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

  • Mr Sesay, last Friday when we adjourned for the weekend we were looking at a document which was supposed to be notes of a meeting held at Waterworks in December 1998. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I do recall.

  • And whereas you say you did attend a meeting at Waterworks when an attack on Kono was planned, you do not recall attending the meeting supposedly recorded in those minutes; is that correct?

  • Yes, that's what I said.

  • Now, at this stage, Mr Sesay, I'd like you to be shown a map, our exhibit P-5, S1 and I'm going to ask you to trace for us the path you took in December 1998, beginning with an attack on Kono, ending with the capture of Makeni, okay?

  • Now, what I would suggest, Mr Sesay, is this. Could you please sit in the other seat? Because what I'd like you to do is to indicate with a pen the various targets which you captured during that operation. First of all, where did you set off from in order to mount this operation? Could you first of all just give us the name of your jumping-off point?

  • We took off from Buedu. That is here.

  • Yes. And then you went to where?

  • And we came to Kailahun Town.

  • Then we crossed the Moa River here and we came to Gandorhun.

  • Yes?

  • And from Gandorhun we went to the outskirts of Koidu Town and there was an area of Kambia called Guinea base, Superman Ground. The name of the village is Kuyor.

  • Pause there. The name of the village is what?

  • How do you spell that?

  • Thank you. And then?

  • Then from Kuyor we planned the attack on Sefadu, Koidu Town. That is here.

  • And having captured Koidu Town, where did you go next?

  • Then from Koidu Town we used the main road to Yengema, but it was the main road from Yengema, Bumpe. Then we went to Jiama Sewafe. From Jiama Sewafe, we went through Gold Town, Masingbi, here.

  • From Masingbi, Makali. I'm not seeing Makali on the map, but there is Matotoka there.

  • And then from Matotoka?

  • We went to Magburaka and went to Makeni here.

  • And as I understand your evidence, you thereafter remained in Makeni; is that right?

  • Yes. We captured Makeni and were based there. I was based there from --

    Now, Mr Sesay, you've told us that in particular during the attack on Koidu Town you captured a large quantity of arms and ammunition. Is that right?

  • Yes, sir, that's correct. I told you that all the armaments that ECOMOG had were left in Koidu Town.

  • And when you arrived in Makeni after that successful campaign, did you still have large quantities of that captured arms and ammunition with you?

  • Yes, the ammunition were there. Some of them, we used them until the time of disarmament.

  • Now, help us: Why, then, if you had such arms and ammunition, did you stop at Makeni? Why did you not continue on to Freetown?

  • Well, the reason for the attack on Freetown - you know, the attack on Freetown was not planned by the RUF. It was the AFRC. That's why we did not take part. It was planned by the AFRC. Especially when Bockarie told Bockarie to wait at Waterloo, and Bockarie did not agree, that's why --

  • Excuse me, Mr Interpreter, you said, "Especially when Bockarie told Bockarie to wait at Waterloo and Bockarie did not agree."

  • Your Honours, it's supposed to be Bockarie told Gullit, sorry.

  • Mr Sesay, what did you say? Who did you say was talking to who?

  • I said when Gullit told Bockarie that SAJ Musa was dead and they wanted to go and attack Freetown and Bockarie told Gullit that they should wait because he wanted to send reinforcement, but Gullit did not agree and they went to Freetown and launched the attack. That's why we did not go with the reinforcement.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, help us: When you arrived in Makeni, what was your knowledge as to opposition forces between you - your position in Makeni and Freetown? What was to stop you in terms of enemy forces from moving on to Freetown after Makeni?

  • Well, the Guineans were at Waterloo and the Nigerians were at Mile 38 and Masiaka. But if really the attack on Freetown was an organised one or it was planned between the AFRC and the RUF, we had armaments in Kono and we had tanks that we would have used to join the attack on Freetown and nothing would have stopped us.

  • Can we put that map away now, please. Could I ask that the witness now be shown our exhibit P-149. I wonder before that's put on the screen if I could look at the original of this document, please. Yes. I wonder if I could have the original to look at and we could my copy up on the screen because the print is very small on the photocopy document. Then we can magnify it on the screen. Yes.

    Now, Mr Sesay, if you need to look at the original you can, but do you see towards the top of the page that this document dated 21 January 1999 is addressed to you as battlefield commander Brigadier IH Sesay, do you see that?

  • Yes, I see it.

  • Now, first of all this: Were you a brigadier in January 1999?

  • No. I became a brigadier in February. In January I was a colonel.

  • And, if you recall, in those minutes of the meeting at Waterworks in December which we looked at on Friday you were referred to as Colonel Sesay in that document, do you recall?

  • Now, this document, have you seen it before?

  • Yes. They showed it to me during my trial. I saw it.

  • Prior to your trial, had you seen this document before?

  • No, I had not seen it before.

  • Now, we see that the document is headed, "Restricted", followed by the heading, "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, RUFL, 2nd INF." What does INF stand for, Mr Sesay?

  • Do you see on the second line of the title appear these letters, 2nd, second, INF. What does INF stand for?

  • I don't know the meaning of INF.

  • Followed by "Brigade headquarters, Bombali District, revolution intelligent office." In which district is Makeni?

  • It's the Bombali District.

  • We then see that it's addressed to the battlefield commander, Brigadier IH Sesay, from the overall intelligent officer commander and Black Guard adjutant.

    Pausing there, what's the name of the individual who held that post as best you know?

  • Well, during this time, the IO commander was Ibrahim Mannah.

  • And if we go to the second page of the document, bottom of the second page, please, we see a name at the bottom, Major Christ A Mannah. Is that the individual you're talking about?

  • Yes. It's Mannah.

  • Excuse me, was that Ibrahim or Abraham?

  • Mr Sesay, was it Ibrahim Mannah or Abraham Mannah?

  • Well, I knew him for Ibrahim Mannah and that's the name that everybody knew him for.

  • Did you know him as Christ A Mannah?

  • No, I don't know that name. I know Ibrahim Mannah.

  • Let's go back to the front page, please:

    "Upon hearing the confirmed report that the strike force commander, Brigadier Goodisl entered Freetown with his troops," who is Brigadier Goodisl, G-O-O-D-I-S-L? Who is that?

  • Well, I am not familiar with this name, Goodisl. But the name I know for the person who attacked Freetown is Gullit.

  • "... entered Freetown with his troops, Colonel Boston Flomo, alias Verndam" - what was Colonel Boston Flomo's nickname?

  • Yes, it was Van Damme.

  • Did he have another nickname?

  • So he was known as both Rambo and Van Damme, yes?

  • "... was instructed to meet with him with his troops, date 5 January 1999." Pausing there, was Colonel Boston Flomo given such an order on 5 January 1999, to your knowledge?

  • No. He was not given such an order.

  • "We launched a serious attack on Masiaka around 5.55 in the morning." Now, pausing there, who was in charge of the force that attacked Masiaka, Mr Sesay?

  • Superman was the senior commander and Rambo was the 2IC when they attacked Masiaka.

  • Were you involved in the attack on Masiaka?

  • No. I was in Makeni.

  • "The enemies were not able to withstand or confront us." Then it goes on to list logistics captured: One American GMG, some light automatic rifles, some assorted GMG rounds. Now, pausing again, Mr Sesay, this is a report of an attack on Masiaka led, you tell us, by Superman and Rambo. Is that correct?

  • Yes.

  • Did Superman and Rambo report to you or to Sam Bockarie?

  • Well, the report I received from Rambo, they did not capture ammunition in Masiaka but that was after the attack on Port Loko and it was not during this time.

  • What I'm asking you is this: At this time, in January 1999, did Superman and/or Rambo report to you or report to Bockarie?

  • Well, they reported to me, and there are times they sent reports to Bockarie, but whatever happened at the front line, they would inform me.

  • And why would they inform you? Was that because you were a superior officer or what?

  • Yes. I was a superior officer and I was the most senior man around Makeni, because Bockarie was way in the Kailahun District. Especially Rambo, he reported all activities to me from the front line.

  • "Casualty: Two wounded in action, WIA. With that zeal we advanced to RDF but no enemy confronted us." What is RDF?

  • RDF was a camp at Sumbuya. From my understanding it was a military camp called rapid defence force, Rapid Deployment Force.

  • "Straightaway we headed for Waterloo with confidence that Waterloo may be out of enemy control. Unfortunately we got in the midst of Guinean troops. We fight for the whole day unto the night.

    Logistics captured. RDF, six rockets RPG bombs with 6 TNTs, one box of mortar bombs."

    Then it goes on, dates:

    "6 January 1999. In the noon, whilst resting at Waterloo displaced and refugees camp, the deployed soldiers sent some civilians to us from the Guineans saying that they want to go to Guinea.

    7 January 1999. 3 a.m. We launched attack on their position at Peninsula Secondary School Waterloo. This act gathered them from their deployment zone to the said secondary school. In the afternoon, the enemies communicated with us through letter that they doesn't want to fight any longer with us. Colonel Boston Flomo replied this letter to their high commands.

