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

  • Please proceed, Mr Santora.

  • Thank you, Madam President.

  • Good morning, Mr Witness.

  • Yes.

  • Now, Mr witness, before I ask you any questions I want you to remember to speak slowly. It's very important that you speak slowly so that people can understand what you are saying, okay?

  • First of all, Mr Witness, can you state your name for the Court?

  • My name is Dauda Aruna Fornie.

  • Go ahead and spell your name for the Court.

  • D-A-U-D-A, A-R-U-N-A, F-O-R-N-I-E.

  • And do you go by any other name?

  • Yes, I have other nicknames.

  • Daf. Those are my initials, Dauda Aruna Fornie. I have another nickname that is Solution and then I have another which is Blue Diamond.

  • Okay. Now, just for the record you said D-A-F. Is that correct?

  • When were you born, Mr Witness?

  • And were you born in Sierra Leone?

  • Where in Sierra Leone?

  • Torma Bum, Bum Chiefdom, Bonthe District, southern region.

  • Just for your Honours just to note, this witness can spell and so I was going to defer spellings to him unless it has been on the record before.

  • Very well. That seems appropriate, Mr Santora.

  • Go ahead and just spell the name of your village that you were born in for the record.

  • Did you say Torma or Torma Bum before?

  • Torma is the village and Bum is the chiefdom.

  • Go ahead and spell the name of the chiefdom.

  • B-U-M C-H-I-E-F-D-O-M. Bum Chiefdom.

  • Did you have the opportunity to attend school?

  • How far did you reach in school?

  • I stopped in the fourth form.

  • Is that secondary school?

  • Where did you go to school?

  • I attended the Bo Government Secondary School, Bo.

  • So can you read and write?

  • And aside from Krio, what languages do you speak?

  • I can speak Mende and English.

  • When did you first come into contact with the war in Sierra Leone?

  • Some time around April 1991. That was when I was captured.

  • Where were you living at the time?

  • Well, I went for holidays in Torma Bum. On my way back to start my - to resume schooling was when I was captured around the Momajo area. That is between Torma Bum and Sumbuya area.

  • Can you spell the name of the location you just called out. Well, I think you said Momajo area?

  • Yes, M-O-M-A-J-O. Momajo.

  • And you said you were captured. Who captured you?

  • It was the rebels that captured me, the RUF rebels.

  • Describe what happened?

  • Well, I was going back to school from holidays when we were intercepted around Momajo area, almost entering into Momajo. That is Nimba 2, Mosquito, Sam Bockarie and others, Rebel King, they were - those people were among the group that captured me and from there they took me to a village which is Gandorhun Malain and I was put at the training base.

  • Okay. Did you say Gandorhun?

  • Now, you said that you were captured and you called out several names. First of all, when you say "we" --

  • Mr Santora, he didn't just say Gandorhun. He said Gandorhun something.

  • What was the location you called out? Gandorhun something?

  • Malain. Malain Chiefdom.

  • And spell the name of that chiefdom.

  • Okay, so the village was Gandorhun. Is that correct?

  • Mr Witness, now I am going to ask you to try to call out names instead of using words like "we", "they" and "he". Try and call out the actual name, if you can, okay?

  • Okay, I will try to do that.

  • First of all, you did call out several names among the group that captured you. You said one Nimba 2. Who is that?

  • Nimba 2 I knew him to be a Liberian vanguard and the other name, like Mosquito, I also knew him to be a vanguard. He was a Sierra Leonean. Rebel King, I knew him to be a vanguard as well. He was a Bassa by tribe from Liberia. Many other people were there, but these are the few that I can recall now.

  • Approximately how many people were in the group that captured you?

  • They were there with up to three vehicles, so I cannot give you now an exact number of people who captured me.

  • And aside from yourself, were other people captured?

  • Yes. The very day that the RUF captured me in that place, the Momajo area, they also captured many other people in that same place.

  • Mr Santora, perhaps the witness could tell us what he means by a Liberian vanguard.

  • Thank you, Justice Sebutinde. That was a point I was going to raise:

  • You used the phrase - in describing Nimba 2 you referred to him as a Liberian vanguard. What do you mean when you say a Liberian vanguard?

  • Well what I meant by a Liberian, that means he was born in Liberia. Vanguard means - in the RUF when we said vanguard those were the senior men who were trained in Liberia to launch war in Sierra Leone. They were the ones who trained us. They were our bosses. So I can say they were the original fighters who came from Liberia.

  • You also mentioned somebody named Rebel King. Who was that?

  • Rebel King was an RUF vanguard, a Liberian. He was a vanguard from Liberia.

  • And Sam Bockarie, at that time who did you know him to be?

  • Sam Bockarie, at that time I only knew him as a vanguard. I did not know any title for him at that time.

  • How old were you when you were captured then?

  • Now, these individuals that you mentioned, Rebel King, Nimba 2 and Sam Bockarie, were they with any particular unit?

  • The unit in which they were was the Kuwait unit.

  • Just to make sure I understand, you said Kuwait. Did you say Kuwait as in - say it again slowly.

  • Kuwait unit was the unit in which Rebel King and others were and he was the commander for that particular unit.

  • Did you ever come to learn why this unit was called the Kuwait unit?

  • What I understood about that unit, why it was called Kuwait, according to the discussions that CO Paul, Mosquito and others were having, it was that it was because Kuwait was one of the wealthy countries and when they came their unit which they formed were capturing areas that were in wealthy places. That was why the unit was called Kuwait unit.

  • And finally on this topic, these men that captured you, this group, were they armed?

  • Yes. They had arms.

  • Do you know what type of arms they had?

  • Yes. They had AK-47 rifles, they had rocket propelled grenades, RPG, they had GPMG. Those were the three main weapons that I saw with them that I can recall now and recognise. Even now I can recall them.

  • After you were captured you said you were taken to a place called Gandorhun in the Malain Chiefdom. Is that correct?

  • What district is that in?

  • Why were you taken to Gandorhun?

  • To go and train me how to shoot a gun, how to fight, how to manoeuvre from the enemies and to tell me the reason why they had brought the war; that was what they referred to as political ideology.

  • First of all, who is "they"?

  • The RUF. That is CO Paul, he was the commander at the base.

  • So describe actually what was at Gandorhun. What was there?

  • Well, at the Gandorhun training base we were many there. I was there with many other brothers. Some of them were my fellow students who were going to school in that village Torma Bum and the surrounding areas, around the Gandorhun area, Jimmi Bargbo area, and we were captured. Every morning they would call for a formation and we will go jogging. They will teach us tactics, that is combat tactics. And in the afternoon they will teach us political ideology. That is, to tell us what the war was all about. Those were the things that CO Paul and others were teaching us at the base.

  • Who was CO Paul?

  • CO Paul was a Liberian and he was a vanguard.

  • There is a second area that the witness named that appears as Jimmi in the transcript.

  • I thought I heard Jimmi Bargbo. I will clarify because I thought that was spelled for the record previously:

  • Did you mention a location called Jimmi something?

  • Yes. Jimmi, Bargbo Chiefdom. That is Jimmi Bargbo. Some men were captured around that area, Jimmi Bargbo area, other students.

  • The previous spelling on the record looks right, except Jimmi should be J-I-M-M-I.

  • How do you spell Bargbo?

  • Thank you, Mr Witness. You said there were many of your brothers training, being trained, sorry. Can you approximate the number of people being trained at the training base?

  • Those of us who were at the Gandorhun training base, we were more than 250.

  • Can you describe the composition of the trainees in terms of age and gender? Let's start with age.

  • Well, there were male and females there. There were children up to 12 years, those were in the SBU, that is the Small Boys Unit, and the women's unit we referred to as the WAC's unit.

  • How long did your training last?

  • I spent around two weeks at the base.

  • Aside from CO Paul do you recall any other commanders who were at this training base?

  • Yes. CO Cyrus was there. There was a CO Cyrus. I cannot recall the names of others really because sometimes some of the commanders who would come from the front line would join the team at the training base. Some other commanders, that is the fighters, they will join their colleague vanguards, particularly in teaching about the physical fitness, but the political ideology --

  • Go ahead, I was going to ask you about that.

  • Like, for the political ideology, people like Mosquito, he used to meet us. For example, if Mosquito taught us ideology today, there was another man who was called Hungry Lion, he too was a vanguard, a Sierra Leonean vanguard, he too used to teach us the same political ideology.

  • Do you remember any other names of people teaching you ideology, and if you don't that's okay?

  • No, I don't recall them now.

  • Just for the record you called out one name Cyrus. Can you spell the name Cyrus. If you can't, just say so?

  • I have a spelling as C-Y-R-U-S. One just one further question on this, Mr Witness. You talked about ideology training as well as training in tactics and physical training. What do you mean exactly when you say ideology training? What were you being trained in?

  • Well, that was political ideology. That is, the ideas. You know, the causes of the war. Why Foday Sankoh and his colleague Special Forces, some students who were at the FBC, why they went to Libya to train. They used to tell us about some of the things that went on in the country. They said they thought those were not supposed to be going on. Like, when the teachers were teaching and they did not get their salaries at the end of the month and if somebody criticised the government that person would be arrested and imprisoned.

    Those were the things. You know, the wrong - things about the political system in the country. How things were difficult. It was difficult to go to school. And even when some of those who could complete their schooling, they did not get employment. Those were the things that they told us they were against.

  • Mr Witness, earlier you described the word vanguard to mean, "When we said vanguard those were the senior men who trained in Liberia to launch the war in Sierra Leone." What do you mean by that when you say "trained in Liberia to launch the war in Sierra Leone"?

  • Well, one concept that was established to us about the vanguards was that the vanguards were people who were trained at a base in Liberia and the base was called Sokoto. And they used to call that same place Camp Naama. So whosoever trained at Sokoto, Camp Naama, and crossed into Sierra Leone, fighting, all of them were known as the vanguards. That is to the best of my knowledge. And what Mosquito, Rebel King, CO Cyrus, original who captured me, and others, what they used to say was that. And those people, the vanguards, we remain to respect them and regard them as the founding fathers throughout the war. They were the founding fathers of the RUF.

  • Mr Witness, what was the name of the camp that you told us?

  • Naama. Sokoto. Camp Naama.

  • With an N at the end?

  • Your Honours, I do not want to attempt spelling it.

  • Yes, I am asking you what you are pronouncing.

  • Naama. Your Honours, the pronunciation doesn't have an "N" at the end. Where they trained the place was called Camp Naama, but they used to call the place Sokoto. That was the code name.

  • Mr Witness, did you ever come to learn why these people were trained in Liberia?

