off the guys and brought the heads - one of the heads was hanged on the car and the other on the checkpoint. So --

  • Now just before you move on, you said when he asked that those who were Kamajors or rebels amongst you, when he asked them to step out, step forward, and nobody did, he then pointed to four people?

  • And after he pointed at these four people, what happened before - up to the point that he shot them?

  • The people, he just pointed his fingers on them and called them outside of the group. So when they came they were in front - they were kneeling down in front of him, so he shot them. This was a demonstration for us, the rest, to know how serious he was, sir, and it was very, very frightening.

  • Now you said he shot them on their head. Did he shoot all of them on their heads?

  • Yes, he killed them, yes, sir, in front of us.

  • And you said the corpses were taken down the bridge, the river, and the heads were --

  • Were cut off and they hung the heads on the checkpoints and one of them on one of the cars.

  • Now you said one of your friends got killed. Which one of these friends?

  • The person named number 2, sir, on this list in front of me.

  • Thank you. Did anything happen after this?

  • Yes, sir. While they have done this and he asked his men to tie the rest of us and we were then - we were then stripped naked and we were tied on both arms. Like, for example, they tied the one hand with a rope and they have to force this hand behind your back so that it could meet with the other hand. And they would tie both hands so that your chest would get outside like the way I am demonstrating here and you could be in this position while both elbows have touched each other at the back. And when they tied you in this form, then they have to tie your feet from the ankle and when they tie it from the ankle they would take that feet and bring it to your neck. They will force them to your neck and the rope that is connected from your ankle will pass through under the rope that is connected on your elbow and they will extend that same process to the top of your arm towards your shoulder. We called this type of tie a tie-bay in Sierra Leone or in Liberia. This is the local way we call it, tie-bay.

    So they will tie-bay you and then you would be in this circle form where your foot - your feet would be on your shoulder and your hands would be together like this. Then you would be in this uncomfortable position until later like this, sir.

  • Just before you move on, this word "tie-bay" - your Honours, I am not sure whether it has been spelt in this Court before, but are you able to spell it?

  • We have had a reference but I don't think it has been spelt and I don't recall hearing it in this context.

  • Are you able to spell it?

  • It's T-A-I-B-Y, something like that. Tie-bay.

  • And also the witness was demonstrating. I will try and record it. He had his elbows or his arms akimbo and to the side and towards the back and his chest was protruding and he also indicated the back of his neck where his feet were brought.

  • Your Honours, may I just clarify the position of the feet?

  • You said the feet would be tied at the ankle and they would be brought up to your shoulder. Are you saying they were brought up forwards or backwards?

  • No, no, backwards. They would force them behind your back so you would be in this circle form. So your head would be like - you would be --

  • In this state - are you able to stand up by yourself in that state?

  • No, you could no. You could not able to stand up. You could not able to sit. You have been circled. They have tied you. They have made you to become an O form or a Q form. So, you could not able to sit. You could not able to do anything. You could - you have to be in this type of position that you cannot even know how you are feeling.

  • Okay. You said you were tied. Apart from you the other people - you said there were quite a number of you. Were the others tied as well?

  • Yes, sir, everybody, most of the guys that were there. We were more than ten or 15 that were tied and they loaded us - they packed us inside the vehicle, because they have to throw us inside the vehicles, and they drove us away to Gbarnga, sir, the police station in Gbarnga. When we reached Gbarnga they put us in the cell in Gbarnga, but the rope that were tied on our feet we were loosing and they also slacked the rope on our elbow, but you could still have your arm - your elbow closer still in this position as I am demonstrating, you see.

  • You then got to Gbarnga. What was the situation when you arrived at Gbarnga?

  • When we reached Gbarnga, as I have said, they released the rope a bit and we were taken to the cells and there were so many other Sierra Leoneans, this time both men and women, girls, small boys, in these cells. Some of the cells were very, very small cells with more than ten or 15 people, or more than 20 or 50 people in one of the cells. So we were there until in the night and in the night after Chucky came, this time he came with Campare and with three or more jeeps or as usual. They took us outside.

  • Now it is not clear when you say "as usual". You wanted to tell us about jeeps, but then you say "as usual". What is usual?

  • Okay. What I mean by "as usual" was the way they took us from St Paul bridge to the Gbarnga police station, sir. So after they came, because the ropes on our feet were loosing and they forced us to go across the road, the main highway that could lead you to Monrovia from Gbarnga, where the vehicles they were inside were standing. So when we reached across the road, we went across the road towards the vehicle, so they started tying people again and I start fighting against.

    So it was the time Chucky Taylor came and hit me. They forced me on the ground. Then he tied me himself. He tied me on my - as they did, the same way with the same rope that they used to tie me with because they just slacked the rope, something like that. So - and they loaded us again inside their jeeps. Then they drove us to this camp that I could call the Gbatala camp.

  • Sorry, Mr Bangura, but we have been told the tape is now more or less finished and we should take the mid-morning adjournment.

    Mr Witness, we have an adjournment now of half an hour. We will resume court at 12 o'clock.

  • Yes, ma'am.