    8 January 1999. 1 p.m. We attacked them again. In the noon, 3 p.m., Heavy and thick enemy convoy left from Port Loko bombarding whilst the Alpha Jet was flying over as special escort. 3.45 p.m., the convoy, including the deployed enemies that were at Waterloo, evacuated Waterloo back towards Port Loko axis. We embarrassed them and, with the panic in them, because we tried them everywhere, they left behind some logistics, 120 millimetre mortar gun, 40 barrel missile with some assorted rounds of AK rounds, G3, GMG, calibre, bombs. Indeed the capturing of surrendered soldiers is imminent also at Waterloo and more Benguema. We do capture materials almost every day. Casualties on the operation, overall operation at Waterloo, two killing in action, KIA, and around 15 wounded in action.

    Date, 9 January 1999. We deployed at Hastings, we discovered enemies at Jui and Kosso Town earlier on their number was not much. From this said date until now, we every day attack the guys but the air raid is desperate on and we attack Jui and Kosso Town. However, the helicopter which landed every day at the point had reinforced the enemies with both armament and manpower.

    Casualty on Jui operation, one killing in action, a good number of wounded in action."

    Let's go to the second page, please:

    "Date, 15 January 1999. It was agreed that the men in Freetown and the men at our point were to do joint operation on Jui and Kosso Town. The Freetown men were scheduled to attack Jui and we to attack Kosso Town that night. We attacked Kosso Town, clear the enemies, but the Freetown men never turn up, therefore the enemies with the support of the Alpha Jet drove us from Kosso Town.

    Date, 18 January 1999. The Guinean troops from Port Loko entered vehemently at Waterloo with sporadic shelling and firing. In fact, two Alpha Jets escorted the troops consisting of five war tanks, two armoured cars, one 40 barrel missile and a series of AA one barrel and twin barrels. They occupied Waterloo from that evening on to the morning around 3 a.m.

    Problems: For the main, while the only problems there at the front line are:

    1: We have not yet connected physically with our brothers in Freetown.

    2: Manpower indeed to be engaged on this urban warfare.

    3: The strategic position of the enemies, mainly Port Loko, Lungi, Jui, Kabala area delaying our progress, these problems are to be looked into kindly and to find fast solution.

    Suggestion: We suggested that as we are on urban guerrilla warfare that we use mainly artillery weapons, that we speedily recruit able and gallant men as population matters. All units to be active, especially at the front line, especially units like IDU, G5, G4, and S4."

    Pausing there, Mr Sesay, IDU stands for what?

  • Internal Defence Unit.

  • And what's the responsibility of G5?

  • G5 had no business at this time at the front line. Their responsibility was the welfare of the civilians.

  • G4 has what responsibility?

  • G4 was for arms and ammunition, to store them.

  • They were in charge of the food.

  • "That Tombo Road should be engaged while fighting force enemies are at Tombo.

    That monitary group should be formed, should assess and bring in situation report from at the flanks: Waterloo, Port Loko, Mile 91 and Kabala.

    That the commander should give chance to we, the securities, to be reached to you with processed situation report.

    All front lines to be reinforced with correct combat medics.

    Recommendation: Anyway, the morale of the soldiers, especially at the point I have visited, is high. Bravo to Colonel Boston Flomo, Major Barkar, Lieutenant Colonel Victor, Lieutenant Colonel Amara Sallia, alias Peleto, and all Black Guards. Only the regards for one another is logging but I pray that we will put this together fastly. I beg, sir, that you look into my problem and you rectify it with General Sam Bockarie. That is the conflicting position between Ben Kanneh and me."

    Now we see that it's signed by Lieutenant Raymond Kartewu, Black Guard adjutant. Did you know that individual?

  • Yes, I knew Raymond, but I did not know him to be Black Guard adjutant or IO adjutant, no.

  • What did you know him to be?

  • Raymond was with Kennedy Matthew Sesay at the mining unit in Kono.

  • Do you know, going back to the last paragraph, a Major Barkar?

  • Yes, I knew Major Barkar.

  • He was one of the AFRC guys that were with the group that I met in Kono.

  • So you met him in Kono, did you?

  • Yes. That was the first time I knew him.

  • Did he thereafter go with Colonel Boston Flomo to Waterloo?

  • Yes. They were in Waterloo later.

  • What about Lieutenant Colonel Victor, do you know him?

  • Yes. Victor was my bodyguard.

  • What was he doing with Boston Flomo at Waterloo?

  • They stayed in Makeni and --

  • Your Honours, could the witness repeat that part of his answer.

  • Could you repeat that answer, please, Mr Sesay?

  • I said they stayed in Makeni and the others went with Boston Flomo to Waterloo, Masiaka to Waterloo.

  • But did Lieutenant Colonel Victor go with Boston Flomo to Waterloo?

  • Who is Lieutenant Colonel Amara Sallia?

  • Amara Sallia is Peleto.

  • Yes, I know him.

  • Well, he was one of the junior officers and he was a major - Victor was a major at this time.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, if we go back to the beginning of this letter, or this memo --

  • Sorry, I'm looking at the answer that the witness just gave. Mr Griffiths, you asked the witness who is Amara Sallia, Lieutenant Colonel Amara Sallia. And through the interpreter the witness said Amara Sallia is Peleto. He says, "I know him. He was one of the junior officers. He was a major - Victor was a major." Are we talking about Victor or are we talking about Peleto?

  • Let's clarify that, Mr Sesay, was Peleto a major?

  • Yes, Peleto was a major. And even Victor at this time, he was a major.

  • So at this time, both Victor and Peleto were majors?

  • Yes.

  • Thank you. Go back to the front of the document, please. Now, you've told us, Mr Sesay, right at the outset, that you do not recall seeing this document before and the first time you saw it was in your trial in Freetown. Is that correct?

  • Yes, that's what happened.

  • Let's look at this document now as a whole. You'll see, looking down the left-hand side of the page, that the document purports to recount events on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, second page, please, 15th and 18th of January, yes? You see that?

  • And then below those - the references to those dates, there are suggestions as to what assistance is required. Do you see that?

  • But when we look at the beginning and end of the document, this document appears to have been signed and dated on 21 January; so that is three days after the last date, the 18th of January, when events are recalled. So it's three days later that suggestions are being made for assistance. Do you see that?

  • Now, at this time, did Rambo, Superman have a radio?

  • Yes. They had radios.

  • Did you have a radio?

  • Yes, I had a radio.

  • If the individual in charge of the RUF forces at Waterloo wanted to seek assistance, what was the quickest way of communicating?

  • It was to send message through the radio because Superman had a radio and Rambo too had a radio, and Rambo communicated with me on a daily basis.

  • So help us: Can you think of any reason why anyone would want to type up such a document as this and transmit it to you three days after assistance is apparently required?

  • Please repeat the question.

  • Can you help us as to why anyone would want to type up a document like this, seeking assistance, addressed to you, three days after 18 January? Why?

  • Well, in the first place, where our men were at Waterloo, they never had a typewriter there to type a document like this. Ibrahim Mannah, who is alleged to have written this document, he was with me in Makeni. From - we captured Makeni in December - late December. Ibrahim Mannah was there until the time he got an accident with a vehicle and he died in Makeni. He got the accident in Makeni Town.

  • When did he get the accident in Makeni?

  • In February, with a car.

  • Was he involved - was he present with Rambo in Waterloo?

  • No, he was not in Waterloo. He was in Makeni.

  • So what can you tell us about the authenticity of this document exhibited by the Prosecution?

  • This document is not correct.

  • Can I hand the original back, please, and get my document back.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, just dealing at this stage in general terms - we will come to the particulars in a moment - after the events in Freetown and Waterloo, between then and January 2002 was there any major fighting between the RUF and government forces after Freetown?

  • After January 1990 to when?

  • After January 1999 - after the Freetown invasion up to January 2002, was there any major fighting between the RUF and government forces?

  • I can recall two occasions during this time that there was fighting, but it was between one and two months that those fightings took place and it stopped. There were certain locations in Sierra Leone, they were not - they were not an offensive or a fight like it was in '98 - like it was in '98. It was not a full-scale fighting like the previous fight before, like in January '99.

  • And those two occasions were when?

  • Okay. One was when Superman attacked me in Makeni. I understood that the ECOMOG advanced from Jui to Waterloo, and they came to Mile 38 and attacked our men in Masiaka and Gberi Junction. That was the first time. That was in March to April, so after the ceasefire was declared.

  • So March to April of which year?

  • And what was the second occasion?

  • The second occasion was after the abduction of the UNAMSIL, the government troops attacked the RUF position between May - using gunships, between May, June, July, and the fight ceased. From August now right up to disarmament there was no fighting between the RUF and government troops.

  • May, June, July of which year?

  • That is 2000. In fact, those fightings were between Gberi Junction and Waterloo. Those were the places the fighting took place. They were not in other places like Kailahun. It was just along the main road to Freetown and around the Gberi junction and Lunsar. Except when the gunship used to attack the RUF areas between June and July - to mid-July.

  • Thank you for that. So after Freetown invasion, up to January 2002 those are the two instances of - only two instances of fighting thereafter?

  • Yes. Those are the times. Minus those minor Kamajor hit and retreats, but I was talking about the one between us and the government troops in Sierra Leone. Those are the occasions I can recall.

  • That's what I was interested in, Mr Sesay. Now, having painted that general picture, I'd like to now take things in a little bit more detail. What was happening in terms of the RUF between February and March 1999 after the Freetown invasion?