  • Well, those people were trained in Liberia. They completed the training even before they came to us in Sierra Leone, but after they had been trained in Liberia and they captured us in Sierra Leone, we had spent some time with them and they started having confidence in us and we used to do things in common now. They were trying to lecture us about the war, telling us things about the war. They told us things in detail.

  • Mr Witness, again I'm just going to ask you to try to remember to speak slowly. Especially when you are describing something at length there is a tendency to speed up and so just try to listen for the interpreter to make sure he is keeping up with you, okay?

  • Okay, I'll try to do that.

  • Mr Witness, now finally on this topic do you know who trained these people at Camp Naama? These vanguards, who trained them, do you know?

  • Well I knew of two people that trained the vanguards at Camp Naama, because even when I was with people like the late CO Mosquito and others they regarded CO Isaac highly, Isaac Mongor. Whatever he wanted to do he will say, "Papay, you know you are the guys who trained us and so some of the things you should not do them", so he had high esteem for them and so he was one of their trainers. The other person was Mike Lamin. Mike Lamin. He was a Special Forces member, who was trained in Libya. Mike Lamin taught them political ideology at the base. One other person I knew was the late Mohamed Tarawalli, aka Zino. He too was a Special Forces member. Those are the few people that I know trained them in Sokoto.

  • Now after your training, you said your training was approximately two weeks. Is that correct? Your training in Gandorhun was approximately two weeks long?

  • Yes, yes, I spent up to two weeks there.

  • And after that where did you go?

  • After we left Gandorhun, we went to Zimmi Makpele.

  • So Gandorhun was the two week training. Was there any further training aside from the training at Gandorhun?

  • Yes, we went to Zimmi Makpele and we met another group at the base where we were sent. For about three to four days we were there to have an advance training at Gisiwulo, close to Zimmi Makpele, but we didn't spend a long time there when the enemies - that is the government troops - started advancing on us and so we were sent to the various front lines immediately.

  • So you did further advance training at Gisiwulo. Is that correct?

  • Yes, yes.

  • Gisiwulo has been spelt on the record before:

  • Do you remember the trainers, if any, at Gisiwulo?

  • Cyrus went there, because at that time the Kuwait training base was not functioning any more and so Cyrus and other vanguards were there whose names I cannot recall now.

  • Well, you just referred to something as the Kuwait training base. What are you referring to when you say the Kuwait training base?

  • Where I started by training, that is Gandorhun, Gandorhun Malain, that is where I am referring to where I started my training at Gandorhun where Cyrus was one of my trainers.

  • So you also call it the Kuwait training base. Is that correct?

  • Yes, it was a training base and it was there that the Kuwait headquarters was in Gandorhun and so that is how we referred to it as the Kuwait training base.

  • Now after this three to four day - well just quickly, when you say advance training at Gisiwulo what did this consist of?

  • It was just the same political ideology and about physical fitness that they taught us.

  • After this training, were you assigned anywhere?

  • Yes, we were sent across the Moa, that is towards Potoru. That was the first major mission that we undertook together with Rebel King, because I was in that group where he was, to cut the supply route between Bo and Kenema, but that mission was unsuccessful. On the way we fell in an ambush and we retreated. It was when we retreated that the enemies, that is the government troops, chased us. They chased us right up until the time we crossed into Liberia.

  • Okay, I just want to put a time frame on this. Initially you said you were captured around April of '91. Is that correct?

  • And now you are referring to your first assignment, or your first mission, which was to cut off the supply route between Bo and Kenema. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • Can you approximate when this - when you were given this assignment, or this mission?

  • It was during the rainy season. I don't want to be specific because I cannot recall the exact month, but it was during the rainy season.

  • Now, you said then that this was an unsuccessful mission. Is that correct?

  • And that you were chased and eventually crossed into Liberia. Is that correct?

  • First of all, just to be clear, the enemy at this time you referred to as government troops. Who specifically was the enemy at this time?

  • It was the Sierra Leone government troops. The Sierra Leonean Army.

  • Mr Santora, when the witness said to cut off the supply routes, supply routes for what or who does he mean?

  • Mr Witness, did you hear Justice Sebutinde's question?

  • Yes, that was to set an ambush between Bo and Kenema, which was the main supply route for the Sierra Leone Army. If at all our mission would have been successful, it was to set an ambush and if possible we capture major towns and to destroy any major bridge along the Bo Kenema Highway. That was to prevent the enemies from using the road. That was what I meant by cutting off the supply route.

  • Do you recall who was your commander for this mission?

  • Rebel King was our commander.

  • And about how many of you were assigned to this mission? Can you approximately tell?

  • We were more than 200 for that mission. We were more than 200.

  • I personally didn't have arms. I was an SBU. I was in a Small Boys Unit. I did not have an arm.

  • You said you were eventually chased into Liberia. Is that correct?

  • When you mean you, do you mean yourself or do you mean the group?

  • The RUF. When the attack failed, the enemies pursued the RUF fighters on the main highway from Juru and they came and captured Zimmi. I can say they swept us, in my own words, from Sierra Leone.

  • Now approximately, if you can approximate, how long - how much time passed between the time you set out on this mission and the time when you were pushed into Liberia?

  • It was within three to four weeks' time that they were successful in dragging us out of Sierra Leone.

  • Do you remember where you crossed into Liberia?

  • Yes, it was the rainy season of 1991.

  • And where did you cross?

  • Well, it was a village along the border. That was where I crossed, because at the time we were in Gendema, when the attack took place, we could not cross through the main bridge. It was risky for us to go through. So I crossed through a village where we went and we assembled in a village in Liberia that is called Tiene. That is where we assembled, we the RUF fighters who crossed over with that group.

  • Where in Sierra Leone approximately did you cross in now? From which district, can you say?

  • It was Pujehun District. You know, I don't know the name of the villages that we crossed through.

  • Now, you crossed into a location called Tiene. Is that correct?

  • Describe what happened when you arrived in Tiene?

  • When we arrived in Tiene, we were there for some time and we were there when we received reinforcement from the Bomi Hills area. They brought with them twin barrel and BZT, that is anti-aircraft, and they brought a 16 barrel missile from Tubmanburg, Bomi Hills. That was where the reinforcement came from. When they came they took some RUF men to go and fight to stop the enemies who had crossed, because the enemies when they drove us they entered right up to Bo Waterside. That was the first village that they captured when we crossed over. So the 6th Infantry Battalion of the --

  • Mr Witness, before I ask you to continue I just want you to clarify a few things in what you said. First you said, "We were there for some time and we received reinforcement from the Bomi Hills area and they brought with them twin barrel". First of all, who is "they"?

  • The NPFL. First - sorry, that's wrong. The 6th Infantry Battalion of NPFL. 6th Infantry Battalion which was headed by One Man One. He was the one who brought the reinforcement.

  • Where was this group based, do you know?

  • I don't know exactly where they were based, but they came to the front line as reinforcement. I don't know where they were based, where they came from directly.

  • You said that you received reinforcement from the Bomi Hills area. How do you know it was from the Bomi Hills area?

  • Because the vehicle that brought the reinforcement, those were the same vehicles that they used to transport some of us into Liberia at Bomi Hills. They said we were to go and undergo advanced training. Bomi Hills, that was where we went for advanced training, and while we were there we used to see them - some of them would return and they would go at the same Bomi Hills and we used to see them.

  • Okay. Mr Witness, I'm not sure I understand your answer. You said when you initially you were here in Tiene and you received reinforcement. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • You said that they came from the Bomi Hills area. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • How do you know at that time they came from the Bomi Hills area?

  • We were there together with some other Liberians. We were not living there on our own. Whatever that was going on in the combat camp we were bound to know because we lived together and some of them would come. In fact, they used to call us Sankoh recruits, Sankoh recruits. That's what they referred to us. And some of them will ask us to fetch water for them. They were our COs.

  • About how much time passed from when the moment --

  • I'm sorry to interrupt but I don't know if that answers the question to Mr Santora's satisfaction, but it doesn't seem to me to answer the question that he originally asked which is, "How do you know they came from the Bomi Hills area?" The fact that people called this witness and his colleagues Sankoh's recruits doesn't seem to me to answer the question he was asked.

  • It doesn't really, Mr Santora.

  • I will ask the question again and try to clarify.

  • Mr Witness, I just want you to focus on one particular point, okay?

  • That when you were in Tiene, okay, you said, "Some time passed and then that reinforcement arrived from the Bomi Hills area". Just specifically this point: How do you know that this particular reinforcement came from the Bomi Hills area?

  • Mosquito and others told us directly. That is Rebel King, Mosquito and others, they told us. Even before they arrived, they told us that they were expecting reinforcement from Bomi Hills and that the truck that was to come with the reinforcement was to take some of us, the Sankoh fighters, because they referred to us as Sankoh recruits at that time. They said they were to take us to Bomi hills to go for advanced training.

  • I will ask you about that. I hope that satisfies your Honours.

  • Yes, I understand the derivation of his view.

  • Now, you referred to 6th Infantry Battalion. Who were you referring to when you said that?

  • That is NPFL battalion. 6th Infantry NPFL Battalion.

  • And in what context were you referring to them in this situation? What were you referring to the 6th Infantry Battalion for?

  • It was from there the reinforcement came and even the vehicles that they used to bring the reinforcement, it was written on them "6th Infantry Battalion".

  • You also referred to somebody called One Man One. Who is that?

  • He was the battalion commander for the 6th Battalion of the NPFL at that time.

  • You said that your group was met at Tiene, is that correct, by this reinforcement?

  • Yes. The reinforcement met us in Tiene.

  • And then you said that some of you - or you said that you were going to be taken for advanced training. Is that correct?

  • Again, who do you mean when you say you were to be taken for advanced training? Do you just mean you yourself, or explain what you mean?

  • That is myself and the RUF fighters who had crossed into Liberia. Many of us were taken. We were many at the base, those of us who were taken to Bomi Hills. We were many who were taken from the Tiene area. They used to take men from those surrounding villages and we were transported Bomi Hills.

  • Mr Witness, you referred to two locations and you referred to Tubmanburg and Bomi Hills. Why were you referring to Tubmanburg?

  • Tubmanburg is the city. Bomi is the county.

  • So were you taken then for advanced training?

  • Where exactly were you taken to?

  • There was a barracks in Bomi Hills. That was where we were taken to. It was a military barracks.

  • Okay. Is Bomi the county or the village?

  • It is the city itself. Tubmanburg city, Bomi County.

  • So when you are referring to Bomi Hills are you referring to Tubmanburg?

  • Tubmanburg. Exactly. Exactly, yes.

  • You just need to make sure you mention that because it could be confusing otherwise. So you said that you were taken then for advanced training at Bomi Hills or Tubmanburg?

  • If you can, can you approximate when you were taken to Bomi Hills for advanced training?