  • Please adjourn court until 12.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Mr Bangura, when you are ready please proceed.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, we shall continue with your testimony. Now we were at a point where you had been loaded up on a jeep, you had boarded a jeep or vehicles at the police station at Gbarnga, and you were heading out of that area to somewhere else. Is that correct?

  • Yes, sir. Thank you.

  • And you said Chucky Taylor had come to the police station along with Campare, is that right?

  • Now, let me just ask you about Campare. Did you get to know what his nationality was?

  • Well I later understood that he was a Gambian, sir.

  • Thank you. Now after you had boarded these vehicles, where did you go to?

  • They took us to Gbatala base, sir.

  • And how did you know that that was the place that you were taken to?

  • Well that night, that night when they already were in Gbatala, sir, Chucky Taylor told his men - they took us from the jeeps and we were all seated on the ground, but still we were tied. They loosened the ropes on our feet and Chucky said to his men that they should take us to the cave and - they should take us to the cave and they should show us how it is when we refuse to do what they want us to do.

  • But the question was - your Honours, I see "cave" coming up spelt something quite different.

  • Is the witness using the ordinary geographical phenomena - not phenomena, but thing called a cave?

  • That is what I understand, but let the witness clarify.

  • Yes, sir, the cave. It is like a pit, sir.

  • Now when you use the word, the word you used where Chucky said you should be taken to, what is that?

  • They should take us to the pit. Put us in the pit.

  • You used the word "cave"?

  • Can you spell that?

  • Yes, sir, C-A-V-E.

  • Thank you. Now, my question really was how did you know that this place where you were taken to was Gbatala base? You said you were taken to Gbatala base. How did you know it was Gbatala base?

  • Yes, sir, I never knew the place was called Gbatala, but when we were taken to the pit in the swamp, in the swamp there was a pit there. This pit there was dug, cemented inside and it was a deliberate place to keep people. Inside this pit it was like the - the pit was dug in a rectangular form with about three feet depth, two and a half inches deep and three feet wide and the length was about three feet, so a bath tub like so --

  • Let's be clear. You were trying to give a description of the pit which you first called a cave, but it actually was a pit, is that right?

  • Yes, sir, it was a pit.

  • And you said the pit - you were describing the size of it, is that right?

  • And you said it is rectangular in shape?

  • And what is the length that you gave?

  • The length was about three and a half feet something. It was a half grave form, a half grave form, just like the bath tub where you can take bath. So, inside it the length was about three and a half feet and then the size of it - the width of it - is about two and a half inches and then the depth of it is about two.

  • Are you talking about inches, or feet, in terms of the width?

  • Well I am talking about feet, sorry. It is a place that was built so that you could not sit inside comfortably, because it was a very small place and inside there it was cemented. It has a bar, or a door like form. On this door, or bar, that covered the pit there was barbed wire on top of it, so if you sit inside there you could not able to lift your head up as you could sit - as I am sitting inside this chair, so this barbed wire will have to touch your head and you will be forced to be in this form while I was tied. So - and inside there there was dirty water, very smelly or nasty water, and inside this pit there were human remains inside - dead people. Of course, there were dead people outside the area where this pit were. There were many, many pits. So we were forced inside this place, sir.

  • Now, how many of these pits did you notice?

  • Well I could not count, but it was many. It was many.

  • And you were placed in one of these ones?

  • Yes, I was placed in one of these pits together with the other men. By that night we were about 10 to 15 - I don't know exactly how many in number, but we were about that - and it was night so we had to hold on ourselves while going down this swamp area so when we reached every individual has to go inside a pit. During this time we were still beaten. They were chucking us with our guns.

  • Now, what do you mean when you say "chuck"?

  • It was like forcing us with their guns. Sorry, forcing us with their guns.

  • What part of the gun was used to force you?

  • The muzzle. The muzzle of the gun.

  • And this place where you were taken to where you said there were the caves, in relation to the point where the vehicles stopped and where you were taken off the vehicles, how - what is the distance from the pit, the cave, to where the vehicle stopped and you got of?

  • It could be about 150 metres, sir. It could be about 150. It was outside the camp to the place where the vehicles were. We had to walk and go into the swamp, across the swamp, almost within the edge of the swamp where the pits were, so when we reached there it was a very open place and everybody - they forced every one of us into individual pits.

  • Were you alone in the pit in which you were put?

  • Yes, I was alone, but there was a dead body inside, a skeleton, or human remain, was inside rotting and there was water inside. In this pit I was tied. Since I came I was tied and when I lay down inside I could not able to stretch my feet and I was in this form. Then there was water, some very nasty water and the water could stop on top of my chin or something like this.

  • Where, up to what level did the water rise?

  • Up to this level to my face. I could have to lift my head. If I don't do that then I could drink the water.

  • For the purposes of record the witness has indicated with his hand on his neck to indicate the water level.

  • In the half lying position.

  • Yes, because, as I have said before, the pit is just like when the bath top - we could take bath with inside here, so if you put water in and you lie down that water has to be on this level if you are lying down, or you are in this form lying down. It is not a circle pit or cylinder pit. It was a triangle form like pit.