  • Well, after the Freetown invasion, when the men came and ran the Freetown invasion I was in Makeni. During the course of the invasion, I continued staying in Makeni until Superman attack and others attacked me. In May, the Government of Sierra Leone and the leader of the RUF, they had declared a ceasefire at that time, so this ceasefire was being observed by the two groups until the signing of the Lome Accord. And after the signing of the Lome Accord, the RUF became a part of the government of Sierra Leone because they had formed the Government of National Unity. So the RUF people were members and they were ministers in the government and they were running a Government of National Unity in part of 1999 to mid-2000. The only time --

  • Finish that sentence and then pause, please. "The only time" what?

  • The only time that that stopped was when the abduction of UNAMSIL personnel took place. That was the time that the Government of National Unity was dissolved.

  • Now, I just want to concentrate for now, Mr Sesay, on those initial months after the Freetown invasion. Those AFRC troops who you tell us, led by Gullit, were responsible for the Freetown invasion, what happened to them after that invasion ceased?

  • Well, they retreated to Waterloo through the hills of Freetown. The route that they used to go to Freetown was the same route they used to return - to retreat. So they were in Benguema whilst the RUF was in Waterloo at the initial stage. So there came a time when problems were erupting between the AFRC and the RUF in Waterloo, so Bockarie told me to withdraw Rambo, and I withdrew Rambo from Waterloo and he came to Makeni. When they attacked me, at that time they were at - when Superman and others attacked me in Makeni, before that time the government - the ECOMOG troops were attacking the AFRC positions in Hastings. You know, they were trying to advance towards Waterloo. So Rambo withdrew from that. When ECOMOG captured Waterloo, the AFRC withdrew to Mile 38 - that is Sumbuya, and they formed the West Side Jungle and that was where they were. At the same time - it was almost at the same time that Superman and Gibril Massaquoi attacked me in Makeni.

  • Pause there. First, I want this detail. When was the attack on you in Makeni by Superman and Gibril Massaquoi?

  • That was towards late March. Towards late March. Late March and early April. That was the time that the incident took place.

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat the last bit of his answer.

  • You gave a year at the end of that sentence, Mr Sesay. When was the year that this attack took place on you in March - late March, towards early, early April; which year?

  • Now, you described, at the outset of the long answer you just gave me, that they, those being the troops led by Gullit, retreated to Waterloo through the hills of Freetown, and they were in Waterloo with the RUF, and then there came a time when problems were erupting between the AFRC and the RUF in Waterloo. What problems were they?

  • Well, I had said that they were in Benguema whilst the RUF were in Waterloo. But from the time that they retreated to Benguema there was no unity between the AFRC and the RUF, so the problems continued. They used to shoot at each other and they used to have misunderstandings. Those are the types of problems I am talking about. The RUF were not subordinating themselves to the AFRC, and the AFRC too were not subordinating themselves to the RUF. The main grudge that the AFRC got - had was that we, the RUF, were the cause of them being driven out of Freetown. Because they said that if we had reinforced them in Freetown, they wouldn't have left Freetown. So that was the main problem between them, the RUF and the AFRC.

  • And then you go on to tell us that those AFRC members then went on to create a West Side Jungle. Is that right?

  • Yes, that's correct.

  • Is the West Side Jungle the same as the West Side Boys?

  • Yes, that's the same group.

  • Did Gibril Massaquoi go with them to the West Side Jungle?

  • No. Gibril went with Superman to Lunsar.

  • And what about Gullit; what happened to him?

  • So when Superman and others attacked me in Makeni and Rambo was killed, he - he stayed around West Side and joined Brigadier Mani and Superman and others in Makeni. From that time he was in Makeni until around August to September, then he returned. In 1999 he returned to the West Side Jungle. So it was Bazzy who was in the West Side Jungle with his men during that period that Gullit was not there.

  • Mr Griffiths, this answer is very ambiguous. You asked the witness, "What about Gullit; what happened to him?" So then the witness tells us that - he tells us about Superman, and then he begins to refer to someone who says, "he". "From that time he was in Makeni", et cetera, et cetera. I don't know who he's talking about.

  • Mr Sesay, your answer was this:

    "So when Superman and others attacked me in Makeni and Rambo was killed, he stayed around the west side and joined Brigadier Mani and Superman and others in Makeni."

    Who is the "he"?

  • I'm referring to Gullit, sir.

  • So just so that we are clear, just trace for us what Gullit did, what his movements were, immediately after the Freetown invasion.

  • After the Freetown invasion, Gullit was in Benguema when he retreated and - after he had retreated and based in Benguema. After that, they withdrew and created the West Side Jungle. It was at that same time that Superman and others attacked me in Makeni, so Gullit came with some of his forces and joined. He came to Makeni and joined Brigadier Mani and Superman and others. Since then he was in Makeni up to August and September, when he returned and joined his men again in the West Side Jungle, in the West Side base. So from April to August/September, he was in Makeni before he returned to the West Side.

  • Why did he come to Makeni?

  • Well, because he had heard about the infighting. They sided with Superman because Superman had made them to understand that I and Mosquito had disagreed to reinforce them in Freetown, so because of that reason they decided to side with Superman against me and attacked me in Makeni. So he joined those people and they took over Makeni during that period.

  • So on whose side was Gullit at the time of the attack on you?

  • He was on Gibril and Superman's side.

  • Against me, Kallon and Bockarie.

  • And just so that we are clear, why did Gullit decide to side with Superman against you, Kallon and Bockarie?

  • Well, Superman made Gullit to understand that I, Bockarie and Kallon did not - refused to reinforce or to come to Freetown during the January invasion.

  • Now, I am going to come to deal with the issue of Superman in some detail, but before we come to that I want you to assist me with something else. At the time of the Freetown invasion, where was Foday Sankoh?

  • Well, later - at that time I did not know. I only knew that he was with the government, but later I was made to understand that Foday Sankoh was in a boat on the coast of Freetown, in an ECOMOG boat.

  • And during this time, Mr Sesay, was there any contact with Foday Sankoh?

  • Yes. Foday Sankoh started calling from the field radio, talking to Sam Bockarie, he spoke to Superman, he called me in Makeni and spoke to me.

  • And was he still on the boat at the time he was speaking to you on the radio?

  • Yes. That was what I understood later.

  • And what did he have to say for himself during those radio contacts?

  • Well, he was talking about a ceasefire. He spoke to Sam Bockarie about a ceasefire and that we should not continue attacking and that we should defend our positions, we should not carry on attacking. Those were the conversations that went on. And he was inquiring about everybody, how everybody was doing.

  • Now, taking things slowly, first of all, just give us a rough time when these conversations with Sankoh were taking place.

  • Well, these conversations started in February, in February, and they continued up to around - up to late March when those men attacked me in Makeni. Then even in April he was still talking to us, when I left Makeni. But when Foday Sankoh used to call, there came a time when Sam Bockarie said we should not respond to those calls he said because Foday Sankoh was under duress. He was in the hands of enemy, so whatever Sankoh was saying he was not saying with his own free will. So let other stations stop responding to Sankoh, he alone should be talking to Sankoh.

  • And as far as you were aware, did he continue to talk to Sankoh?

  • No. There came a time when he did not continue. He said until Mr Sankoh is taken out of Freetown, that he should taken from --

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat this area, slowly.

  • Can you repeat that answer, please, Mr Sesay?

  • Bockarie told Mr Sankoh on the radio at another time that Mr Sankoh hasn't got his free will. He was in the hands of the Government of Sierra Leone and he won't talk to him. The only time that he would talk to Mr Sankoh was when Mr Sankoh was taken to a neutral ground. That was the only time that he would take instructions from Mr Sankoh, but as long as Mr Sankoh was in the hands of the government and the ECOMOG, Mr Sankoh was under duress. That was what Bockarie said.

  • Now I want to come to the topic of Superman and I would like us, please, to look at this topic within the context of command and control within the RUF. Do you understand? Do you understand, Mr Sesay?

  • Now, you've told us about the attack on you by Superman in late March, early April 1999. But I want to start off with the relationship between Bockarie and Superman. Had Bockarie and Superman always got along together?

  • No. Superman and Bockarie, I can recall from '93 they were people who did not see eye to eye.

  • Why?

  • Well, Superman was looking at - regarded himself as a brave fighter and he did not like subordinating himself to Bockarie. And Bockarie too was looking at Superman, regarding Superman - looked at Superman to be subordinating himself to him. That was the problem. That was one of the problems, but what Bockarie told me in 1993 was that Superman was with some NPFL fighters who raided his people in his village. That is Gbandiwulo. So that was one of the things that caused Bockarie and Superman not to see eye to eye.

  • And when had that taken place?

  • That was in late 1991.

  • Now, during the time of the AFRC junta, did the relationship between Bockarie and Superman improve?

  • Well, it did not improve because even before joining the AFRC, Superman arrested Mohamed Tarawalli's bodyguards and executed three of them. One escaped and surrendered to the government troops, so Bockarie was bitter with that situation even before the coup. So those things strained their relationship with the AFRC. And I can recall once that Johnny Paul gave Superman 9 million leones to give to Sam Bockarie for it to be shared among the officers.

  • Your Honour, can he repeat this last bit of his answer.

  • Could you repeat that, please? Johnny Paul Koroma gave what?

  • Johnny Paul Koroma gave 9 million leones to Superman to be taken to Sam Bockarie. Johnny Paul had said that money was meant for the officers, but Superman used the money and that caused a serious problem between Bockarie and Superman in Benguema. It was Pa Rogers who settled that problem.