  • Well, at that time it was late in the rainy season, 1991.

  • Now, describe what you saw - describe the situation when you arrived at Tubmanburg. What did you see?

  • When we arrived in Tubmanburg, we were taken directly to the barracks. That was where we were put. We were there and almost every day they would bring fighters, RUF commandos. Every morning we would go for training. They would call for a formation and we would go for training, that is physical fitness. Some Liberians were taking us and there was one Alan Blamo, CO Lion. And there was a Sierra Leonean vanguard. He is dead now. I don't recall his name now off the top of my head. He is dead now. He used to teach us political ideology. That was the training that we were undergoing in Bomi Hills.

  • Before you continue you called out two names. One you called out Alan Blamo. First of all, how do you spell the family name Blamo, do you know?

  • What nationality was this man?

  • He was a Sierra Leonean.

  • And who was he specifically?

  • You also referred to CO Lion. Who was that?

  • That was his alias.

  • Do you know his real name?

  • Yes, that is it, CO Lion. Alan Blamo was the one we called alias CO Lion.

  • Okay. So they are one and the same person, is that correct?

  • Then you said there was another individual you can't remember?

  • Now, you said that the training here included physical training - physical fitness and ideology training. What type of ideology training were you receiving here at the barracks in Tubmanburg?

  • It was about why the war was brought to Sierra Leone and what the Sierra Leoneans were fighting for, why Pa Sankoh and others went to Libya and they were trained there and they came to Liberia and they took some other Sierra Leoneans with them and they were trained, and why was it that they did not use any other means of changing the system in Sierra Leone except through the use of guns.

  • What did you learn about why Pa Sankoh and others went to Libya and they were trained there and they came to Liberia. What did you learn in terms of the portion "when they came to Liberia"? Why did they come to Liberia, did you know?

  • I did not get that question clearly.

  • In terms of your ideology training, did you learn why Pa Sankoh and others came to Liberia after going to Libya?

  • If I got you right you said if I knew why when Pa Sankoh and others came from Libya and they came to Liberia. I don't know why they came to - why they decided to come through Liberia. No, that I don't know.

  • Now, you said there were many of you being trained. Can you approximate the number of people being trained in Tubmanburg? Again, just approximate, if you can?

  • At all times I will say we were more than 300 because some men were on the front line, so they will take some people, take them to the front line as reinforcement and they would take some people from the front line to come --

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat this.

  • Mr Witness, please pause for the interpreter. You are going too quickly for him. Pick up your answer - please speak more slowly and continue from where you said, "They would take some of the people from the front line to come". Continue from there.

  • While we were at the base, they will take some people from the base and send to the front line as reinforcement. Then at the same time they will take some other people, that is RUF recruits from the front line, and brought to Tubmanburg. So really it is not easy to give a specific figure as to how many of us were there. There was a time even when they formed a unit called Black Gadaffa.

  • Before I ask you about that, I know you said it's difficult to approximate a number, but the people being trained here in Tubmanburg, what was their nationality?

  • Those of us who were being trained all of us were Sierra Leoneans, or majority. What I meant by all of us is I meant majority. If there were other nationals amongst us, the RUF fighters, that I did not know about, but I can say more than 90 per cent of us were Sierra Leoneans. Those who were training us were a mixed group. They were Liberians and Sierra Leoneans.

  • And the people training you, what particular unit were they with, if any?

  • Well, we called them instructors. That was how we called them, training instructors.

  • Can you remember some of the names of the instructors? Aside from the ones you've called out, any other names you remember?

  • Like Cowpopo, he is dead now, and Alan Blamo, who was Lion. Those are the two names that I can recall now, but there were some Liberians who had queer names - queer Liberian names - that I cannot recall now.

  • Mr Witness, you referred to a unit called the Black Gadaffa unit. What is that?

  • Black Gadaffa, that was a unit, because when we were in Liberia, you know, the COs - our COs - used to refer to us as Sankoh recruit. They will say, "Sankoh recruit, come here. Can you do this for me? Sankoh recruit, can you do for that for me?" So that was when they formed that fighting unit and it was named Black Gadaffa, they did it so we will have a name other than Sankoh recruit. I don't actually know who brought the idea, but CO Kpelle Boy, who was a Liberian, was the commander for Black Gadaffa. He was the one who would come and take reinforcement from the base and he will take them over. In some cases I will remember he brought trucks and he will take men and he will go with them. At the same time, he will transport some other people to the base - other RUF fighters from the front line - and he will bring them to the base.

    This same Black Gadaffa all of us were part of Black Gadaffa, but while I was there at the base there were other units that were formed. Among these units, some people were sent to the artillery unit and some other people were attached to the G2 unit and then I was attached to the signal unit.

  • Mr Witness, before I ask you about that, I want to clarify from your previous answer some things you've said. First of all, you referred to Black Gadaffa and you said that it was formed as a fighting unit and "They did it so we will have a name other than Sankoh recruit". Who actually formed Black Gadaffa?

  • It was the commanders.

  • Commanders of who? What commanders?

  • One Man One, Kpelle Boy and others. Because, you know, they were disturbing us. Every now and then we were complaining, because they used to call us Sankoh recruits. Sankoh recruits. It was becoming too much for us because, whenever we went, they called us - the combatants who were going to the front line, you know, when these guys went to the front line they would fight, but they still called them recruits - Sankoh recruits - even though they were fighting. So that was too much for them, why they were being called recruits even when they were fighting. That was when the idea of the Black Gadaffa unit came up and it was formed.

  • Okay. Now, you also said - and again I am going to remind you to try to speak slowly, okay? You mentioned that CO Kpelle Boy was the commander of Black Gadaffa. Is that correct?

  • You said, "He was the one who would come and take reinforcement from the base and he will take them over". First of all, when you say "he" who are you referring to?

  • And you said, "He will take them over". Over where?

  • CO Kpelle Boy will take them across into Sierra Leone. He will take them across into Sierra Leone to fight - to fight in Sierra Leone.

  • Did you yourself ever participate in this, while you were based in Tubmanburg?

  • No, from the time I went to Tubmanburg I never came back to the Pujehun area. I never went back to fight in the Pujehun area from Tubmanburg.

  • You also said "other RUF fight from the base and he would bring them to the base". What do you mean when you said "other RUF fight from the base and he would bring them to the base"?

  • It was an ongoing process. When those of us who were at the base, after some time Kpelle Boy would come with some men and would leave them on the base and he, Kpelle Boy, would take another group and go with them for a mission. That was to go across into Sierra Leone to attack, or to set an ambush.

  • Now, you've referred to several commanders and I just want to - from your observation in Tubmanburg, if you know who was Kpelle Boy's boss?

  • Well, the commander that I knew in Tubmanburg was One Man One. He was the most senior officer who was based there, because he was the battalion commander.

  • Do you know who One Man One's boss was?

  • Yes.

  • The boss that I saw that One Man One used to report to was General Degbon, he was code named Energy and there were some other Special Forces who used to visit him like one Anthony Mekunagbe.

  • Who was Anthony Mekunagbe?

  • He was a Special Forces; that is Anthony Mekunagbe and General Degbon.

  • Mr Witness, you've referred to the phrase "Special Forces" on a few occasions now. What do you mean when you say "Special Forces"?

  • Well, in this case those whom we referred to as the Special Forces were the people who were trained in Libya. The people who were trained in Libya.

  • You have referred to two groups now. You referred to the RUF and the NPFL. Describe at this time in Tubmanburg the relationship between these two groups from your observations?

  • Well, our relationship was cordial and they even sent some of us to various units. Like that was an order from Pa Sankoh, because he sent an order that they should send us to various units for us to be taught certain things. Like in the case of communication myself and a few other brothers were sent there, and some other people were sent to the artillery, some were sent to the G2 and some were sent to the G4. So that was what the relationship was like.

    And even when I was now sent to the signal unit, it was just about one time I recall that I went to the front line with General Degbon around the Wangeko area and that was when the NPFL enemies had crossed into Liberia and they were fighting. We went there and I was with General Degbon as one of the radio operators. Myself --

  • I will ask you more about radio operators momentarily. I want to ask some things before we get to that point.

  • Just before you do proceed, Mr Santora, I notice spelling of General Degbon. We have heard a reference to a person of a somewhat similar name and I am not sure if this is the --

  • My understanding is it has been spelt for the record before and I thought it would be picked up. It's been spelled on the record previously as D-E-G-B-O-N.

  • So in other words it is the same person.

  • Well, I'm not going to say --

  • We cannot - we need evidence.

  • In context, but I will just elicit a little further information about this individual he is referring to.

  • You've also referred to one General Degbon. Do you remember saying that?

  • General Degbon was a member of the Special Forces. And then there was One Man One, his commander.

  • Okay, I'm asking you just about General Degbon.

  • Yes, that is what I am describing. He had a code name Energy. He was code named Energy.

  • In terms of units, was General Degbon with any particular unit?

  • No, I do not recall that.

  • Do you know who General Degbon's boss was?

  • Well, General Degbon's boss, the only boss that I knew for him was the CIC, the CIC, the commander-in-chief who was Mr Taylor, and it was Mr Taylor.

  • Mr Santora, sorry to interrupt again, there is a location on page 38, where the witness said that he went to the front lines with General Degbon around the Wangeko area.

  • Mr Witness, you were referring in your earlier answer to one particular instance when you were with the signal unit that you went to the front line with General Degbon and around a specific area you mentioned. What was the area that you called out?

  • Around Wangeko inside Liberia.

  • The way I spell it is W-A-N-G-E-K-O. That is how I spell it.

  • Do you know what county that's in?

  • It's in Lofa. It might be Lofa County or I do not actually know. It might be Cape Mount or Lofa, but I don't know really. I don't know.

  • Now, you referred to Foday Sankoh around this time. Where was he around this time, do you know? The time I am referring to is the time you were based in Tubmanburg.

  • I did not know any specific base for Foday Sankoh but he used to come to Bomi Hills. He used to move to various areas. Sometimes he would come to us in Bomi Hills. Sometimes he would go to the Kailahun area. Sometimes he would be in Gbarnga. So he was moving around, so I do not actually know any specific base for him at that time.

  • You said he used to come to Bomi Hills. How do you know that?

  • He, in fact, met us. At a base at a point in time he spoke to us for us to be courageous, for us to listen to instructions, for us to do what we were there for purely so that we would be able to carry out the liberation struggle and he told us briefly the reason why he brought the war. He said - and that was more for us, the younger ones. He said because if Sierra Leone does not change at that moment those of us who were coming up will have to strain at the end.

  • You said Sankoh told you to listen to instructions. Instructions from who, Mr Witness?