  • Did you say "triangle"?

  • Did you use the word "rectangle" before?

  • A rectangle form, sorry.

  • Mr Witness, did you say the word "bathtub" or "bath top"?

  • Bath top, B-A-T-H T-O-P.

  • What is that? What's a bath top?

  • Like in the toilet, in the bathroom there are --

  • Do you mean the big container where you take a bath?

  • Yes, ma'am, something like that.

  • It's a tub. It's a bath tub.

  • [Overlapping speakers].

  • I'm sorry, maybe I am using my --

  • Don't be concerned, Mr Witness. We understand now what you're saying. I just want to check if Defence counsel have been able to see the various gesticulations made by the witness.

  • I have, your Honour, yes.

  • So what happened after you had been put into the pit that night?

  • Well, that night we are still receiving punishment from the guards. Every one of them who came around have to beat us, stand on top of us, do a lot of things. The next day --

  • Sorry, I don't understand. While you are in the pit they were doing this?

  • Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am. While in the pit they have to come, because the pit, you have to be inside and it has a door like form with bar across on top of it and this bar, they will open it and close it and there were barbed wire on top of it in this form, so nobody - you could not able to open it for yourself, or you could not just get up out of the pit and go. So they have another bar that they pass through this place. It was a well-organised pit that was arranged to keep people inside.

  • Now the bar that you described, could it be lifted from inside the pit if you were inside?

  • Yes, if you are inside --

  • [Overlapping speakers] from inside?

  • Ys, if you could able to - if your hands are free you could able to draw one of the bar, because it was bar that were on this side, three bars, for example. So if you are lying down like here then you could able to force the bar and go out, then you could able to lift the door and get out of the pit.

  • What kind of bars are these?

  • It was iron. They were made of iron.

  • Metal bars. So you said while you were in the pit you were subjected to some other form of treatment?

  • They could come - they have their guns, so they will push the gun like this and hit you with it.

  • Now, did anything else happen that night?

  • Until the next - we continued receiving this punishment until the next day. So in the night they usually go, because the place was very uncomfortable I believe for themselves to be there. There were dead people and flies were all over the place. So they could only come and punish us and later go.

    So the next day when they came - for example, they will ask who want to eat something. If you say you want to eat something then they will bring this cassava stem. They will put that stem in hot - the stems could be so hot that when - they will force it into your mouth. You have said you want to eat something, they will force that stem into your mouth so it will burn the inside of your mouth, all your - that type of thing. And the next day --

  • Just pause. There has been several "they"s. If we can clarify.

  • I realise that, your Honour:

  • I will just ask you to say exactly what happened. Did you yourself ask that you wanted to eat something?

  • Yes, I answered to the question that I want to eat something and that was the food they gave to me.

  • And what did they give to you?

  • The cassava stem. You know cassava. Not the real cassava itself, but they will put that cassava into hot water, or fire so it could be very, very hot and when you say you want to eat something they will give you that particular cassava and you must eat it.

  • When you say "they", who are the they that would give you this?

  • The ATU. The ATU. Now we are in Gbatala and this Gbatala is controlled by ATU.

  • Now, did you look around - were you able to observe something about your surrounding the next morning, the next day?

  • Yes, the next day - we made an escape the next day, me and the person named number 3 on this paper in front of me. So he came from his pit. He was a little bit larger guy with muscles and when he came he was standing asking that he has - telling us that he has opened his pit and he is outside and who is ready to go. So I heard him and I told him to come and open my own place, "I will join you escape." So we made an escape.

  • Just before you move on, what time of the day was this?

  • It was the next day in the night. By then the security, or the ATUs have gone. So it was then that the person named number 3 on this list came, opened his place, came and started shouting that he has opened the place and his gate and he is going away, who could follow him. So I told him, "Come open my own place. I will join you, we will go." So we made that escape.

  • Mr Bangura, the witness said "the next day night". Does that mean the next day early in the morning when it was still dark, or does it mean the following night?

  • Mr Witness, you have heard the question. You arrived on a particular night and you spent that night, is that correct?

  • Yes, sir. We spent that night. We were there for the rest of the day, then in the night of the second day.

  • Thank you. That was the night that the person named number 3 came to you and told you that he could help you to go out?

  • That's correct.

  • Now, just before we go on to what happened after that, during the day of your second day, during the day, did anything happen?

  • Yes, sir. We have been beaten. They were melting - the food they came with inside those plastic - those rubber plates, after we have eaten it - they were forcing them to eat. One of the spoon - no, it was not that day, but they were melting - after we ate it they melt that plastic on us. You know, they would light it while they stood on top of this door like - they have to melt this plastic on us while they were beating us. So when the person named number 3 on this list in front of me came that night and asked who is ready to join him to escape, so I asked him to open my gate, or the door. He did.

  • Let's still talk about - you talked about plastic being melted and food. First of all, you said you were given food, is that correct?

  • Well, they asked who want to eat. I said I want to eat, but I cannot say that cassava stem is a food.

  • When you talk about food do I understand you to mean something else?