  • Now, there was a time, was there not, when you and other members of the RUF were based at villas in Hill Station in Freetown? Is that right?

  • Yes. That's correct.

  • At that stage were there any difficulties between Superman and Bockarie?

  • Yes. There were difficulties.

  • Well, Superman looted one vehicle and the people who owned the vehicle took the complaints to Johnny Paul Koroma, so Johnny Paul instructed Sam Bockarie to retrieve the vehicle from Superman. Sam Bockarie called Superman at his villa at Hill Station, but Superman put up resistance to disarm so Johnny Paul sent that Superman and Bockarie should be taken along to his lodge. It was he himself who retrieved the vehicle from Superman because Superman refused to hand over the vehicle to Sam Bockarie.

  • And in what year was that?

  • That was in '97.

  • And this business about the 9 million leones, did Superman ever give that money to Bockarie?

  • No, no. Superman had used the money.

  • How was that problem about the 9 million leones resolved?

  • Well, it was the late Mr SYB Rogers who spoke to Sam Bockarie for him to forget about that and he advised Sam Bockarie to tell Johnny Paul Koroma that whenever he has something for the RUF he shouldn't give that to Superman, and that was how Pa Rogers resolved the matter.

  • In what year did that difficulty about the 9,000 leones arrive?

  • It's 9 million, 9 million leones.

  • When did that problem arise?

  • That was in 1997.

  • Now, you also told us, Mr Sesay, that following the Fitti-Fatta mission, which was led by Superman, there were further difficulties between Superman and Bockarie, weren't there?

  • Yes, that's what happened.

  • And remind us, what were those difficulties that arose?

  • After the failed attack on Koidu, the Fitti-Fatta mission, Bockarie instructed Sam Bockarie - Bockarie instructed Superman to report to Buedu but Superman disobeyed Bockarie's instructions and he decided to go to the Koinadugu District. That was in August 1998.

  • Now, at the time that Superman decided to disappear - disobey that order, did Bockarie remain in radio contact with him?

  • No. Bockarie sent a message to all the stations in Kailahun and Kono then. He said nobody should contact Superman and if Superman's station contacts any other station, nobody should respond. Since then, there was no radio contact between Superman and the RUF until in late 1998.

  • And during that time, Mr Sesay, did the RUF radio codes remain the same?

  • When they were changed, was Superman given a copy of the changed codes?

  • Well, because at that time, he had broken away from the RUF so Bockarie didn't want Superman to know anything the RUF was doing under the command of Bockarie.

  • Now, by that stage, August 1998, Mr Sesay, what did Bockarie say about Superman's status within the RUF?

  • Well, Bockarie said - he said nobody should talk to Superman. Superman was no longer part of the RUF because he had broken away, so everybody should have less to do with Superman. So Superman was not considered any longer within the RUF because all the operations that were going on, he did not report to Bockarie, nor did he take orders from Bockarie.

  • Did Bockarie regard him as an enemy?

  • Yes. From August to part of December, yes, 1998.

  • We come, then, to the attack on you in Makeni by Superman and Gibril Massaquoi aided by Gullit. Taking things slowly, how did that incident begin?

  • Well, that incident started when the two groups met in Makeni.

  • Pause there. Which two groups?

  • The group from Kono and the group from Koinadugu under different commands, because three commands came from Koinadugu and we all met in Makeni. Superman - you get Superman RUF, Mani AFRC, and Bropleh STF, and our own group that came from Kono. When I say the two groups, there was the one group from Koinadugu to Makeni and our own group from Kono to Makeni.

  • Just so that we are clear, Mr Sesay. The one group from Koinadugu was made up of more than one element. Is that right?

  • Yes. That's correct.

  • Superman's group, Bropleh's group and Brigadier Mani's group. Is that right?

  • Yes, that's correct.

  • And how did that coming together of those groups cause difficulties?

  • Well, the difficulty was that each group wanted to take instructions from their own commander, each group wanted to take instructions from their own commander. They were only to follow their own commander's instructions. That was where the problem started in Makeni.

  • And how did the problems develop?

  • So the group that I was commanding from Kono down to Makeni, you know, we fought from Kono down to Makeni. There was no killing of civilians, no looting, no burning of houses, you know, no adoption. Each time we captured the civilians, they remained there until the war ended in Sierra Leone between Kono and Makeni. So, when we arrived in Makeni, Superman's group started looting in Makeni, breaking into people's shops, those groups that came from Koinadugu. Then I told Superman that it would be better for them to control the soldiers, the fighters, because the way I saw Kono, I said it would not be good for that same thing to be repeated in Makeni, it would not be good for the reputation of the organisation. I said so it would be better if he told the other commanders to control the fighting troops. In my presence Superman would agree but, when he turns his back, he wouldn't implement what has been agreed, he wouldn't do it.

  • Now, you said that --

  • Excuse me, I just noticed, listening over the interpretation, that the witness was using, as I heard it, the word "adoptions" which was translated, at least on the transcript, as abduction and perhaps that is the correct translation, but I think it's important that we find that out. The witness seems to be using the word "adoption".

  • I absolutely agree. I also heard the witness say "adoption" and I heard the interpreter say "adoption".

  • Mr Sesay, which is correct? Do you mean "adoption" or "abduction"?

  • Well, let me put it in my own understanding. When we capture a town, we do not capture the people forcefully. We would send them first to our control areas. Each time we capture a village between Kono and Makeni, the people, that is the natives of the town, they would stay there till the end of the war. That's what I mean.

  • So that's your understanding of your use of the word "adoption," yes?

  • That's my understanding.

  • Then that is very different from "abduction", Mr Griffiths. Mr Sesay, do you know the difference between "adoption" and "abduction"?

  • No, my Lord. I just think that when you say "adoption" like when you capture a town, you capture all the people, you take them out of their villages and you take them where you want them to be. That's what I feel. That's what I think.

  • So he's clearly using the word "adoption" to mean the forceful taking of individuals. He said that now twice.

  • Mr Griffiths, I find the previous answer somewhat contradictory. "We do not capture the people forcefully, we would first take them to our control areas." Then later in the same answer he says "that's the natives of the town, they would stay there until the end of the war." Stay where? In their native town or in the controlled area?

  • Very well, Mr Sesay, we need to take some time to explain this. Let's start in this way: During your advance from Kono to Makeni, how were the civilians treated by your forces? What would happen to them?

  • The civilians, the troops from Kono used to meet the civilians in their towns and the civilians, we used to allow them to stay in their towns, including the paramount chiefs, like the paramount chief in Makeni was there, the one in Magburaka was there, they stayed and they controlled their chiefdoms, and the civilians were in their towns until the time for the disarmament from December '98 to 2001. They stayed in their different towns and villages between Kono down to Makeni.

  • And were they moved to any - to an RUF-controlled area?

  • No, we did not move them. We - they stayed where we met them until the end of the war.

  • And where they stayed, were those areas under RUF control?

  • Yes. Because RUF captured those towns in December 1998.

  • And did the RUF, during that time, the advance from Kono to Makeni, forcefully remove civilians from their homes or villages?

  • No, no. The civilians stayed in their villages, in their towns, until the disarmament.

  • And, Mr Sesay, when civilians are forcefully taken from their villages, what is the word that you use to describe that?

  • I describe it as forceful adoption.

  • Thank you. I hope that's clear now. I see the Presiding Judge shaking her head. What's unclear about that now?

  • What is unclear, Mr Griffiths, is now I realise two pages ago the witness actually used the word "adoption", and you said on the transcript that should be "abduction". You said it. But actually, the witness meant "adoption".

  • Used in the sense of the forceful abduction of people. He's now explained that three times.

  • I don't think so. I don't think so at all. But you know what I think the witness should use, if he means forceful taking away of people, he should use the word "capture"; but, if he doesn't mean capture, then he should simply not refer to the word "adoption" because adoption is meaningless in any other sense.

  • Once it's explained it becomes very meaningful, Madam President, with all due respect:

  • Mr Sesay, let's try once more, shall we? When you use the word "adoption" what do you mean?

  • Well, I mean that when we capture a town, and we capture the civilians and we forcefully move them from their respective homes to where we control, when we send them to where we want. That's what I mean.

  • That is what you call "adoption", Mr Sesay, right?

  • Well, help me, Mr Sesay, just so we don't have any more confusion, please don't use the word "adoption". Take the learned judge's suggestion and use the word "capture." Would you do that for us? I'm grateful.

    Now that we have explained that, can we just go back to your original answer when you were talking about what you had said to Superman in Makeni. If we go back now a few pages, one moment, yes, this was the answer you gave at the beginning of page 39 which led to this most recent development:

    "So the group that I was commanding from Kono down to Makeni, you know, we fought from Kono down to Makeni. There was no killing of civilians, no looting, no burning of houses, you know, no" - it says "abduction" but I'll say "adoption", but we now know what that means.

    "Each time we captured the civilians, they remained there until the war ended in Sierra Leone between Kono and Makeni. So when we arrived in Makeni, Superman's group started looting in Makeni, breaking into people's shops, these groups that came from Koinadugu. Then I told Superman that it would be better for them to control the soldiers, the fighters, because the way I saw Kono, I said it would not be good for the same thing to be repeated in Makeni. It would not be good for the reputation of the organisation."