  • From the various commanders and he was there also when he gave an instruction, that is he, Foday Sankoh, gave instruction that some of us should be sent to the various units.

  • Now, you've mentioned that you particularly went to the signal unit. I'm going to ask you about that, but before I ask you about that can you describe the units that this were in Tubmanburg or Bomi Hills at this time. What were the names of the units?

  • We had, like, for instance, the signal unit. We had the Military Police, the MP unit. The G2 unit was there. The G2 unit was there. The G4 unit. The artillery unit was there. The S4 unit was there. There were various units, but to name a few those are the ones I recall now.

  • Now, you said referring to the Black Gadaffa unit that they would cross into Sierra Leone. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • Do you know if any other units were crossing back and forth to Sierra Leone?

  • Yes. We were in Bomi Hills and whilst we were there we used to see some reinforcement coming from some other parts of the NPFL liberated zones, who used to come. Like, for instance, the Red Scorpion unit, they had a Scorpion inscription on their T-shirts. They had a Death Squad and they had a human skull on their T-shirts. They had the Zimbabwe unit. Those are the few that I recall now. And those were the units also that I saw that used to come as a fighting unit that went to the various front lines to fight. Like, for instance, the Special Task Force, the STF. Yes.

  • Before I ask you more about these units, how do you know that these units were crossing back and forth into Sierra Leone? How do you know that?

  • Well, we used to see T-shirts that were - that those units wore. They had the logos on them, the ones I have named. And we used to interact with them. And even when I was in signal unit I was fortunate to know so many things for me to understand so many things. Even when they were travelling, messages would come. We would discuss those with our colleagues, senior signallers who were there with us. Like, for instance, the signal regional commander Bedcat, Titus, they used to tell us everything about those units.

  • You mentioned a few names and I am going to clarify them, but before I do that, these units, these particular units that you've referred to, Scorpion, Death Squad - and did you say Zimbabwe?

  • Yes.

  • What group were these units with?

  • They were NPFL. They were NPFL reinforcements that used to come.

  • Reinforcements to what, exactly?

  • To go and fight at the front line. That was when the war had pushed us to the border. When the government troops, the Sierra Leone government troops had pushed us to the border, and some other fighting forces had emerged who were also coming to fight against the NPFL in Liberia. So those units used to go as reinforcements to repel those attacks.

  • When you say go reinforce the front lines, where specifically do you mean when you say front lines?

  • Towards Bo Waterside along the Sierra Leone-Liberian border. That is towards Pujehun District.

  • Reinforcement to who specifically?

  • Well, at that time Dixon Wolo was the commander for the Sierra Leonean group. Dixon Wolo. So he was the commander for - and they were going to reinforce him at the front line.

  • Then reinforce what group?

  • The fighting force. To go and reinforce us so that we will be able to cross again into Sierra Leone. They were going to reinforce the RUF so that the RUF would be able to repel the enemies and cross over into Sierra Leone.

  • Before I get further, I don't want to let some names escape because there were some called. You said the Zimbabwe unit. You mean as the country Zimbabwe, called out the same way?

  • You referred to signal regional commander. Who did you say exactly?

  • Bedcat.

  • Slowly say that and if you can spell it.

  • And did he have any other name?

  • Demmy.

  • Did he have a first name or other name?

  • Can you spell Demmy?

  • We used to sell it D-E M-M-Y, Demmy.

  • You said he was a signal regional commander. Explain what you mean, signal regional commander?

  • He was the one who covered the region where we were regarding the NPFL communications. He covered all the front lines going to Bo Waterside, Robertsport, Lofa Bridge and some other areas and he was, in fact, the one who trained us in communication. He taught us communication.

  • Mr Witness, you've also referred to several units that were involved in this reinforcement. One of these units you just said was the Special Task Force unit. What is this unit, do you know?

  • It was a combat unit, it was a fighting unit.

  • Do you know anything else about this unit?

  • Yes. That unit was one of the units from which reinforcement used to come to go and flush the enemies back into Sierra Leone so that the RUF would be able to re-enter Sierra Leone and continue the war.

  • You said that the Black Gadaffa unit was 90 per cent Sierra Leonean. Approximately 90 per cent Sierra Leonean. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • Now, the Special Task Force unit, do you know the composition of this unit in terms of its nationality?

  • They were purely Liberians.

  • You also referred to the Zimbabwe unit. Can you explain anything you know about this unit?

  • Yes. They were combatants. And that was one of the groups from which reinforcements used to come from to go and fight in Sierra Leone, to reinforce the RUF to fight in Sierra Leone.

  • Do you know who was in charge of this unit?

  • I do not know the commanders exactly who were in charge of those units.

  • And you also referred to a Scorpion unit?

  • Again, can you explain what you know about this unit?

  • The Scorpion unit also was one of the fighting units that used to go and reinforce us in Sierra Leone, as a reinforcement to fight against the Sierra Leone Army, and most of them were Liberians.

  • Were some others non-Liberians?

  • I wouldn't recall that, whether there were others who were not Liberians, because I did not actually come across them directly face-to-face. But with my interaction with them I can say most of them were Liberian.

  • You mentioned three units, the Zimbabwe unit, the Scorpion unit and the Special Task Force unit. Do you know where these units were based?

  • Well, I do not know the exact base where those units were, all of them.

  • And do you know who sent these units into Sierra Leone?

  • The units, sometimes we would be in the station when General Degbon would come and call for reinforcement, say from, like - there was another unit called SS Cobra, yeah, SS Cobra, and the other one Zimbabwe, that was - that happened more when the enemies pressured us on the front lines and One Man One would Degbon and Degbon will give instruction or he would discuss with some of his other colleague commanders from the various areas to coordinate their efforts so that - sometimes he would in fact send message to Ebony, that was Mr Charles Taylor, and he was the CIC, saying that he needed reinforcements to reinforce him on the front line because of enemy threats.

  • Mr Witness, before I go further on this, you also referred to an individual called Dixon Wolo. Is that what you said?

  • Can you spell his family name, his last name. Do you know?

  • I believe it's been spelled before for the record in another context, but I will just get some context to this individual:

  • Who was this individual, Dixon Wolo?

  • Dixon Wolo was the first commander whom I was exposed to in Sierra Leone. He was our battalion commander in Sierra Leone that I was exposed to. That was when - he was the one that Rebel King used to directly report to and he was a Liberian. He too in turn reported to One Man One and Degbon.

  • So what unit was he? Was he commander of a unit?

  • He was a commander in Sierra Leone, for all the units in Sierra Leone, the fighting forces in Sierra Leone. Not a specific unit that I recall, but for Sierra Leone within the RUF he was the commander. He was the battalion commander. And that was even before the enemies pushed us, or I can say flushed us out of Sierra Leone in 1991.

  • Mr Witness, when I asked you about Dixon Wolo just now you said first he was a commander in Sierra Leone for all the units in Sierra Leone, and then you said he was the battalion commander. Explain exactly what you mean by those two answers. Can you explain what you know his position to be?

  • Yes. It was the way you framed your question, because initially I told you that he was a battalion commander and you asked me again whether he belonged to any unit. That was why I told you that he was the commander for all the units that fell within that battalion, because each and every one of us were directly accountable to him.

  • What battalion was that, do you know?

  • That was the 1st RUF Battalion.

  • I'm sorry, but we have got a lot of "he"s in the passage before we embarked on Dixon Wolo. If I could just take us back to the reference to Ebony. It's quite a long answer. On my font it starts at page 47, line 12. I am just going to go to the last part of it. What's recorded is:

    "Degbon will give instruction or he would discuss with some of his other colleague commanders from the various areas to coordinate their efforts so that - sometimes he would in fact send message to Ebony, that was Mr Charles Taylor, and he was the CIC, saying that he needed reinforcements to reinforce him on the front line because of enemy threats."

    I don't know who "he" relates to.

  • There are several "he"s there.

  • I waited for Dixon Wolo passage to finish because I didn't want to interrupt my learned friend in the middle of that, but I think we do need some clarification on that.

  • I was actually going to clarify that portion. I understand. I was actually waiting until we get to the relevant portion of this examination. Unless your Honours are inclined - I can clarify it now.

  • I'm happy for it to be done at any stage. It's just I thought as we've got all those "he"s in there now it might make sense to tidy it up at this point.

  • Mr Santora, as it reads it could be one person, but I think in actual fact it's more than one person, so if we can clarify it now.

  • I will, Madam President."

  • Mr Witness, I am going to ask you in one of your answers that you gave recently to clarify some portions of it, okay? I was asking you about the various units in Sierra Leone. I'm sorry, the various units that were sent into Sierra Leone as reinforcements and you were describing this and you said:

    "That happened more when the enemies pressured us on the front lines and One Man One would call Degbon and Degbon will give instruction or he would discuss with some of his other colleague commanders from the various areas to coordinate their efforts - sometimes they sent message to Ebony, that was Mr Charles Taylor, and he was the CIC saying that he needed reinforcements to reinforce him on the front line because of the enemy threats." Do you remember saying that.

  • Yes, I can clarify that.

  • I am just going to take you through portions of that because - as I told you before, to try to avoid calling "he" and "him". So I will ask you to try and clarify this a little bit. You said first of all, "He called Degbon and Degbon would give instruction." Who would call Degbon?

  • One Man One will go to the radio room and send a message to General Degbon. He would send a message to General Degbon.

  • In Bomi Hills. I'm talking about Bomi Hills. That was where we were, from Bomi Hills. That was where we would be when One Man One would send a message to General Degbon. That is, when the enemies would have applied pressure on our fighters, that is those of us the RUF and NPFL fighters on the front lines, so that General Degbon will send reinforcements. And most times when the situation would want to go out of hands General Degbon himself would come to Bomi Hills and most times General Degbon would come and he would go to the radio station, he would go to the radio room, even though he had his own mobile radio, General Degbon.

  • Before you go on and continue, just to clarify, you said this would happen when they were receiving pressure from the front lines. Is that correct?

  • Front lines where?

  • Well, the front lines towards Sierra Leone-Liberian border in Sierra Leone.

  • Who would send the initial message, the first message?

  • Well, Dixon Wolo would send message to One Man One.

  • From where was Dixon Wolo sending this message?

  • And where was Degbon when he received this message?

  • Degbon was a roving man. He had his own radio station. Anywhere he was he would receive his message.

  • Okay. Then you said in your answer before, "Degbon would give instruction or he would discuss with some of his other colleague commanders from various areas". When you said Degbon would give instruction, who would he give instruction to?

  • He would call some other radio stations and he will send instructions, saying that they should send reinforcements immediately and those were the immediate areas not too far from our own areas. And he would contact some of his other colleagues in the Special Forces who were in charge of those units whom I had said before that I did not know their names. They were the ones that he would contact and explain to them that they were under pressure and that they should try and reinforce.