  • Yeah, we were hungry of course. I wanted to eat, because since we were arrested we have had no food, no water, anything of such. So when they ask who want to eat something, I answered that I want to eat. Others answered. So we that answered, that was the food they give to us.

  • Now, you said plastic then was melted and can you explain exactly what they did to you?

  • Yes, those plastics were melted on us while we were still lying inside this pit.

  • How was it melted on you?

  • They put fire on it, this rubber plate form, plastic plate. So they have to put fire on it, they light it then they would manage it until fire is on it, then they will start dropping it on our skin. I have all these marks all on my body.

  • Then this was on the second day during the day, is that right?

  • Mr Witness, are you saying that on these plates was not real food?

  • No, ma'am, it was not real food.

  • But they made you eat these sticks?

  • Yes, ma'am, they forced us to eat it and it was so hot that when you put them into your mouth it burnt inside your mouth. It burst all your tongues and every part. Your mouth will be swollen and the rest of it.

  • Apart from the plastic plates that were melted and dropped on you, did anything else happen before you escaped on the night of that day? Did anything else happen?

  • Yes, the beating continued and that night - that day it was just the punishment that we were subjected to until the next day - the night we made an escape, me and the person number 3 on this list.

  • Now how was it possible that this person number 3 on the list, how is it possible that he came out and was able to get you out that night?

  • Well, he was in his own pit, a different area, I could not tell directly, but he managed to open his own gate, the door to his pit, he managed to open it and when he got outside it was then he shouted, or he asked who - he told us, "No bodi no de ya", for example, in Krio and said --

  • What did he say again in Krio?

  • He said, "No bodi no de na ya. Den don go. A don lus mi sef. So udat want fo fala mi." It was the person on this number 3 that said so.

  • So what did that mean?

  • It means, "They have gone, nobody is here, who wants to escape with me. I am going, I have opened my own pit." So I was inside my own pit and I told him, "Okay, come and open my own gate." Then he did and I asked him to loose my rope, or to untie me, so he did. Then we made an escape.

  • When he said nobody was here, that they had gone, who was he referring to?

  • He was referring to the securities, the ATU guys who were guarding, who were around.

  • Do you know why they left?

  • It was raining and the place was very smelly, as I said. They themselves, they could not stay there for long.

  • And what happened after you were released?

  • Well, we made an escape. We travelled for the rest of the night, but we were just going around the camp. We were just going around the camp until we were arrested the next - the morning - for the rest of the night we were just travelling. We were hoping that we could reach somewhere where we could make a successful escape, but we were unfortunate and we were arrested again that morning. So they took us back to the camp and by then they took us to Chucky Taylor.

  • Now just before you continue, who arrested you?

  • And then you were brought to Chucky Taylor, you said?

  • Yes, sir, we were brought back to the camp. We were naked and they were beating us, every part of our body. They beat us so much that I could hardly see. My eyes were swollen. They brought us to the camp and we were seated in front of Chucky, and when he came he asked his men to go and get all the other guys from the pit and that he is coming to teach us lesson. It was then that it happened for me to know the name of the place. So when they came with other guys he was addressing us that this Camp Gbatala nobody could make an escape and if anybody made an escape you could be killed, and that he is coming to kill the person - he is coming to kill the person named number 3. So, whilst standing they were still beating us, the others came out of the pit. They stood in front of us. We were like this two of us and the other guys were about - behind us.

  • Mr Witness, when you say you were like this what are you trying to say?

  • We were in front of the other guys. We were in front of him, very closer to him, then the other guys were behind him and he was standing in front of us.

  • Were you standing up?

  • No, we were not standing up. We were all lying down on the ground.

  • By "him" you mean the person number 3, or Chucky? Closer to who?

  • No, the person number 3 and I was the one that made the escape, ma'am, and after they arrested us again they brought us to Chucky and Chucky asked his men to go and take all the other prisoners from the pit.

  • I understand that. I am just asking when you said, "We were standing very close to him", you mean who?

  • We were standing in front of Chucky, ma'am, your Honour.

  • And what happened next?

  • And when they came with the other guys, the other prisoners, the others from the pit, so it was then Chucky said - it was then he mentioned the name of this camp and he said anybody that made an escape from this camp they are going to kill them and that they were going to kill [redacted] because [redacted] --

  • Mr Witness --

  • Redact that name, please, from the record. That is page 75, line 22. Please use the number, Mr Witness.

  • Mr Witness, look at the numbers and use them.

  • Please continue, Mr Witness. We have dealt with the matter.

  • So, he was going to kill the person named number 3?

  • Right. So, did anything happen next?

  • Yes. So one of the ATU soldiers was standing and when he cocked his gun to shoot the guy it was then Chucky said, "No", they are going to cut the head off him and they should cut the head from the neck to the face. So, it was how they killed

  • [redacted].

  • Mr Witness, you have to look at the list and call the names by numbers.

  • Please can I have some moments? I am not okay.

  • Yes, we understand. When you say "some moments" do you mean you just want to sit there quietly, or do you --

  • I want to walk outside, please.

  • Please assist the witness. How long do you require, Mr Witness?

  • 10 minutes, ma'am.