    Pause there. Reputation of which organisation?

  • The RUF.

  • And then you went on: "I said so it would be better if he told the other commanders to control the fighting troops." My question: Who were these other commanders that you were cautioning Superman to take this message to?

  • I meant Brigadier Mani, General Bropleh and their commanders.

  • And help us, Mr Sesay, did your words of caution to Superman have any effect?

  • No. Superman did not heed to what I was telling him.

  • So how was Superman behaving in Makeni?

  • Well, it was not that he was looting, he himself, or he was harassing the civilians as the fighters were doing. But they were encouraging the fighters. They would see the fighters doing things out of the way and they wouldn't take action to stop them.

  • And when was this going on, Mr Sesay?

  • This was at the time that we captured Makeni. That was the time that this was going on in December.

  • And for how long did Superman stay in Makeni at that time?

  • Well, Superman was in Makeni for about a week, then he moved to Lunsar.

  • And did he thereafter return to Makeni?

  • No. Because the two of us did not have the same understanding. He did not return to Makeni. He was in Lunsar until Bockarie gave orders to attack Port Loko. Then he continued to stay in Lunsar, then Bockarie gave orders to come by Waterloo. So he was based in Lunsar and he used to come to Waterloo and return to Lunsar since the - until the time they left there and attacked me in Makeni in March. Since that time, from March, April, he stayed in Makeni until around September when he went to meet Mr Sankoh.

  • Now, so this attack upon you, Mr Sesay, where did Superman come from to attack you?

  • So I want to understand what you're saying. Are you saying that he came with his men directly from Lunsar in order to attack you or what?

  • Yes. They came, because the incident first happened, Bockarie sent me to go and call Gibril Massaquoi from Waterloo. So I went and I met Gibril and I told him but Gibril refused to come. When it was time for me to return to Makeni, Gibril escaped. So the second time Bockarie sent me to call Gibril because he said he understood that Gibril was in Lunsar with Superman. So when I went to Lunsar, Superman and others opened fire on me. So I used the route from Lunsar, Gberi Junction, then Masiaka, then I went to Mile 91 to Magburaka and arrived in Makeni. And by that time Superman and others have come from Lunsar to Makeni, they attacked my house and they took everything that was in my house. So from that, I stayed in Makeni. It was at that time that they organised themselves, came with their troops from Lunsar and they attacked me in Makeni wherein Rambo was killed. It was at that time that I escaped from Makeni. Because they killed some bodyguards, civilians took me at night, because they attacked me at night, around 2 a.m. So it was civilians who took me and we used a bush path and we escaped and I continued up to Makali and I went to Kono, onward to Buedu.

  • Now, did you report that incident to Bockarie?

  • Yes, Bockarie was fully aware.

  • Having attacked you and caused you to flee to Buedu, did Superman remain in Makeni?

  • Yes. He remained in Makeni.

  • And whilst in Makeni, was he now taking orders from Bockarie?

  • No. He did not take orders from Bockarie. From late March to early April, up to October, he did not take orders from Bockarie.

  • Now, putting that together, Mr Sesay, you've told us about difficulties between Bockarie and Superman in 1993, in 1997 during the AFRC times, in 1998 after Kono, Fitti-Fatta mission, in March, April 1999 when he attempted to kill you. Help us: During that period, let's just say from 1997 right through till 1999, did Bockarie have any effective control over Superman and his men?

  • No. He did not have effective control over them.

  • And was the RUF a unified fighting force under the command of one individual during that period?

  • How would you describe the RUF during that period, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, during that period, there were times Superman with 2,000 plus men did not take orders from Bockarie, from part of '98 and part of '99. And even - he even disobeyed Sam Bockarie's orders in '99, '98 and 1997. That used to happen and everybody knew that within the RUF. And even the civilians knew about it.

  • So how would you describe the RUF as an organisation during that period? Was it a unified organisation or what?

  • No. The RUF was not thinking as one at that time and they did not have a single command structure during this period.

  • And the period we are talking about is 1997 to '99, yes?

  • Yes, sir, you're right.

  • And I want us to look - you having helpfully assisted us with those matters - at a couple of documents, please. The first document I'd like you to look at, Mr Sesay, is a document which we've looked at before but which I would now like to look at in a bit more detail with you and it's exhibit D-9.

    I would like us to go first of all, please, to page 6 because we've dealt with much of the preceding part of this salute report. This is the salute report bearing the name of Sam Bockarie, Mr Sesay. Do you recall us looking at it before?

  • Yes.

  • Let's pick it up now, please, at page 6. Bottom paragraph, we having dealt with the previous part of that page:

    "During your absence many contacts were made to sympathisers to promote the image of the movement, details of which will be presented to you in a manner so as not to cause any breach of security. Out of these contacts I was able to get the basic needs and facilitate our military move to Kono and onwards towards - past Machine."

    Now, first of all, Machine, what is that? Five lines from the bottom, "Our military move from Kono and onwards past Machine." What is Machine?

  • Well, maybe he wanted to say Masingbi, because it seems as if he wants to refer to a town, "onwards past".

  • And then it continues:

    "The entire move was under the command of the late Boston Flomo, Rambo, and supervised by Brigadier Issa. When Rambo captured Makeni I convinced Brigadier Issa on set to call on Superman to join in operation in order to ensure that the objectives of the RUF were placed in priority."

    Pause there. You've just told us about the arrival of Superman, Brigadier Mani and Bropleh in Makeni. Was that as a result of a call from you to Superman?

  • No, I did not call Superman directly. Sam Bockarie told me that he had spoken with Superman to come and join Rambo in Makeni so that we could attack Teko Barracks, because he said Superman and his group had attacked Teko and they were afraid, so that we should put our differences aside and so that we would capture Teko Barracks. He himself spoke to Superman.

  • Over the page, please:

    "As usual, Brigadier Issa was supportive and I called Superman on set and instructed him to join in the operations. I told Superman that I had forgiven him and that the past was behind us and that we were all brothers in arms. Superman accepted the call and vowed to give his fullest cooperation. To have made this call was not an easy thing for me as Superman had been asked to provide manpower for the Kono-Makeni operations, yet another order that he defied and still I was forced to exercise maturity and instructed Rambo to go and receive Superman and to continue normal operations with him. Rambo willingly complied with the order and went to meet Superman, providing vehicles for all his men. They then returned to Makeni and put the barracks under control.

    Whilst the late Rambo was busy checking captured materials for proper accountability, Superman took the opportunity of diverting captured materials for his own use."

    Did that happen, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. That happened.

  • And the material that he diverted for his own use, which material was that? Where had that material come from?

  • Those were the captured ammunition from the ammo dump in Teko Barracks from the ECOMOG. Those were AK rounds, G3 rounds, RPG rockets and some HMG rounds.

  • Did he ask your permission or Sam Bockarie's permission before he took them?

  • "Brigadier Issa, who had taken - supervised the Makeni and had given instructions for the barracks to be put under full military control, whilst he was informed of the fact that Superman had illegally taken material from the barracks and was in possession of these materials. When approached on the issue, Superman claimed that I, General Mosquito and Brigadier Issa were using Rambo against him and with the aim of destroying him."

    Is that true?

  • Well, yes, because when I got the information, I tried to meet him to ask him for the ammunition, and he put up resistance. He said we wanted to use Rambo against him.

  • "Brigadier Issa insisted that the materials be handed over, as Superman had not only misused large amounts of ammo in his failed attempt to capture Kono, but had also refused to give account of materials captured when the Koidu Town ammo dump of ECOMOG was captured."

    That reference to Superman misusing large amounts of ammo in his failed attempt to capture Kono, which mission was that?

  • This was the Fitti-Fatta mission.

  • During that Fitti-Fatta mission had Superman captured the Koidu Town ECOMOG ammunition dump?

  • They said he captured ammunition. That was the ammunition he used to go to Koinadugu when he disobeyed Bockarie's orders to send the ammunition to him.

  • "Superman continued to refuse and Brigadier Issa, accompanied by Brigadier Kallon, entered his house and arrested all the materials found."

    Did you do that?

  • Well, we went to Superman's house to search for the ammunition, but the ammunition wasn't there. Before he got the accident --

  • Before who got the accident?

  • Superman, he had an accident. Because he attacked Kabala in late December, but he failed. So on his way back he was involved in a vehicle accident.

  • And in which year in late December did he attack Kabala?

  • Thank you:

    "He invited Superman to the headquarters in Makeni so as to make plans for moving the operation to Lunsar. Superman asked to enter his bedroom to prepare for the move and took that opportunity to escape."

    Is that right?

  • This was not a move on Lunsar. The time when he - after the failed attack and he got in the accident, Kallon and I went to his house to see his condition. But he thought that we had gone to arrest him, so he escaped and went to Binkolo, and he was there until early January and came to Makeni and moved on to Lunsar.

  • "Superman later returned and again was allowed to join the operation. At this point I instructed the late Rambo to advance to Port Loko, while Superman was to secure the Freetown Highway. Rambo was successful in capturing part of the town and in capturing a large quantity of materials. Superman then suggested that as he knew the terrain well, he should take over that axis and move to capture Lungi. Thinking that he was sincere, we agreed and Brigadier Issa gave him the opportunity to equip himself from the ammo dump for the mission. Upon taking over at Port Loko, Superman made no effective move to capture Lungi and also lost the valuable ground of Port Loko. Meanwhile, the troops that entered Freetown had been cut off from the rear and were being encircled, leaving them no way out. I was able to coordinate their operations over set and get them to combine their forces and bulldoze from the side, accessing them to the mountains through which they took a bypass to join our troops at Benguema and Waterloo as JOI was occupied by ECOMOG."