    The moment Mr Taylor came in, that was if there was a delay in receiving the reinforcement - at that time he would directly called the CIC, Mr Taylor, who was commonly known as Ebony, Degbon. Degbon would call Mr Taylor, the CIC, for him to make it possible to tell the other men to rush in sending the reinforcements for him on the front lines.

  • Okay. So then later on in the same answer you said, Sometimes they sent message to Ebony, that was Mr Charles Taylor". Who sent message to Ebony? When you say "they", who are you referring to?

  • General Degbon. Sometimes Anthony Mekunagbe, Dry Pepe, aka Dry Pepper.

  • And then you said, "And he was the CIC, saying that he needed reinforcements".

  • I did say General Degbon used to send message to the CIC, Mr Taylor. That is what exactly I am trying to say here in this case.

  • I hope that clarifies that portion of the answer. I know there is some additional clarification needed from these responses and I will get to that.

  • One clarification that comes immediately to my mind is was Mr Taylor's code name or pseudonym Ebony?

  • When you say Ebony, who are you referring to?

  • I'm referring to Mr Taylor.

  • And what was the name Ebony? Why was that name used?

  • It was a code name for Mr Taylor that we used on the radio.

  • Now, again in one of your answers you said the words "he" and "they" a lot and I am going to have to ask you to clarify that. I asked you who Degbon would give instruction to about the reinforcement you said that he would call some other radio instructions and he would send some instructions. When you say "he", who do you mean?

  • Degbon had areas that he had authority over, like, for instance, some other battalions, and he would send instructions to those battalions for them - for that particular battalion to send reinforcement to One Man One in Bomi Hills.

  • So you said then, "He would contact some of his other colleagues in the Special Forces". Again, when you say "he" --

  • That is Degbon that I am referring to.

  • And then you said, "Who were in charge of those units whom I had said before that I didn't know their names". What units were you referring to here?

  • I had named like Zimbabwe, Scorpion and others.

  • So in terms of the units, you know the name of the units?

  • Yes, those are the names of the units I'm calling now. The Special Task Force, SS Cobra unit.

  • Mr Santora, we have been alerted to the fact the tape has just about run out. We are now at the time for the normal mid-morning break.

  • Mr Witness, this is the time of the morning when we take a break for half an hour. We will be resuming court at 12 o'clock. I will therefore ask that the Court be adjourned until 12.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Mr Munyard, I note a change of appearance on your Bar.

  • Madam President, I am grateful to you for reminding me and indeed I should have introduced Ms Amina Graham who joins the rest of the existing Defence team this morning.

  • Thank you, Mr Munyard, and we welcome Ms Graham to the Court. Mr Santora, please proceed.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Witness, again, before I start asking you questions again I want to remind you to speak slowly, okay, especially when you are explaining something to try to speak slowly. It is very important so that the interpreters can keep up with you. Do you understand that?

  • Okay, I will try to keep up to the pace.

  • If you can when you are explaining your answers to call out the names, instead of using words like "he" and "they". I know it is something that can be difficult, but can you try your best to call out names when you are explaining something?

  • And the last thing is, Mr Witness, when you are giving your answer, I know it is part of normal conversation, but please address the judges and look towards the judges when you are giving your answer, okay?

  • Okay.

  • Now, there is just one more point and then we are going to move on to a new area, but there is still something that I would like to clarify with you, Mr Witness. Again, I attempted to clarify this with you earlier, and it was a response you gave with regards to the reinforcements that were sent to Sierra Leone and you said with regard to messages sent in relation to these reinforcements, and you said in your response "He needed reinforcements to reinforce him on the front line because of enemy threats". When you said "He needed reinforcements", who did you mean when you said "he"?

  • Well, to make it clearly, the messages used to go by stages. Like, the front line commander Dixon, when he wanted reinforcements he will contact One Man One. When One Man One needed reinforcements he would contact Degbon or Anthony Mekunagbe. Degbon in turn had other areas, but I cannot recall now where those units were coming from. He will contact his colleagues. If there was any delay in the movement of the troops he would in turn contact the CIC who was Mr Taylor.

  • Okay. In the context of this answer, do you remember giving this answer when you said that "He needed reinforcements"? In that answer when you were talking about units being sent to reinforce, who were you talking about when you said "he"?

  • I recall I spoke about two people, those whom needed reinforcement like Degbon. When One Man One would demand from Degbon, he Degbon would make his request to the various units that I had mentioned before. When the various units would refuse responding, that was when he would contact Mr Taylor directly, General Degbon.

  • And you said further in your answer, "Reinforce him on the front line"?

  • Who did you mean when you said "him on the front line"?

  • Okay, reinforce who on the front line?

  • To reinforce Dixon, Kpelle Boy and others on the front line.

  • And the front line being where?

  • The front line was not static. It used to move from one place to the other, but it was towards Sierra Leone, the front line. Sometimes it would advance and would cross the border and go deep into Sierra Leone and the enemies would repel us and we would come back into Liberia. We would be there for some time. That was how it was so the front line was like that not static. It changed with time. But all of those were towards Sierra Leone, when I am talking about front line in this case.

  • Mr Witness, now you said that you yourself at some point went to a unit called the signal unit. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • Describe the circumstances as to how you went to the signal unit?

  • A group emerged in 1991 from the Sierra Leone area which was fighting against Mr Taylor, something like Liberians United something. I cannot recall the exact name of the group which was later called ULIMO. Later, that group, we heard that it was now called ULIMO. Those were the groups that were fighting. Just when we would be pushed from Liberia and we would enter Sierra Leone - just when we would be pushed from Sierra Leone, sorry, and we enter into Liberia, when they moved from Sierra Leone they did not call it Sierra Leone government forces but they were actually fighting alongside the Sierra Leone government forces so when they crossed and they got up to Tiene, Wangeko area.

  • Please slow down and also again don't use the word --

  • Okay. When the enemies of the RUF and NPFL crossed, that is the - that is the name of the - I don't recall the name of the group, but later we used to refer to it as ULIMO. They came up to the Wangeko area and so there was a village around that Wangeko area. There is a main road going to Klay Junction in Liberia. That was the end that Degbon based and he requested for a radio operator, who was Titus and he, Titus, was Demmy's deputy. It was Titus who went with General Degbon on that mission. While he was going, for experience he took me because I was a trainee. He took me to go with him, Titus.

  • Mr Witness, trainee for what?

  • For radio course. I was a trainee in radio communication.

  • Let's start then from the beginning, okay? Before this incident with Titus, were you picked to be a trainee for radio operating?

  • Yes, I was already part of the radio operations in Bomi Hills. At that time I was training voice procedure.

  • I am not asking you about that. I want to ask you how did you start. How did you start with the signal unit?

  • I was at the training base at Bomi Hills together with the other fighters when Pa Sankoh arrived at the base. At one time he sent an instruction that they should send some people from amongst us, the RUF fighters who were at the base, to be trained in the various disciplines of the various units. I, together with other people like Junior Koker Skinner, Top Gun, Sylvester and others, we went to the signal unit. There was where we were sent.

  • Okay, I am going to stop you there and then I will ask you to continue, but just to clarify. You said that Pa Sankoh arrived at the base and he sent an instruction that they should send some people from amongst us. First of all, when you said "he sent an instruction", who sent an instruction?

  • He gave a direct instruction, Foday Sankoh. He gave Lion, CO Lion and others. CO Lion and the other instructors who were there, but at that time CO Lion was the senior vanguard at the base, so he told him to select from amongst us who would be able to go to the signal and that person should go there and those who were to go to the artillery unit should go there and he sent some people to G2. That is CO Lion, on instructions from Foday Sankoh.

  • So you yourself were picked for signal unit. Is that correct?

  • Now, about how many of you were picked for signal unit?

  • You don't have to call your name.

  • How many of you? Listen to the question closely, Mr Witness. So if you can listen to my question it will help you. How many of you approximately were picked to go training?

  • Now, you said that some people were picked for other units by CO Lion. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • You said that you were picked to go for signal unit. Signal unit for what entity? What do you mean when you say for signal unit? For who?

  • To be trained in voice procedure, how to talk on the radio, how to send messages and how to receive a message. To be trained in communication discipline.

  • I will ask you more about the training itself, but when you say "signal unit" what do you mean? Unit for what group?

  • Signal unit was responsible for all radio messages, radio messages; that is the operators who were the various radio stations of the signal unit, any commander who would go to the radio station would give his message, he would write it down and sign it, and when he would have signed this message the operator would encode it and send it to the station that was the intended destination of that message.

  • Listen to the question closely, okay. You said you were sent to the signal unit. For what group was this signal unit operating for?

  • Okay. The signal unit - no, we were selected by CO Lion to be trained in communication, the RUF, so we would be able to go into Sierra Leone and coordinate operations through the --

  • Mr Witness, listen to the question. You have been asked the same question each time. What group was this signal unit operating for? You have referred to the RUF. Is that the answer? If it is not the answer, say specifically which unit.

  • Okay. The group that the signal unit was operating for was the NPFL. It was NPFL signal unit.

  • Okay. Who was in charge of the NPFL signal unit at the time you were sent for training, do you know?

  • The commander who was there as the regional commander was Joseph Demmy. His code name was Bedcat and in the Liberian English they pronounce it Beckier [phon]. That is the way it is pronounced in Liberian English, Beckier.

  • Now you said you were sent for training and approximately five of you were sent or the training at the signal unit?

  • Where was the signal unit located?

  • The signal unit was in one of the quarters of a company - a company that was in Bomi Hills. I don't know whether it was iron ore, or I don't know what it was mining, but it was there, so it was at the quarters. It was not far from One Man One's office. The battalion headquarters office was not far from the signal office also.

  • Do you know why you were picked for radio training - for training in the signal unit?

  • I don't know why it was specifically me, but we were asked about our educational backgrounds, those who had attended school academic levels, and we were five in number who went through. Like the communication unit, which is the signal unit, it was not everybody who liked the unit. Not every combatant who liked the unit, because we were just in one place. We didn't go anywhere. Nobody went anywhere. We didn't go to the war front. We did not capture anything. So - but we were selected to go to the signal unit.

  • Mr Santora, a time frame would be helpful.

  • Thank you, Justice Sebutinde:

  • Now, Mr Witness, earlier you said that - well, let me just ask you directly. When approximately was it that you were picked to commence training at the signal unit? Do you know approximately the month and year?

  • That was late 1991. Late 1991.

  • Now, how long was the duration - what was the duration of your radio training at the signal unit? Of your training at the signal unit? How long did it last?

  • I was on it until mid-1992, in Bomi Hills.