  • 10 minutes. Five or 10 minutes, please.

  • Mr Bangura, have a seat. If it is five to 10 minutes, first of all the screens will have to go down and I think the Bench will retire. Please adjourn the Court temporarily and we will check on the witness after five minutes.

  • [Break taken at 12.28 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.46 p.m.]

  • I hope you are feeling a bit better, Mr Witness.

  • Yes, Madam, thank you very much. I am very sorry.

  • There is no need to apologise. If you are not feeling well you must inform us.

  • Thank you.

  • Thank you, your Honour:

  • We shall continue, Mr Witness. We stopped at a point where Chucky said no, not to shoot at this person named number 3.

  • So what exactly happened to this person named number 3?

  • So he asked them to behead him and they did. They cut his head from the neck towards the face.

  • Who did, who cut the neck?

  • One of the ATU soldiers. They were having a very big gun and a large knife and that was the knife they used to behead the person named number 3.

  • Before they beheaded this person named number 3, did he say anything?

  • Yes, sir, he did.

  • What did he say?

  • He pleaded for his life. He begged. We were all crying. We were all begging. He told Chucky that he would do anything he wants us to do and we said that, we begged, but they killed him.

  • After this incident did anything happen?

  • When they killed the person named number 3, they cut his head and we were still being beaten and later they took us back to the swamp. It was then he called the place name and he told us that anybody who made an escape, or attempt to make an escape, when they catch you you will face the same destiny as the person.

  • Then the rest of you, did anything happen to you?

  • Yes, sir. They took us back to the swamp where the pits were and we were then put into the pits. This time it was me and the person named against number 4 on my list. We were together. They put us inside the same - similar pit. Not the same pit I was inside, but a different pit. So they tied our hands against the barbed wire that was inside. So we were there and they were still punishing us.

  • When you said they tied your hands against the barbed wire that was inside, can you explain? Was there barbed wire inside the pit?

  • No, the barbed wire that they make the door like with, on top of the pit. When they put you inside then they have to close that particular gate like and our hands were above it. It was a cuff like - a plastic cuff like they could brace your hands with. So if you move your hand, the more you shake your hand, or you try to release it, the more it will tighten. So that day the spoon that felt - one spoon --

  • Just before you go on to that, when you say your hands, there are two of you. Talking about yourself first, was it both hands?

  • No, not both hands this time. One of my arm with one of the person named number 4 on this list in front of me and we are like this together so you could not - so you could have one free hand. One of us could have a free hand, but we are like this inside. The other fellow was like this.

  • Just for purposes of record the witness first demonstrated that his and the other person's hands were together and he put one hand above the other and he then demonstrated his hand and arm curved above his head. Is that an adequate description, counsel?

  • So just before you were sent back into the pit did you have an opportunity of looking around this whole area where these pits were?

  • Well, that day when they were taking us to the pits for this time it was daylight so you could see around while we were taken there and you could not - when we were inside this pit you could not see the surroundings because you are inside this hole, so - but we could able to talk. If somebody is talking - if somebody is from that other area you could talk and then you could hear his voice.

  • But on this day you were able to look around?

  • What was your observation of this area?

  • Well, there was cassava farm, something like cassava plants were around and it was like a swamp area, a wetland. So we were inside that and you could see dead bodies around. There were flies all over the place on the dead bodies. Plenty of them.

  • So once you were back inside the pit did anything happen?

  • Yes, that day in the night - the next night they came with some prisoners. One of them was an ULIMO - former combatant, a ULIMO officer, but he was a police officer by then.

  • Just before you continue, you said "that day" and then you said "the next night". Can we be clear about what time period you're talking about?

  • What was it? When was this? Can you just be clear about what you are saying?

  • The night of that day.

  • That is the day you were caught. The day that number 3 was killed. Is that correct?

  • Thank you. And you say on that night what happened?

  • On that night they came with some other prisoners. One of them was the person named number 6.

  • All right. You said this person was - you started talking about somebody being a ULIMO former combatant?

  • Yes, sir, and he was a police by then, so they came with him and his toes were chopped off. So when they came, after that night --

  • Now just before you continue, how did you know these facts about this person; that he was a ULIMO former combatant and a police officer?

  • I knew it after something was to happen. That was when he explained about himself.

  • Okay, continue then.

  • So that next day in the night when they came it was when the securities have gone, so it was the time he was out of his own pit and he was asking, "Who are the Freetown guys?", or something like that, because in Liberia they call Sierra Leoneans Freetown guys, Freetown men. So, he was asking that and he said when they were taking him along the commander and - the commander and Chucky are coming - the commander and Chucky were communicating that these guys are good for nothing and they should kill us. We should be terminated. So when he get outside, by then me and the person named number 4 on this list have taken this spoon to the --

  • Now just before you even go there, let's be clear about what this person said and what you say he heard.

  • He said he heard the commander and Chucky were discussing us, that they should terminate us. We are good for nothing.

  • And when you say terminate you?

  • It means they should kill us. They should kill us, sir.

  • And he said he heard that?

  • And then he - at this point he had released himself from his pit?