    Now, the withdrawal of the AFRC troops from Freetown, was that coordinated by Bockarie?

  • No, it was not coordinated. When the AFRC failed the attack in Freetown, that was why they withdrew to the hills of Freetown to Benguema and Waterloo.

  • "This is how the troops that entered Freetown were able to retreat. Still they sustained heavy casualties, including Steve Bio, the SLPP chairman, Manakpaka and many others. On learning that Gibril Massaquoi had been rescued from prison and had joined in the operation, I contacted him on set and gave him advice and encouragement for smooth operations. Another attack on Freetown was planned but was never implemented due to the actions of Gibril, Superman and some other SLA soldiers.

    Later, I was to instruct Brigadier Issa to get Gibril to report to DHQ for proper briefing as he had been with you in prison and had information as to your condition. I was also of the conviction that Gibril would collaborate with Superman to go against the command that you left on the ground. I instructed Brigadier Issa to assure Gibril that all was forgiven and that I held no grudge for him.

    Gibril refused to come to my call, saying that he was going to operate with Superman."

    Is all of that correct about Gibril Massaquoi's behaviour, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. It's correct.

  • "Gibril refused to come to my call, saying that he was going to operate with Superman. Superman was asked to enforce the order for Gibril to report but he also was defiant and said that he, Superman, was not going to make Gibril do what he himself would not do. They went on with words of insult to me and the high command and said that they were not taking orders from me or Kailahun."

    Did they insult Bockarie in that way?

  • How did they insult him? What did they say to him? Can you remember?

  • Well, they called the operator, that is, Bockarie's set, telling the operator that they will never take orders from Bockarie and that he will not cooperate with any instruction from Bockarie, and in fact Bockarie wanted to hijack the leadership from Foday Sankoh. Those were the words they told Bockarie.

  • "I sent Brigade Issa to the ground to invite Gibril to report to DHQ. On arrival Gibril was invited to report and he complied by entering the vehicle. At this point, Superman ordered his men to open fire on Brigadier Issa which they did, thus affording Gibril with the opportunity to not only escape but to take up arm against a superior command in the person of Brigadier Issa who was able to escape unhurt. Gibril and Superman went with their men to the home of Brigadier Issa and commanded all the materials that had been sent there by me for use in the planned re-attack of Freetown."

    Did they take that material from your house, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, they took materials away from my house. Those are the materials that had been brought from Kono and some of those that we had captured from Makeni.

  • "They vandalised the house, looting all personal properties and government funds amounting to US $9,000."

    Is that correct?

  • Yes, that's correct.

  • Where did the US $9,000 taken from your house, where had that come from?

  • Well, this money was what they had got from the captured Nigerians in Kono, because they had money on them in their pockets. This was the money. Because whenever they were captured, they would take the moneys from their pockets and they gave them to me.

  • "The two together with their men then left and based themselves in Lunsar with the threat that any person, including me, that tried to get to them would be killed. I dispatched a team headed by Colonel Isaac, Major Benda, Lieutenant Colonel Moriba, Major Jackson, your bodyguard commander, and Lieutenant Colonel Sam Kpulleh with explicit instructions to go and investigate the issue and ensure that they contain the situation and report back to me at DHQ.

    I was later informed that the delegation had not been given an opportunity to investigate and were under serious armed threat by both Gibril and Superman. In time, Lieutenant Colonel Moriba and Lieutenant Colonel Kpulleh returned to DHQ whilst the other three stayed behind and also began to put up acts of insubordination against the high command. The enemy had taken this moment of internal turmoil to make advances against our positions at Benguema, Waterloo and Mile 47. The enemy then moved for Gberi Bridge. Again Superman pleaded for the opportunity to move to repel the attack on Gberi Bridge as enemy pressure was mounting I gave the go ahead to him to take up the said operation. Superman failed to move to Gberi Bridge and instead attacked Makeni late at night with the aim of killing Brigadier Issa and Rambo. The home of Rambo was attacked by Superman. The attack caught Rambo off guard as he was fast asleep. He was captured, shot many times and it was reported that he was even stabbed to ensure that he did not survive the attack, remarking that he Rambo was the iron jacket to me, General Mosquito and Brigadier Issa and that he would die that night in the hands of Superman."

    Is that the manner of Rambo's death, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. That's what happened.

  • "After killing Rambo, they attacked the home of Brigadier Issa, launching an RPG rocket at the house."

    Is that what happened?

  • "They opened fire entering the house. Brigadier Issa was able to escape through a door from his bedroom leading to the back of the house. He was spotted as he manoeuvred towards the bushes and another RPG rocket was launched behind him."

    Did that happen?

  • Yes, that's what happened.

  • "The explosion caused a small rock to enter the toe of Brigadier Issa and against daybreak was able to make his escape to Makali where he dialogued with you on set while he was still in the custody of the SLPP in Freetown."

    Is that true?

  • Yes, yes.

  • Dialogued with - who is the "you"?

  • How did you manage to do that?

  • Okay. On my arrival in Makali - because Makali had a radio set - and the operator came to me and said Mr Sankoh had called on the set, and so he wanted to talk to me. So I went to the - to the radio room and I had a dialogue with Mr Sankoh. I spoke with him. So during that time, Superman and others in Makeni monitored our discussions together with Mr Sankoh, so they knew my location. So after the dialogue, while the paramount chiefs and the elders in the town had come to sympathise with me, they were preparing food for me to eat. Within in the next two hours, Gibril and others attacked Makali and people escaped with me through the bush paths, the civilians.

  • What did you speak to Mr Sankoh about on that occasion?

  • Mr Sankoh called and said he had heard that there was a problem; that Superman and others had told him that I had said I was not going to talk to him. And I said no, that's not what happened. I said the day you called, that is, the day Mr Sankoh called my radio in Makeni, at that time I wasn't there. I had come to Matotoka and I said when I returned, my operator told me, and when your frequency was contacted at that time, the call did not go through. I said so after two days, Superman and others attacked me, and so I have escaped from Makeni and Rambo has been killed. And Mr Sankoh said okay, if that is the case he will talk to Sam Bockarie.

  • Let's go back to the text, shall we?

    "In that attack, Gibril, Superman and their men killed and wounded many soldiers, both RUF and SLA, who were performing various military duties on the ground."

    Mr Sesay, what was the extent of the casualties suffered as a result of that attack on you by Superman and Gibril Massaquoi?

  • Well, they killed many people. They killed fighters, they killed up to 25 to 30 fighters. And some people's feet were broken, some people's legs were broken, and even some civilians who had some --

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat this part of the answer?

  • "Even some civilians who" what? Start from there.

  • I said even some civilians whom they had said were working with me, they killed them, because I know of two drivers who were killed because they said they were my drivers, and those were civilians in Makeni. We met them in Makeni.

  • And it was Gibril Massaquoi and Superman who did this?

  • Yes. And throughout the time they were in Makeni, the privilege that the civilians had before the attack was no longer the same. Things became difficult for the civilians now because before the infighting, the civilians, there were in Makeni more than 60,000, but after this infighting people abandoned Makeni, many of them. Some of them went to Port Loko and some of them crossed over to Guinea.

  • "The next morning, Superman mobilised an armed force headed by Gibril to re-attack Brigadier Issa at Makali, having been alerted as to his location through his dialogue with the leader. They also planned to attack Mile 91 with a view of taking command of both grounds. Again, Brigadier Issa was able to escape and move to Kono. Gibril chased him as far as Makali, vowing to kill him as he had done Rambo and to display his head in Makeni. I have as evidence a video cassette recording of the public display of the late Rambo's body."

    Was such a videotape made of Rambo's body?

  • Yes. I saw pictures that were displayed in Makeni.

  • It was Superman and Gibril and their followers.

  • "The same cassette will help to shed light on the death of Rambo and the conspiracy and action of Gibril and Superman to kill the high command of the RUF and assume its offices and command. After Makeni had been captured and raised by Superman and his troops, he called a meeting at the town hall and confidently told the people that he was acting in compliance with instructions received from the leader and that he had taken effective command of the RUF and that I, Major General Sam Bockarie, was no longer high command of the RUF, and that he, Brigadier Superman, was taking over from Brigadier Issa in Makeni."

    Was there such a meeting, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. At the town hall.

  • Mr Griffiths, perhaps you'll find an appropriate time to stop, in view of the clock.

  • This is as good a time as any.

  • Very well. We will take half an hour's break and reconvene at half past 11.00.

  • [Break taken at 11.00 a.m. ]

  • [Upon resuming at 11.30 a.m.]

  • Mr Sesay, can we go back, please, to page 9 of exhibit D-9 please. We were looking at the penultimate paragraph on that page. Let us just remind ourselves:

    "After Makeni had been captured and raised by Superman and his troops, he called a meeting at the town haul and confidently told the people that he was acting in compliance with instructions received from the leader and that he had taken effective command of the RUF, and that I, Major General Sam Bockarie, was no longer high command of the RUF and that he, Brigadier Superman, was taking over from Brigadier Issa in Makeni."