  • So the training itself lasted from end of '91 to mid-92?

  • He didn't say end of '91. He said late '91.

  • I understand. Thank you for that:

  • The training itself lasted from late 1991 until mid-1992? Is that what you are saying?

  • Yes. Really, it was not like a training that you would undergo, for example, they will tell you that now you are qualified for this job and you would be certified or something like that, but while the training was going on we would go on the radio, we would be allowed to prepare messages, and we would receive messages. We will do that on our own. If, for example, anybody called Demmy and others who will allow us to practicalise what we had been learning and I was on that up to mid-92.

  • Mr Interpreter, this word practicalise, this is a new word for me. What does it mean?

  • To practice, your Honour.

  • To practise what we were being taught.

  • Now you mentioned your training and you referred to several things such as voice procedure. Describe the composition of your training. What did you learn about specifically? Please speak slowly, I am going to remind you, Mr Witness.

  • Like, for example, all of us who are here now I would take us to be various battalions - let me say those up there would be the brigade commanders and this other section I will take that then to be a battalion and battalion headquarters and I will take this other area as the front line and I will take myself to be the control station. For example, if I have any instructions from the control stations where I am now, like for example Mr Taylor wants to talk to any of the battalions or brigade commanders, the voice procedure that we were taught was - that is in Liberia and Bomi Hills - like, for example 35, Treetop 35 Bravo, then 35 Bravo will respond. Then he will say, "This 35 Bravo, carry on", or he will say "35 Bravo Roger". From there again Treetop will tell him to go to this and this frequency. Frequency is the numbers that are on the channels. That is the various channels that are on the radio that we gave codes to. The frequencies also had code names. All of those things were being taught to us, how to use those frequencies and the code names, and apart from that, like the various commanders had code names also. I would say, for example, Ebony may like to talk to Energy, that is like Mr Taylor would like to talk to General Degbon. Then, if it was a message pertaining to reinforcement or movement of troops we would write it down and we would encode it. After encoding it we will transmit it to the receiving station. When the receiving station would have received the message, they will decode it and give it to the commander who was in charge and that commander in charge, after reading the message, would sign underneath that he had received the message and he had read it.

  • Okay. I am going to stop you for a moment and just ask you some questions about what you described. Though as a matter of record, and I guess I could ask for a stipulation on this, if Defence counsel noticed in the beginning of the witness's answer the witness, in trying to explain something, was referring to various sections and was pointing to various areas of the courtroom and I don't know if Defence counsel was able to see that in the beginning of his answer?

  • I can inform my learned friend that I was busily trying to follow this very long answer on the screen and I didn't see a single description of anywhere in the courtroom, I am afraid.

  • Well, for purposes of record then, the witness tried to give an example by indicating that the Bench would be the commanders, the Defence - the Prosecution would be the front line and the Defence would be - he would be the channels. I am just trying to recall what exactly the Defence was. I think it was the base. Then from that he then went on to describe the line of communication.

  • Well, it all sounds quite appropriate in the circumstances, Madam President.

  • I will probably clarify some of this in these upcoming questions:

  • Mr Witness, you were describing how your training and how communications worked. In describing that you pointed to various areas of the courtroom and then you referred to yourself "I will take myself to be the control station". First of all, what were you trying to explain when you referred to various areas of the courtroom and just please take it slowly?

  • For example, I am the control station commander and Mr Taylor is the CIC. If he wants to send a message to any front line or he wants to get a message from any front line he would not contact the front line directly, except in unusual circumstances when it's something really urgent that did not need any delay, but normally he will send the message for example that - the example that I set here, that is the highest that I sent from CIC, I am transmitting the message to this section and that is the brigade commander and the brigade commander in turn would send the message to the battalion commanders and the battalion commanders in turn would send a message to the company commander. That was the way the communication went on within the NPFL at that time that I know of exactly.

  • When you say "control station", what do you mean when you say the phrase "control station"?

  • Control station, like Treetop at that time was the control station. Treetop was Mr Taylor's radio station. One operator whom I can recall now that I used to communicate with most often was Butterfly at Treetop.

  • Before you give an example, what is a control station? Just define it.

  • A control station was the station which had authority over all the other radio stations in the movement, that is the NPFL movement at that time.

  • So at the time you were based in Bomi Hills during the course of your training, do you know where the control station for the NPFL was?

  • To the best of my knowledge it was Gbarnga.

  • You also said - and I am just asking you if you could define the term. You used the term "voice procedure". What does that mean, "voice procedure"?

  • Well, in communication there are two ways to communicate, the one that I know of. That is there was Morse code, that was "dede dada dede", that was telegraphing, yes. And then the voice procedure was a laid down rule that you should talk on that particular radio net. Like the Liberian NPFLs, they had their own voice procedure. When we went to Pendembu area, that was in late '92, we had - you know Pa Sankoh trained us in the British voice procedure, but we will come to that.

  • Okay. You also referred to - in giving an example you referred to commanders turning to frequencies. Just explain what is a frequency in this context.

  • It was operators who would turn to frequencies, not commanders, because it was the operators who operated the radio. Frequency is a chosen number. For example, we had frequencies - like the first frequency that I was exposed to in communication was 70350. That was Bomi Hills. That was the national at that time for the NPFL - for the NPFL's communication system.

    There were other frequencies like 103400 and most of those names I cannot recall now, because frequencies used to change with time. It was not a fixed thing. Those selected numbers that we used as frequencies, we used to change them with time, most often.

  • Madam President, there is a phrase that is about to disappear and so I think it's best to raise it now in the in the previous answer about two ways to communicate. There was Morse code, "And then the voices procedure was a laid down rule that you should talk on that particular radio net" is what is recorded there and I think that's what the witness said, but I can't be absolutely certain. Can we find out what a radio net is, because I know various nets but none of them are radios.

  • Yes, that was the word used I am fairly sure, Mr Santora, and counsel is referring to, on my font, line 14 of page 68. Perhaps you will be coming to that clarification.

  • I was going to come to it, but I can do it right now since we are addressing the point:

  • Mr Witness, you referred something called a radio net. What do you mean by that, "radio net"?

  • Thank you, Mr Lawyer. A radio net is a group of radio stations that work together on the same frequency. That is what we call radio net. Radio net comprises radio stations and the frequency - an ordinary frequency cannot become a radio net. If you have selected a frequency and a group of radio stations worked there and from that point it becomes a radio net.

  • Mr Witness, this brings me back to my question about frequencies. First of all, how were these frequencies identified?

  • Well, the frequencies too were given code names. We would say "upstairs", "downstairs", and so on, because we used to change the names.

  • The frequency itself earlier you said was a number. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • So explain what you mean then when you say code names were frequencies?

  • Like 70553, for example, we will take that to be a frequency. When all of us would be on the radio net, that is the national where all of us will assemble, when I would want to talk to a particular - for example, the front line that I said as an example about, I will contact them. I said, "Come in on Hotel One to Treetop". Hotel One would respond to me. When he would have responded and I will take him from that main frequency to go to another frequency. Why we used to do that was because we knew that the enemies were monitoring us. So by the time the enemy would be searching for that frequency we would have completed talking what we wanted to talk on another frequency.

    I will not say, "Let's go to 60552". If it was like 60552 that wanted to go, maybe that frequency we would have given it a code name that was Mango. So I will just tell him that Mango. Right there he would understand that it was that frequency that we were supposed to go. Then the two of us would go there and talk what we were supposed to talk on Mango and from there we would return to the national. That was how the frequencies operated.

  • Mr Witness, can I remind you again of the need to speak slowly so the interpreters and the people that are recording your answers can get them down correctly.

  • I will try, although that's my normal way of talking, but I will try. I will try to adjust to your satisfaction. I will try.

  • We understand and what I will do in future is give you a signal if I hear you speeding up. Continue, Mr Santora.

  • Okay, I would appreciate that. Thank you.

  • So just to be clear and then we will move on, the number 70553 referred to what?

  • No, that was just an example that I made that we will take it to be like Mango --

  • Of a frequency. 7055, we will take that as an example of a frequency and on that - it could be 7055 or any other figure. We will give a name to that, that instead of calling it say 70555 I will just say Mango. You would know that it was 70555 that we were to go.

  • Who would actually know the names - the code names - for these frequencies?

  • Well, those frequencies, most often it was the control station which prepared the codes. When the control station would have prepared the codes the control station would make sure that those codes were circulated to all the various radio stations before we start using that particular code, which means the same thing that would be in a particular code would be the same thing at the other. And if you are not part of that - you don't have any knowledge about that code, you would find it difficult to decode it.

  • You have referred to a frequency called the national frequency and you said later on where all of you would be on the national frequency. What do you mean when you say "the national frequency"? What does that refer to?

  • That was the frequency where all of us assembled, so if you needed somebody that was the place you would pick that person up and you would send him to another station or frequency and that was where the two of you would talk to each other.

  • Now, you were describing this as what you learned in training while you were training at the signal unit in Bomi Hills. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • From your position at Bomi Hills at the signal unit, could you observe the state of communications going on at that time in Liberia; who was communicating with who?

  • Mr Santora, that is --

  • It is two questions, I apologise.

  • Yes, it is two questions, plus it's very wide because we have heard a reference in previous answers to an enemy, we have heard answers to other bases. Something more specific.

  • I will withdraw the question. Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr Witness, from your position at Bomi Hills can you describe the communications situation within Liberia?

  • Well, we are I think now actually even wider than in the previous question. I think if my learned friend wants to get something from the witness about communications within his organisation then that would be the appropriate way to go about it. And may I say that's the last time I propose assisting the Prosecution in how to put their case.

  • I apologise. I was just looking to the response, I'm sorry. Let me just rephrase the question:

  • At Bomi Hills what communications were you aware of going on?

  • I am very sorry, but we are getting wider with each question.

  • Yes. Mr Santora, I made an observation that the witness had referred to organisations, e.g. he had referred to the enemy, he had referred to other bases, and I said that your question was very wide. To my mind you have not narrowed that question to the specifics that would be within the knowledge of the witness.

  • From your observation, Mr Witness, at Bomi Hills from your observation you have - well, let me preface this before I ask you the question. You have described that this was a communications signal unit for the NPFL that you were being trained at. Is that correct?

  • I did not get that clearly.

  • You said that you were being trained at this particular signal unit at Bomi Hills which was a part of the NPFL's - which was part of the NPFL. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • From your position in Bomi Hills, did you observe any communications going on within the NPFL at that time?

  • Can you describe some of the communications that you observed?