  • So me and the person named number 4 we were tied together, but there was a spoon in the pit. It was a metal like spoon, so we managed to break that spoon. So before this person named number 6 could come outside we have been trying to cut this cuff on our hand, so after he came we managed to cut this thing and we asked him to open the gate for us. So he did, because he was telling us that if we stayed there when Chucky and Campare are coming from Monrovia they are coming to kill us.

  • Now, you said that there was a metal spoon in your pit. How did it get there?

  • They brought some food, so --

  • So it was - when they were giving us that food, it was then the food fell down - the spoons fell down into the pit and so they never took it back from us.

  • But how were you fed with the food that they brought?

  • We were lying down. This pit, as I have said, as I have described this pit, it was a very small, tight place, and one of my friend was on me while I was on the other side. So when they put - they used that spoon to put that food in our mouths, so it was when that food fell down they never requested for it.

  • So, you are saying you were fed and you did not feed yourselves directly?

  • Yes, we were fed.

  • Thank you. What happened then? You were --

  • Then we used that spoon. We broke the spoon into two and inside this pit it was cemented so we were able to sharpen the edge of the spoon we had broken, and it was the spoon, the half of it, we managed to cut this cuff on our hand.

  • And the cuff was of what material?

  • It was plastic - a plastic like. So after we released our hands, then the person number 6 opened - drew the bars from the gate so we get outside and we made an escape, but he could not make it because his toes were chopped up.

  • When you say his toes were chopped up, what do you mean?

  • They cut the toes - the ten toes - of his foot. They cut them off and so he was having - he was having that pain. He could not able to walk as we could, so while we were making this escape through the swamp into the forest and after some distance, because during our escape I don't know if they were around, or whatsoever, so they started chasing us, we were running, so he could not make it like we could then. So we heard him shouting and we heard some gun shot and so he was killed, I believe that, and we continued our journey. We travelled that whole night. We hid ourselves in the forest - the rubber plantation forest - and so after we heard no noise we continued our journey in the bush. So - and this time we were just going around this camp. We were just going around this camp until daybreak. For the rest of the day we were there around in the afternoon, or evening.

  • At daybreak did you do anything?

  • Yes, so we were still trying to escape. We were on our escape route now. Our mind - because we knew if we were caught then we are going to be killed and so we were trying to take our time, but we don't know the place and we are just going around the camp until we just - there was a road. We tried to go across the road, because we were following this bush path, and we just met the group of soldiers, the ATUs. They rushed on us, arrested us again and started beating us. So my friend was fighting against - the person named number 4, he was fighting against them until they stripped us naked and took us again to the camp.

    So when we went to the camp by then Campare was there and Chucky and all the other guys, so they started beating us. They started beating us mercilessly. Everyone was kicking us, stepping on us, all these things, so Campare wanted to kill us. So it was then that I saw another man - another soldier - who was coming around saying to them that, "A message from Papay." So, Chucky received the message and came towards Campare. He was very, very angry and said, "Papay want to see these men." When he said "Papay", he was referring to Charles Taylor of course. So, he said he want to see these men. So, it was then they started beating us, they started melting candle wax on us, on our privates, on our buttocks and so on.

  • Can you just be very clear. They started melting what again?

  • Yes, candle wax, on our buttocks, on our privates, and the cigarettes they were smoking they were inflicting on our skin.

  • What exactly did they do?

  • The cigarette they were smoking they put it on our skin after.

  • They burned your skin with it?

  • They burned our skin with it and this candle plastic, putting this candle - they will light the candle and then they will have to put it on our feet so that it could inflict some pain in us.

  • What was put under your feet?

  • The candle. They will light it and the flame of it they have to put it under your feet so you could feel that burning pain on yourself, and the candle was also melted on us. So while they were crazy beating us this time it was then Chucky said they should go and take the other men, but it was only one man they came along with and it was the person named against number 5 on this list.

  • So, they came back with the person named number 5?

  • Now just before we move on from that point, you described various acts that they performed, various things they did to you. They burnt candle and dropped the wax on your body. They burnt - they lighted the candle and burnt your feet, the soles of your feet. Apart from that, what other parts of your body were affected by these marks?

  • All over my body. I was even stabbed on my leg. I was stabbed by Chucky with a bayonet on my left leg here.

  • You were stabbed by?

  • By Chucky. I still have the mark there.

  • During that period?

  • Yes, during that period. And one thing I could say also is that the day me and the person named number 3 on this list made the escape, or the day they took us to the place, that night they were firing behind us and so we were plenty, but that day when we escape when they brought these other guys who were with us there were just a few people.

  • It is not so clear. You are talking now of the person named number 3?

  • That was the first attempt at escaping you are talking about?

  • Yes. So I am trying to explain something that when we came the group, because we were plenty. I have said we were more than 10 to 15 people. So that day the person named number 3, when me and him made the first escape, after they brought the other guys to see where they were going to execute him so they were just few people. And this time after we made escape, me, the person named number 4 and the person named number 6, so the person named number 6 they killed him during the time we were making the escape, me and the person named number 4. So when they arrested us and brought us, me and the person named number 4, we two were the ones that they were beating when this message came so that Papay wanted to see us in Monrovia. And they were crazy, beating us, melting this plastic on us, this candle and other things, cigarettes, so it was then that they tied us again and blind folded us and loaded us inside the jeeps to Monrovia.