    Question, Mr Sesay: By what authority did Superman assume this role?

  • Well, he did not have authority from Mr Sam Bockarie. He just did this on his own, based on the plan that he had with Gibril Massaquoi.

  • Help us, Mr Sesay: At this time, a quarter of the way or so through the year 1999, who did you regard as being the head of the RUF?

  • The head for the RUF was Mr Sankoh as leader.

  • And did you still regard him as being the leader, even though he had been convicted of treason and was in prison?

  • Yes. I still regarded him as the leader.

  • And, as far as you are aware, from your interaction with him, who did Sam Bockarie regard as being the head of the RUF at this time, late March/early April 1999?

  • It was Mr Sankoh.

  • And as far as you're aware, at this time, from whom was Sam Bockarie taking instructions?

  • Well, during this time, Sam Bockarie was not taking instructions from any other person. Sometimes he would consult with JP, JP Koroma, he used to consult with him, but during this time, he was not taking instructions, only to JP. He was only consulting with him.

  • As far as you are aware, Mr Sesay, given your position within the RUF at this time, was Sam Bockarie at this time receiving instructions from Charles Taylor?

  • No. He was not getting instructions from Mr Taylor at all.

  • Let's go back to page 9:

    "Superman went on to accuse me on air of hijacking the leadership of the RUF, citing my call for all signal stations not to respond to your call as proof of my betrayal, a charge that I not only deny but take particular offence to."

    Now, that reference, "my call for all signals stations not to respond to your call", what is that a reference to?

  • Well, it is talking about when Sam Bockarie told us, the other stations, that when Mr Sankoh calls we should not respond to Mr Sankoh's call and he should be the only one that would talk to Mr Sankoh and Mr Sankoh was in the hands of the enemies, he was under duress. So he was the demanding the government of Sierra Leone to transfer Mr Sankoh to a neutral grounds before he talks to him. That is what he is referring to here.

  • "Superman later went on air proclaiming that he was going to advance to Kono and further still to Kailahun, where he would kill me and display my head. He went on to name his assignment list."

    Did Superman do that?

  • They were saying it, but they did not advance to Kono. They stopped at Makali, when they attacked me and returned.

  • Now, at this stage of the game, Mr Sesay, is it the case that the RUF had broken down into two warring factions?

  • Yes. That was the situation then.

  • Let's go to the next page:

    "To contain the situation, I issued materials to Brigadier Kallon and instructed him to take command of Magburaka and to use the opportunity to search for Brigadier Issa, as he was missing in action as a result of Superman's ambush of him immediately after Issa had dialogued with you on air. Kallon took command of Magburaka and was soon under the attack of Superman and Gibril. This time they did not only use RPGs and GMGs but launched mortar bombs and fired anti-aircraft guns against Magburaka. Kallon was, however, able to repel, only for Superman to re-attack, this time capturing the town. Three days later, Brigadier Kallon launched a successful counter-offensive, recapturing Magburaka. Since then, the ground has been under our control but has come under a series of attacks by Superman, leading to loss of life and injury to numerous soldiers and civilians." We attacked Makeni twice with a view of re-taking command of the said ground. This because of the strategic location of the township and the fact that Makeni was under command and control and law and order was in effect when Brigadier Issa was in command. Civilians moved freely, knowing that their security was paramount. These same civilians were now crying to be rescued. We were in full occupation of the township when you instructed us to withdraw and await your arrival upon which the issue would be settled. Your order was immediately enforced and troops loyal to the RUF high command left on the ground by the leader, were ordered by me to withdraw. The truth is, sir, that at the time the people of Makeni, including the soldiers needed to be rescued. Living conditions were dismal and it is reported that at the time Superman was getting married at a costly ceremony soldiers were suffering and, in some cases, dying as a result of inadequate drugs."

    Do you agree with that paragraph, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, I agree with it.

  • "Till this day Superman and Gibril are, contrary to my command and continue to flaunt the direct command of the leader. They still do not submit all reports to me for my necessary information and action and onward movement to the attention of the leader. They reserve the mandated line of command only for messages against me or to paint themselves pretty.

    When we first retreated from Freetown, I contacted the government of the Ivory Coast and, in particular, the Foreign Minister, Mr Amara Essy - I also contacted the guarantors of the Abidjan Peace Accord to impress on them the fact that our leader was still illegally being held by the Nigerian government and that a negotiated settlement was the only way in which peace and security could return to Sierra Leone."

    Pause there. Were you aware of this contact made by Sam Bockarie with the foreign minister of the Ivorian government?

  • Yes. Yes. Through Omrie Golley.

  • Now, can you help us Mr Sesay, why Bockarie made the decision to contact the foreign ministry of the Ivory Coast?

  • Well, the foreign minister, during the early stages, he negotiated - he negotiated the peace talks, and it was his government that hosted the RUF delegation in Abidjan, and he come to collect Mr Sankoh from Zogoda.

  • Whilst the RUF delegation were in Abidjan, were they provided with accommodation by the Ivorian government?

  • Yes, they gave them a house. Even before giving Mr Sankoh a house to stay, he and his delegation, it was the Ivorian government that was responsible for their hotel bills, medication, feeding, transportation.

  • And, Mr Sesay, can you help us as to why it was that Bockarie contacted the foreign minister of the Ivory Coast and not Charles Taylor?

  • Well, Bockarie did it in respect of - because he knew the assistance that the Ivorian government had been rendering to the RUF, and even up to that time the house that had been given - that they had given to the RUF, the RUF members were still occupying that house. So that is why Bockarie had contacted him, and he knew that Amara Essy was Mr Sankoh's friend.

  • At which time did Bockarie make this contact with the Foreign Minister, Mr Amara Essy?

  • I think this was in 1998.

  • And you say that the RUF were still occupying the house. When had they first occupied that house?

  • This was from - they occupied that house from '96 when the government gave the RUF.

  • In 1999 after the Freetown invasion, were the RUF still enjoying those facilities in Abidjan?

  • So you still had representatives in the Ivory Coast in 1999?

  • Yes. Pa Kallon and the others were still there. The only time Pa Kallon - Pa Kallon and others were there. In fact, that house was still there for the RUF up to 2000.

  • Now, help us with this then, Mr Sesay. In due course the RUF had a guesthouse in Monrovia, didn't they?

  • When did the RUF first have access to that guesthouse in Monrovia?

  • Well, that was in October '98 when Sam Bockarie went to Monrovia. That was when they said they had given him a guesthouse where he was lodged. He used to send radio messages to the RUF areas to me.

  • And for how long did the RUF have that guesthouse in Monrovia?

  • Well, the RUF used that guesthouse till 2000.

  • So the RUF had it for two years from '98 to 2000; is that right?

  • And they had accommodation from the Ivory Coast from 1996 through to 2000; is that right?

  • Yes, that's correct.

  • So help me. What was the distinction between the help provided by the Ivory Coast in providing accommodation to the RUF, and the help provided by Charles Taylor in providing a guesthouse for two years? What was the distinction?

  • Objection. It is a leading question. The witness has not testified that the Ivory Coast provided accommodation.

  • Mr Griffiths, what is your response?

  • He did say that. I am wondering whether Mr Koumjian is listening to the same testimony that I am. The witness has said on more than one occasion it was provided by the government of the Ivory Coast. So consequently, so ask the witness - it being the case that the Prosecution's case is that Charles Taylor's provision of a guesthouse in Monrovia for the RUF is evidence of his control and command over the RUF - surely it is thereafter legitimate to ask what the distinction was if another government in West Africa had been providing similar facilities for a much longer period.

  • I will rule on this.

  • Page 66 of the transcript.

  • I am going to overrule the objection and allow the question in the way it was put.

  • I am grateful.

  • Mr Sesay, help us. What was the distinction between the assistance provided by the Ivory Coast government to the RUF and the assistance provided by the government of Liberia to the RUF?

  • Well, the Ivory Coast government provided a house from '96, so they gave a longer time to the RUF that they give them provision than the Liberian government by Mr Taylor by then.

  • Mr Sesay, from 1996 until when?

  • That is the house - the accommodation provided by the Ivorian government, yes.

  • Yes, Ma'am, in Cocody in Abidjan.

  • And during that period up to 2000 who was staying at that address in Abidjan, Cocody?

  • It was Mr Sankoh who was there. When he went to Nigeria and was arrested, his advisor, Pa David Kallon, he was there in '97, '98, '99. Then he joined Mr Sankoh and they went to Freetown in '99. Then Mr Sankoh's wife Josephine Tengbeh was there. She was there until 2000, and even Mr Sankoh's children were there and some wounded soldiers.

  • Some wounded soldiers were there up until when?

  • Those wounded soldiers, to which organisation did they belong?

  • Why were wounded RUF soldiers in Abidjan staying at the house provided by the Ivorian government?

  • Well, they went there for medical treatment because their injuries were serious. They were there taking treatment up to that time.

  • Who permitted them to travel to the Ivory Coast to receive treatment?

  • Well, Mr Sankoh informed Amara Essy by then, and it was Amara Essy who said they should go. So Mr Sankoh's delegation went. When they were going, the wounded soldiers too were called for and they took them along, so they were all at the house there with Mr Sankoh.

  • So those wounded soldiers were receiving treatment in the Ivory Coast with the full knowledge and approval and permission of the Ivorian government?

  • Objection. That is leading.