  • Like, I can recall at a point in time, while we were at the radio station at Bomi Hills, One Man One went to the radio stations and said that Bedcat should send a message to Energy that we were under pressure, that is the RUF/NPFL fighters, our men, who were on the front line that they were under pressure from the enemies. In this sense, when I say the enemies, I am referring to the Sierra Leone government troops and the other people who were fighting against Mr Taylor. One Man One sent that particular message. It came for Demmy to send the message and Demmy prepared the message and One Man One signed it and he encoded it and he sent it to General Degbon. General Degbon, his operator received it and decoded it and General Degbon responded to the message that he would be in Bomi Hills within 24 hours. And indeed, General Degbon came there. I was in a radio room at another time when General Degbon sent a radio message to Ebony for him to send reinforcement for the enemies not to overrun the NPFL/RUF fighters on the front line towards Sierra Leone and the message, we saw the reinforcement come. Within four to five days time the reinforcement came from different areas.

  • Okay. You have just given examples of two --

  • [Overlapping speakers].

  • Go ahead.

  • Yes. Then I also recall that there was a time when Pa Sankoh was in Bomi Hills and Mosquito - let me say, no, wrong, it was not Mosquito, it was one of the commanders, Zino. Zino. He sent a message from Pendembu, that is in Sierra Leone, to say that at that time they were advancing towards Gandorhun, that is towards the Kono area, Gandorhun. Yes, I can also recall that, that particular communication.

  • Mr Witness, before I ask you specifically about these specific communications, you have referred several times in your answer to RUF/NPFL fighters. What do you mean by that when you say RUF/NPFL fighters?

  • Well, that was the time we were in Bomi Hills. That was the time we were in Bomi Hills. We were fighting as one group. All of us were fighting as one group. The NPFL and the RUF, those of us the RUF and the NPFL.

  • So at this time from your standpoint, from your observation, in Bomi Hills, describe the state of the communication between the NPFL and the RUF?

  • At that time actually, I only recall that they had one station around the Kailahun area that was based in Pendembu. That was time I was in Bomi Hills that I recall and it was CO Nya, he was the commander.

  • Who had one station based in Kailahun area?

  • Within the RUF liberated territories, they had one radio station initially, and later they also had another radio station that they established around Kuiva area. Around the Kuiva area towards Daru.

  • Now, I am asking you typically how did a communication flow between the RUF and the NPFL at this time while you were in Bomi Hills? How did this typically work?

  • Well, those of us, the RUF who were around the first battalion area, we did not have any communications on our own. We used purely NPFL communications. In fact, the communication radio stations that I have spoken about that were in Pendembu and Kuiva, we all of us operated on the same frequency.

  • Just before you go on, I want you to listen to my question closely. At the time you were in Bomi Hills I am talking about.

  • Okay. Describe typically how a communication - how communications flowed between the RUF and NPFL. I am not asking you about the time you were in Sierra Leone yet.

  • That is what I am saying. At the time I was in Bomi Hills, that is what I am talking about. CO Nya and us, we all of us used the same frequency. By the time I was in Bomi Hills, we used the same frequency, the same codes and sometimes CO Nya would contact Demmy to give him updates about us, those of us who were on the other side. That was when CO Mohamed would want to know about our conditions. And those of us who were there together with some other Sierra Leone vanguards, they would go to our radio station to know about developments in the 2nd Battalion. That was, we were referring to the Kailahun area as the 2nd Battalion.

  • Okay. First of all, I am just going to ask you quickly to explain. Who is CO Nya?

  • CO Nya was a Liberian and he was particularly a Gio and he was the signal commander for the RUF. He was the overall signal commander for the RUF.

  • Mr Interpreter, did the witness say probably or particularly a Gio?

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to repeat that, but I did not hear probably, your Honours.

  • Mr Witness, did you say he was probably or did you say he was particularly a Gio?

  • He was a Gio. He was a Gio man.

  • Now at the time you were in Bomi Hills, where was CO Nya based?

  • He was based in Pendembu. CO Nya was based in Pendembu.

  • Now you were describing how a communication would work from the RUF to the NPFL, and you said that CO Nya would contact Demmy. Is that correct?

  • From that point, just slowly take it. From Demmy, where would the communication go?

  • Well, those were one of the areas that communications went on frequently, and then there was a time again when Foday Sankoh went to the radio room because by then he did not travel with Alfred Brown. He had an operator who was called Alfred Mortor that we used to call Alfred Brown.

  • Mr Witness, I was asking you about your description of how typically a communication would work and you said --

  • This is what I am explaining. I am laying the foundation - the basis of the communication. Alfred Brown was a roving operator for Foday Sankoh, and I recall that at a point in time Alfred Brown was not around and the Papay went to the radio station to find out about situations on the other side within the other RUF fighters within the 2nd Battalion in the Kailahun District.

  • Mr Witness, where?

  • Pendembu, Kailahun District. We were in the radio station in Bomi Hills when Pa Sankoh met us there and he wanted to find out about a situation in Sierra Leone, within the RUF areas.

  • And did he do that?

  • Demmy did and he told me that at that time there was - there wasn't much problem, but the only thing that CO Nya and others spoke about was ammunition.

  • So just to put this in context, Mr Witness. I asked you how typically a communication would work and you said that CO Nya would communicate to Demmy and then you described this incident where you saw Foday Sankoh talking to Demmy, but I want to know typically from Demmy where would messages be transmitted?

  • Well, for instance, when we were in Bomi Hills, if there was any message, like for instance Anthony Mekunagbe, General Dry Pepper, was another person who used to frequently visit Sierra Leone to supervise the war. He would go on the 1st Battalion side, that is the Pujehun area, and he would also go to the 2nd Battalion area, that is the Liberian side, and at any time they came to Bomi Hills they will enter the radio station to find out about the situation directly and directly from the situation from the station. I am limiting my - what I am talking about to around 1992. That is what I am talking about, the level of communication that we had whilst I was in Bomi Hills.

  • The witness mentioned a time frame and he said around 1992.

  • That is what I am going to clarify first and then move on to something else:

  • Mr Witness, your observations that you are describing now, initially I asked you to describe your observations while you were at Bomi Hills, which was late '91 to mid-92, is that correct?

  • Now, what you're describing in terms of how typically a communication would work, I want to ask you in terms of location where would the communications be transmitted from and to where would they be transmitted to? Let's just start with where would the communication usually originate from?

  • Well, sometimes when General Degbon and others got those messages they will want to get on to the Papay, that is Foday Sankoh - General Degbon would want to get on to Pa Sankoh to give him updates about the situation. Sometimes Pa Sankoh himself would enquire things for himself. Sometimes he will enquire from General Degbon.

    Because most of the commanders, for example the 1st Battalion in which I was, they had that - I was exposed to the Liberia NPFL chain of command at that time. So whenever any message came from the front line, the Sierra Leone area, that is the Pujehun area, it was General Degbon that directly updated Foday Sankoh because at that time RUF did not actually get a radio station on their own to operate its own frequency. So it was the Liberian operators who used to go to the front lines until such a time when we also joined them because by then we had been with them for some time and by then we would go with them for some time now and we share experiences together.

  • The message that came from the front line, the Sierra Leone area, where specifically would that message be transmitted to?

  • There were various areas. They would sometimes send it to General Degbon, sometimes General Dry Pepper, Anthony Mekunagbe. And Mekunagbe or Degbon would send a message directly to the leader, Foday Sankoh.

  • Okay, I asked you, Mr Witness, where, not who. Listen to the question. Where were the messages sent to? Do you know what I mean? The messages that came from Sierra Leone, where were they sent to?

  • That is in Liberia. In Liberia.

  • Where specifically?

  • Well, like for instance in Bomi Hills, sometimes in Gbarnga - the commanders were mobile. They were not static. Like for instance even Foday Sankoh had a base in Gbarnga, he had a base in Bomi Hills, he had a base in Kailahun. So wheresoever they were the message would meet them there.

  • How frequent was the communication between the front lines in Sierra Leone and the NPFL in Liberia?

  • It was on a daily basis.

  • How do you know that?

  • Because every morning when even - even when I had started gaining much understanding about the communications, sometimes I myself would contact Sierra Leone to get feedback from Pendembu and later I would tell my commander in charge, Demmy, that this was the situation for any commander who was going to come later, because any commander who came he will act for Demmy or Ringo or the other Liberian senior operators who were there with us and that was how the communications went on. They too would in turn contact us to know about the situation. It was on a daily basis.

  • You said that sometimes - that messages would go to Gbarnga. Is that correct?

  • How do you know that?

  • I will be in the radio room. I was there at one point in time when a message came from the front line, the Pujehun area, to Degbon that the enemies, that is the government troops, the Sierra Leone government troops, had crossed the bridge again and that they were advancing. They had come past Bo Waterside and they were advancing towards the Wangeko area and I was there when General Degbon sent that message to Ebony. I was there when he sent the message to Ebony.

  • Where were you? Where were you?

  • Bomi Hills. Bomi Hills in the radio station.

  • So how were you able to hear this message?

  • The message, he went there and told Demmy that Demmy should send so and so message to explain that this was the situation and the message itself would be written by Demmy and General Degbon will write - sign it, because we had a message logbook where we kept records of all messages. So any operator whosoever entered the radio room, you will turn the pages of the logbook and you will familiarise yourself with the updates of the day.

    And that besides, at any time General Degbon came to the radio room we will all be present. Or at any time Mohamed himself came there we will be all there. If Dry Pepper came there we would all be there. So all the discussions, we monitored all of them live. Live.

  • Okay, you said you monitored - I will ask you about monitoring in a moment. In this particular description, this example you have given right now, I asked you how you know messages went to Gbarnga from the front lines and you said you were there in the radio room at one point when a message came from the front line to Degbon. Where was Degbon at this time?

  • You said that this message informed Degbon that the government troops had crossed the bridge again and they were advancing. Do you remember saying that?

  • Then you said they had passed Bo Waterside advancing towards the Wangeko area and "I was there when General Degbon sent that message to Ebony". Who was there when General Degbon sent that message to Ebony?

  • Listen to the question. Who was there when General Degbon sent the message to Ebony?

  • I was there.

  • Joseph Demmy was there and some other operators were present when General Degbon gave the instruction to Demmy to transmit a message to --

  • Your Honours, could the witness come again with the last bit of his testimony.

  • Mr Witness, the interpreter has not heard the last part of your answer clearly. Please pick up your answer where you said, "When General Degbon gave the instruction to Demmy to transmit a message to --" Continue from there.

  • General Degbon gave instruction to Demmy to transmit the message to Treetop for Ebony. That was Ebony's radio station, that is what I am referring to as Treetop. For the message to be transmitted to Ebony.

  • Were you present when this message was - well, was this message transmitted to Treetop?

  • Yes.

  • How do you know that?

  • I was in the radio room when Demmy encoded the message and sent it.