  • Now, you just said - I think you have said that twice now - that the person named number 6 was killed?

  • Yes, sir.

  • How do you know he was killed?

  • While we were escaping we heard him crying, shouting, you know? They arrested him. We were not far, it was just because it was dark so we could be able to hide ourselves that they never saw us, and they shot him. After that he could no longer shout or cry because he was killed, and we were told that he was killed that day and so after we came to the camp they did all the arrest things on us and they tied us and loaded us into the jeeps.

  • You were told that he was killed. When were you told he was killed?

  • They were saying it when we were arrested before they could take us to Monrovia.

  • And who was saying it?

  • The soldiers, the ATU guys who arrested us, that they were coming to kill us too.

  • Now, what was the reaction in the camp when there was news among the ATU soldiers? When news came that they had caught you, what was the reaction amongst them?

  • They were happy. They were happy. Every one of them were coming to see. They are coming to see us and they came and they beat us, every one of them, everybody.

  • Now, you said you were then to be taken to --

  • To Monrovia. How did this go?

  • After the message came that Papay wanted to see us in Monrovia, it was then they did all the beating, the plastic, the candle burning on us, all these things, and they tied us as they usually do. They tie-bayed us again, the same position, and we were loaded on the jeeps and then taken to Monrovia.

  • Your Honours, for the record the word "tie-bay", although it has been spelt by the witness, the Prosecution has actually adopted a spelling and, subject to argument by my learned friend, we would wish to offer a version that we normally use and that is T-I-E hyphen B-A-Y, tie-bay. It is one word, hyphenated.

  • It would appear you are invited to give a comment.

  • I am totally neutral on this, Madam President.

  • Thank you. Again it's a word we're not used to so we will accept that spelling.

  • So after you had been tie-bayed what happened next?

  • There was a hood that they blindfolded us with after they tie-bayed us and loaded us into the jeeps to Monrovia. We were going then to Monrovia.

  • Apart from being blindfolded did they do anything else?

  • Yeah, they've tied us.

  • Apart from that, anything else?

  • The punishment was still going on. We were loaded on the car. They were still punishing us, beating us, inflicting all this pain on us.

  • Were you able to cry out as a result of all of this?

  • Yeah, we were crying but sometimes you were not able to cry.

  • At some point was anything done to your mouth?

  • Yes, my mouth - as I said, my mouth was almost swollen and all these things.

  • What happened then?

  • Then they took us to Monrovia. We went directly to the President's compound, Charles Taylor's compound in Monrovia in Congo Town.

  • How did you know that you were at his compound?

  • I knew that after we were in BTC and when we were going there.

  • Say again. You knew that after you were in BTC?

  • What do you mean, what is BTC?

  • BTC is Barclay Training Centre, the headquarter of the AFL. It was a barracks, a military barracks.

  • A military garrison in Monrovia. But before we could go to BTC.

  • Okay. So you said you were taken to Charles Taylor's compound?

  • Where was this compound?

  • And what happened?

  • So when we reached Congo Town they opened the gates and Chucky and Campare, they were ahead of - they went inside the compound and they were directing the car inside. So when they went inside both of them - by then my own hood, the bag like or something that they blindfolded me with, has gone off while we were travelling on the road, so I could able to see around, and after some time Mr Charles Taylor himself came outside with some other people, some other officials.

    So they came and - because our mouth was Sellotape. So he walked directly to us and when he came it was then he asked one of the soldiers, one of the ATU soldiers who were guarding us inside the car that they should take this Sellotape from our mouths. So he did and after he did Mr Charles Taylor said if we are the guys that refuse to go to our country to fight when we are most needed and we never said anything.

  • He asked you?

  • Mr Charles Taylor was asking us this question.

  • If you were the guys who?

  • Who refused to go and fight in our country when we are most needed. So we could say nothing. After some moments then he asked if we are the Kamajors that are sent to come and overthrow his government. So during this time of the first - second question I was trying to say - I said no - I was trying to say something and we were looking ourselves, we were three, so later I said - we said we are refugees and we are registered refugees, we don't know anything about what he is saying.

  • You were not so clear about who said - you said "I" and then you said "we". So who answered back about being registered refugees?

  • All three of you answered?

  • All three of us were Sierra Leonean refugees.

  • No, it's not that. It is a question of who answered.

  • I answered, then my fellows gave the same answer. So we gave that answer that we are registered refugees and we do not know what he is talking about.

  • Did anything happen after that?

  • Then he said, "Well, if you are refusing to say the truth they are going to take you guys to the beach and we kill you and they are not going to fire you, they are going to use the knife to cut your head." So after some time Campare was standing by his side and the other officers were standing by the other - behind them, like this by the side. So he tapped Campare on the shoulder. So it was the time Campare and Chucky and the other guys - we were still inside the car, we were trying to go out of the gate. So it was then one of the officers that were standing said the killing - they should not kill us, "The killing should have been done where they are coming from, not here. We need to have information from these guys." So the vehicles slowed down and they told them to take us to BTC.