  • And where was Treetop located?

  • In Gbarnga. That was the control station. That was Charles Taylor's radio station.

  • Now, earlier you described Gbarnga as the location for the control station for the NPFL. Is that correct?

  • When messages would come from the front line, typically how would they be transmitted from the front line? Actually, let me withdraw the question because I think it will be repetitive if I ask it that way. Mr Witness, the messages that would come from the front line, would they eventually reach Gbarnga?

  • Yes.

  • And how would they --

  • Which messages from the front line would reach Gbarnga? We have heard of a constant amount of messaging from the front line via all sorts of circuitous routes and if my learned friend is asking about a particular one then we want details, but to put the question in so vague a way is not helpful to anyone, starting with the witness.

  • It is indeed very wide, Mr Santora, because the witness has described or given examples of different messages from the front line and in fact from different front lines.

  • Okay, I will take the cue, your Honour:

  • Mr Witness, you have referred to code names. At this time while you were in Bomi Hills can you remember some of the code names of some of the commanders?

  • Yes, like for example Mr Taylor, we used to call him Ebony. Foday Sankoh was Toyota. Foday Sankoh was Toyota. General Degbon was Energy. Like for some of the call signs, those who were in Pendembu, they were Three-Five or 35. Mr Taylor's radio station was Treetop at a point in time. But really the code names were not static. They changed with time, really. They used to change with time.

  • Now, how long did you remain in Liberia?

  • I was in Liberia up to late 1992.

  • Now, you described your training at the control station as going from late 1991 to mid-1992. Is that right?

  • Well, not all is right. I have described my training, but not --

  • I do object to this because my learned friend is now cross-examining his own witness. I objected when he said, "You said your training was at the end of '91 to mid-92" because the witness hadn't said that. I pointed out from the transcript that the witness had said late '91 to mid-92 and Mr Santora accepted that he had slightly wrongly phrased the answer. The witness is now being cross-examined on the evidence that he gave earlier that was settled evidence.

  • Your Honours, may I respond on that? I have not at all put any inconsistency to the witness. I simply restated for foundational purposes the period of the training he has already stated. I was going to explore if he had any other particular assignment or duty in Liberia. There has been no proposition to this witness that there has been an inconsistency.

  • The sequence of questions started with how long did you remain in Liberia, a very general question, and the witness responded. Mr Santora reminded or restated that it was late '91 to '92 for his training and then said "Is that right?" which technically could be cross-examining your witness because you are saying to him, "Is this evidence that you have already given us correct?" So perhaps rephrase that. I think I know what you are saying, Mr Santora, but rephrase it so that it does not imply that he could correct himself when in fact it has been given clearly.

  • I think I can just simplify matters perhaps:

  • When did you leave Liberia, Mr Witness?

  • So from mid-1992 to late 1992, what did you do?

  • Well, we were in Bomi Hills and then myself and the other fighters, the NPFL and all of us, that is what I am referring to, when the ULIMO attacked us in Bomi Hills and they captured Bomi Hills from us. So from there, when we retreated through the Maca crossing point, the next place I based was Kakata and we were in Kakata until the time Foday Sankoh came from Liberia, when Foday Sankoh came from the front line from Liberia, that is Monrovia, he came together with Mr Taylor. That was during the Operation Octopus some time in September '92, something like that, yes. Yes, I am sure. September, during Operation Octopus. When they came from the front line they met us in a formation because he left a message behind saying that because we have been now scattered all over Liberia, that is Foday Sankoh, he sent a message so that Rebel King and the others like CO Lion would put us together to go and join our other brothers in the Kailahun area to continue the arms struggle. That was the time he and Mr Taylor passed through Kakata. They were going in around the areas to Monrovia.

  • Okay, Mr Witness. Before you go on, when approximately did ULIMO attack you - attack your group in Bomi Hills? When approximately did that happen?

  • It was during the rains, around late June to July. Around that - around late June to July. It was raining.

  • And you said then you retreated through Maca crossing? What exactly did you say; which crossing?

  • Can you just spell that?

  • M-A-C-A, Maca. There is a river there. I do not know the name. That is in Liberia. When you are moving from the Bomi Hills area you will cross the river and the first village you meet there is Maca. That was the area where we were, around the Maca area. I do not actually know the name of the county, but it was at the Maca crossing point.

  • And you said "we retreated". Who actually retreated from Bomi Hills?

  • Demmy, myself and all the other NPFL forces who were in Bomi Hills and who had retreated.

  • And you said the next place you were based was Kakata. Is that correct?

  • About how long - how much time transpired between when you left Bomi Hills and you arrived at Kakata? Approximately how much time passed?

  • About a month, because we spent some time at Maca, at the crossing point that I have just explained about, we were there on defensive. From Maca we went to Kakata.

  • Upon your arrival in Kakata, what happened?

  • I was now in Kakata until the time the NPFL launched their Operation Octopus on Monrovia, and we were there because even though we had been there with them, and we had been scattered, but some of the Black Gadaffa units were still intact, although some of its members were on the various front lines, but a part of the people within the Black Gadaffa that I am referring to now, there was a point in time when we were in Kakata and Mr Taylor and Pa Sankoh, they moved from the Gbarnga area and they went to the front line going towards Monrovia. That was Echo Bravo. And whilst Pa Sankoh was going he left a message with CO Lion and he asked him to assemble us so that he will make us go back to Sierra Leone through Kailahun to join the other RUF fighters who were in Kailahun.

  • Okay. First of all, you said that Mr Taylor and Pa Sankoh moved from the Gbarnga area and they went to the front line going towards Monrovia. How do you know that Mr Taylor and Pa Sankoh moved from the Gbarnga area and went to the front line towards Monrovia? How do you know that?

  • When they moved from the Gbarnga area, they came to Kakata and CO Lion and others met the Pa, Pa Sankoh, and the message that Pa Sankoh gave to CO Lion was, because I was also on the radio there, so I was one of the persons who CO Lion gave the message to that Pa Sankoh had given to him. He said we should prepare that message. He said if there was any one amongst my fellow, my colleague RUF fighters around Kakata or around that area, he said I should inform that person that Pa Sankoh said we should try and prepare ourselves to go back to Sierra Leone. And he gave a date in fact. He said from the date CO Lion gave me that message, he gave us two days to assemble ourselves and from that time almost everybody was now coming on board. Those of us the RUF fighters, all of us were now coming to assemble around the police station where the NPFL police station was. That is on the highway in Kakata. That was where every one of us came, because at any time Pa Sankoh would come everybody would be able to see him.

  • Mr Witness, remember the original question I asked you was how you know Sankoh - Foday Sankoh, Pa Sankoh, and Mr Taylor went towards Monrovia towards the front line. That is what I asked you. How do you know that?

  • It was Mr Lion, Mr Alan Blamo, the Lion, he told me.

  • So that is simple enough. You learnt from Mr Lion, is that what you are saying. From Lion?

  • Mr Santora, the witness mentioned a phrase Echo Bravo. What is Echo Bravo?

  • That was the code name for Monrovia at a point in time. There was a time that was how we used to refer to Monrovia, Echo Bravo, that particular time.

  • Now, you said that the message Pa Sankoh gave to CO Lion that - I am sorry, you said that Pa Sankoh gave to CO Lion a message. Is that correct?

  • And you also said "So I was one of the persons who CO Lion gave the message to that Pa Sankoh had given him." I need you to explain slowly the transmission of this message. You said Pa Sankoh gave a message to CO Lion. Where was Pa Sankoh when he gave this message to CO Lion?

  • CO Lion told me that Papay had come, that is Pa Sankoh. He said he had come and he had passed and he had gone towards Monrovia front line. He said he went together with Ebony. He said he will have to come again. And he told him that he said we should try and assemble ourselves in one particular place in Kakata. It was CO Lion who said --

  • Mr Witness, I want you to listen to the question carefully. You start answering the question and then you go into the history. We are only - you are only being asked one question, not the history as well, so listen to the question. You have said - the question was where was Pa Sankoh when he gave the message to CO Lion. You have given part of that answer but you haven't given it all. Mr Santora, put the question again please. Listen carefully and answer carefully.

  • Mr Witness, just the answer to this question. Where was Pa Sankoh when he gave this message to CO Lion?

  • And after this message was given to CO Lion who, if anyone, did CO Lion give this message to?

  • Well, he, CO Lion was telling the various RUF fighters in Kakata to circulate the message. He said - when he came across any one of them he will give him the message and he will tell that person that "at any time you see some other person make sure you tell that person the message", so that was how the message was circulated.

  • And what specifically did the message say?

  • The message said we should prepare to go back to Sierra Leone through Kailahun to go and join our colleague RUF fighters in Kailahun.

  • Okay. Originally this question was about you leaving Liberia and you have said now that you have reached this location, Kakata, and now you have described a message that CO Lion sent with - about having Sierra Leoneans go back to Sierra Leone. Is that correct?

  • After this message was transmitted by CO Lion, what happened?

  • Well, two days after that Pa Sankoh came to Kakata and fortunately enough he met a good number of us around the police - I mean the MP headquarters in Kakata. He came in the convoy with Mr Taylor. He alighted and spoke to us briefly, but Mr Taylor did not talk to us. He was still seated in his own vehicle. Mr Taylor did not alight. He was still seated in his own vehicle, his own jeep. The glass - the windscreens were up when Pa Sankoh alighted and came and spoke to us. He said, "My children, my brothers, my sisters, all of us now know what the struggle is all about." He said, "You should prepare". And he, Foday Sankoh, was now saying that he was going to Gbarnga and on arriving there he said he was going to send a vehicle or a truck to pick us from Kakata. Indeed, when he went he sent the truck.

  • Who sent the truck?

  • Foday Sankoh. Foday Sankoh. Indeed, when he arrived in Gbarnga he sent a truck to pick us from Kakata. We went to Gbarnga, we met Mr Sankoh there, and then all of us travelled together to Sierra Leone through Kailahun.

  • Before you go on, because I can just clarify a few things before the break. You said that Mr Taylor himself did not alight from the vehicle. Is that correct?

  • Yes, yes.

  • How do you know the individual in the vehicle was Mr Taylor?

  • It was CO Lion who told me.

  • Was that the first time you ever saw Mr Taylor?

  • Now, you also said that, "He was going to send a vehicle or a truck to pick us up from Kakata", referring to Foday Sankoh you said. When you said "pick us up", about how many of you were to be picked up from Kakata?

  • We were there up to 70 something of us. I do not recall the exact figure anyway.

  • So what kind of truck was he going to send to pick you up, do you know?

  • It was a big three wiper Toyota truck that came and picked us up, but we filled the truck.

  • Do you remember how many