  • Just before you move on, you said one of the - did you say one of the officers said the killing --

  • That you should not be killed?

  • When you say officers, do you mean one of the soldiers there?

  • No, no. It was the defence minister. I could recognise him after - when they came to release us, that was the time. Because when I saw him when he uttered the word, so I knew he was Daniel Chea and when he came it was then that he introduced himself to us that he is Daniel Chea.

  • At that stage where this person spoke and said that you should not be killed, that is where we are at the moment. So, as you said, this was one of the officers and you say - he wasn't a soldier, was he?

  • No, he was not.

  • And he said you were not to be killed and what was the reason again?

  • Yeah, because he said they should get information from us.

  • And he said if you were to be killed, can you go over that again?

  • He said if we were to be killed the killing should have been done where we were coming from and they should take us to BTC so that they could get information from us.

  • Before you go on, Mr Bangura, the witness said "three of us", at page 91, line 18. But I had earlier heard number 4 on the list and the witness. I am not clear if there is two or three.

  • Mr Witness, how many of you came from - were brought from Gbatala to Monrovia?

  • We were three. It was me --

  • When you say three, name the three.

  • It was me and the person named against number 4 that made the escape, after the person number 6 was killed. So we were just two when this message came. So before they could take us to Monrovia they asked - Chucky asked his men to go and collect the other men. So it was only the person named against number 4 that they came along with so he joined us --

  • The person named number 5. The person named against number 5 was the only person that they took from the pit and he was the only person that joined us and we were then three.

  • So you were yourself, the person named number 4 and the person named number 5?

  • Thank you. Can you tell us what the nationalities of these persons were, the person named number 4 and the person named number 5?

  • They are all Sierra Leoneans and we were all refugees.

  • What about the nationality of the person named number 6? Did you know?

  • The person named number 6 was a Liberian and he was the former ULIMO and a former police officer by then.

  • Thank you. Now, let us go back to the place where you were taken to. You said the residence of Papay?

  • Mr Bangura, sorry to interrupt. The person who said, "Well, if you are refusing to say the truth they are going to take you guys to the beach and we will kill you and they are not going to fire you, they are going to use the knife", who said that?

  • I will get the witness to say, your Honour.

  • It was Mr Charles Taylor, ma'am.

  • Now, can you describe this place where you were taken?

  • No, not BTC. Your Honours, just a moment. This place at Congo Town?

  • Yes, Congo Town was where the President was living, his residence in Monrovia.

  • How did you know that that was where he was living?

  • Well, we were told it was Congo Town because - and that area when we were there we could hear the sea, the noise of the sea, and it was Congo Town. I never knew it was Congo Town before, but after we - they were taking us to the place, we knew it was Congo Town.

  • When did you know that this was where the President lived? Was it before you were taken there or after?

  • After we were taken there.

  • Now, that evening did you have any sense of time, about what time you got there?

  • It was late in the night, because we travelled from Gbatala, it was around in the evening when we left Gbatala to Monrovia. So before we could reach to Monrovia it was dark. I don't know, but it was late in the night, midnight or something.

  • Can you say anything more about what you observed about this place you were taken to, this residence?

  • Yeah, it was a compound. The building was fenced with high - there was a big gate and it was fenced right around. Inside you could see some of the securities around and you could hear the ocean.

  • Now, Mr Taylor himself, when he came out, in what - how did he appear, in what attire was he?

  • He was having some casual dress, some evening dress. He was not officially dressed with coat and tie or something, no.

  • And you said he came out with some officials, is that right?

  • Yes, that's correct.

  • Were there many of them?

  • Yes, sir. There were more than four.

  • This person who said that you should not be killed, was he one of them?

  • Yes, he was one of them. He was standing behind the President and they were standing like this. He was very closer to him. The other side of the President was Campare who was standing there and Chucky was around, so I could able to see him, recognise him by then, and it was him probably who saved our life.

  • You said this person you later came to know as Daniel?

  • And who was he, what position did you know him to be holding at that time?

  • He was the then defence minister of Liberia.

  • Now, after he intervened what happened?

  • Well, they took us to BTC instead of taking us to the beach to be killed. So they took us to BTC. When we reached BTC --

  • And BTC is, as you have said, Barclay --

  • Barclay Training Centre, something like that.

  • Thank you. Continue.

  • When they took us to BTC so we were out of the jeeps and the Chucky, Campare and the other ATUs, they went into the station like where the MPs were and in that building was where the cells were, so when they went inside they took us. So the MP commander then said no - because they took us there to put us inside the cell, the MP commander refused to take us. He said, "You should take these guys to where they are coming from, where they have been all along." So there was a serious confrontation between the MPs and the ATU boys. They beat the commander mercilessly. He was seriously beaten.

  • You said "the MP commanders". Who were the MP commanders?

  • The MP commander - the chief of that particular place by then he was the commander. That was how I learned it to know that he was the commander of that particular post, or cell, or something.

  • When you say "MP", do you know what that word means?