  • Not at all, given that the witness has just said that it was with the consent of the foreign ministry of the Ivory Coast.

  • Yes, I believe it's just seeking clarification. Please ask the question. The objection is overruled.

  • Were those soldiers - wounded soldiers being treated in the Ivory Coast with the knowledge and permission of the Ivorian government?

  • Yes. The foreign minister was fully aware of that, Mr Amara Essy.

  • And how many wounded RUF soldiers received such treatment in the Ivory Coast?

  • Well, those who went at the time were three. Three of them had the serious cases.

  • And during the time that the RUF had access to that house in Cocody in Abidjan, was there a radio operator based at those premises?

  • And was there a radio operator based at those premises from 1996 through to 2000?

  • It did not continue up to 2000, but up to '98 an operator was there. It was the operator who left and went to Monrovia later in '98.

  • And who - what's the name of that operator?

  • She was Memunatu Deen.

  • And so Memunatu Deen left from Cocody to go to Monrovia to do what?

  • Well, Bockarie called her when he came to Kailahun --

  • Your Honour, can the witness repeat this answer. The gender is not clear in that answer.

  • Could you answer that question again? Let me ask it again: Memunatu Deen left from the house in Cocody, Abidjan, to go to Monrovia to do what?

  • To come through Monrovia to Kailahun - through Liberia to go to Kailahun.

  • The purpose for her to come when Bockarie called her was to take me to escort me to meet with Ibrahim Bah. Because it was through --

  • Your Honours, again the gender is not claimed in the second part of that.

  • The translator says he is not clear whether you are talking about a man or a woman, so let's start again.

    "The purpose for her to come when Bockarie called her was to take me to escort me to meet Ibrahim Bah."

    Go on. Take it on from there.

  • Right. So she was to take you to see Ibrahim Bah, for what purpose?

  • No. Bockarie sent a message to Memunatu Deen in Abidjan, for her, Memunatu Deen, to inform Ibrahim Bah, that he, Bockarie, was sending me to Monrovia so that Ibrahim Bah would pick me up. So when Memunatu informed Ibrahim Bah in Abidjan, because Memunatu was in Abidjan, then Bockarie instructed Memunatu Deen to come to Kailahun in Buedu so that the two of us would travel to Monrovia. Ibrahim Bah was to meet us in Monrovia so we can go to Burkina Faso.

  • When - did Memunatu Deen remain in Monrovia thereafter, or did she go back to the Ivory Coast or to Sierra Leone?

  • Well, after the incident, after I had gone to Monrovia when I lost the diamond, she came to Buedu when Bockarie told her to come back, then she returned to Abidjan.

  • And did she stay in Abidjan thereafter?

  • Yes, she was in Abidjan until '99. Then she finally came to Liberia.

  • At the guest house in Monrovia.

  • And what role did she play at the guest house in Monrovia?

  • During the Lome Peace Accord, there was a radio at the house. She was the operator of that radio.

  • Let's go back to page 10:

    "I also contacted the guarantors of the Abidjan Peace Accord to impress on them the fact that our leader was still illegally being held by the Nigerian government and that a negotiated settlement was the only way in which peace and security could return to Sierra Leone. I even contacted the government of Tejan Kabbah in Freetown to convince them to release you and to threaten that if they continued to exercise the military option, we, the RUF, would push for total military victory and would escalate the war to a point beyond imagination. All this talk fell on deaf ears, as even the international media refused our calls. With our capture of Kono and the raising of four mechanised battalions of the Nigerian ECOMOG force, our phones began to ring with calls from the word's elite press, and the very people who only a few weeks back were ignoring our calls, assuming that we were going to be flushed, as Tejan Kabbah had vowed, were now virtually begging to talk. I knew that the heat was on Kabbah.

    Our attack of Freetown put Kabbah in a position where he was forced to talk, as I had earlier promised he would. He fled the city, as did his cabinet, the latter with a view of regrouping in Conakry and launching a counter-offensive as they had done when ousted by the AFRC. On learning that his political strongmen such as Desmond Luke and others were in Conakry, I obtained their various hotel room numbers and systematically called each on the telephone, claiming that I was also in Conakry with a squad of my best commandos and that we were on our way to the hotel. Within 15 minutes of my first call, the hotel had been sealed off by Guinean security forces with tanks and armoured cars on every intersection. Desmond Luke and party beat a hasty retreat to secret safe houses and all boarded flights for different destinations the next day."

    Did you know about that, Mr Sesay, Bockarie calling these addresses in Conakry?

  • Yes. At that time I was not in Buedu, but when I returned, I knew that Bockarie was making those calls - these calls because he was saying it, that he was talking to the retreated government, the government that had withdrawn to Guinea, some of the ministers.

  • "This brought to a screeching halt the SLPP political stance during our Freetown attack and occupation. We now had the edge over Kabbah and his government and asked for talks to take place under the auspices of the OAU chairman, President Blaise Compaore, this on the grounds that it was in effect ECOWAS that had been fighting us and thus no troop-contributing member state could impartially host such talks. This basic premise for moving us to the table was eagerly accepted by Mr Francis Okello, Mr Moses Anafu of the Commonwealth Secretariat and even the government of President Kabbah.

    After the initial joy of hearing your voice on set for the first time in a long time, military instincts alerted me that you were under duress and that slowly the Kabbah government would use you to diffuse the explosive state of affairs and move us from our position of strength and seek to move the talks from our neutral ground of choice.

    In my opinion, this would not only cause us to lose our military edge but would have put your life in danger.

    In view of this, I took the painful but necessary step of instructing all signal stations to monitor but not to respond to on-air calls from the leader, explaining to all the reasons for such an order.

    In due course, as a result of violations of this same order, the talks were moved from Burkina Faso to Lome."

    Now, if you look at the beginning of that long paragraph, the first paragraph, Mr Taylor - I mean Mr Sesay, bearing in mind we are looking at what is supposedly a salute report from Sam Bockarie to the leader, dated 26 September 1999, where it says "our attack of Freetown", was Bockarie in charge of an attack on Freetown.

  • No. Bockarie was not the one in charge.

  • So can you help us as to the use of that language "Our attack of Freetown"?

  • Well, I just consider it that he was like trying to make himself more powerful to the leader or that he was claiming that he took part in the attack in Freetown, but the attack in Freetown was mainly by the AFRC, and the troops who even carried out the attacks, who commanded the troops that carried out the attacks, were not taking commands from Bockarie, and it was not the RUF, because he did not send any reinforcement to Freetown. He did not send ammunition there. He was not part of the plans for the invasion of Freetown, and there was no senior RUF commander who was present in Freetown, and no RUF troops went there. So he was just claiming.

  • Now, was Bockarie the kind of man to make such false boasts?

  • Yes, because I recall during this attack on Freetown, he had an interview over the BBC, when he was speaking with Robin White, when he said - he was being boastful that his men were in Freetown, and he told Robin White that if there was any bush shaking, he would comb the bush and that - he asked his bodyguards to open fire. By then, in fact, he was far off from Freetown. He was in Buedu.

  • Now, in the middle of that paragraph, where it says, "We now had the edge over Kabbah and his government and asked for talks to take place under the auspices of the OAU chairman, President Blaise Compaore," did that take place, that contact?

  • I am not aware of the talks taking place in Burkina Faso. I only heard about Lome, because during this time of the attack on Freetown, I was not on a daily basis in Buedu.

  • Now, it says at the bottom of that passage we have just read, "In due course, as a result of violations of this same order, the talks were moved from Burkina Faso to Lome." Now, Mr Sesay, we will come on to deal with Lome in a moment - well, perhaps not in a moment, we have a few more documents to go first, okay - but you do recall those talks in Lome?

  • Yes, yes.

  • And you told us right at the outset that you attended in Lome, didn't you?

  • Yes. I was in Lome.

  • I will come to the details of that in due course. Let's go back to this document:

    "On the military front, the ground has not only remained intact but huge gains were made against the enemy. As mentioned earlier in my report, four mechanised battalions of the Nigerian army were raised at Kono."

    Who was responsible for the attack which led to the raising of four mechanised battalions of Nigerian soldiers?

  • I was the commander for that attack.

  • "Resulting in the capture of" --

  • Mr Griffiths, is "raising" merely misspelt in this letter?

  • Meaning what exactly?

  • Well, let me ask the witness:

  • What does - where it says, "Four mechanised battalions of the Nigerian army were raised", what does that mean?

  • Well, it is just like when you flush a group of troops from their position.

  • "Resulting in the capture of a wide assortment of arms and ammunition, as well as armoured cars, war tanks were also captured and burnt. We successfully took the war from Kailahun to Freetown, putting military pressure on the SLPP government and the international community to effect your release. Huge amounts of arms and ammunitions were also captured by Brigadier Issa from the Guineans, including a 40 barrel missile and its bombs. The overall G-4 commander is in place to report on all materials captured and on stock at hand."

    Pause there. Who is the overall G-4 commander?

  • Augustine Mulbah, the one who was amongst the people whom Sam Bockarie had sent to go and investigate the issue between Superman and I that took place in Makeni.

  • Thank you.

    "Within the military structure of the RUF, promotions were encouraged as the only due reward for military accomplishment. There was wide-spread recruiting and training of combatants to provide a beefed-up fighting force.

    The medical unit has been enhanced with a regular supply of drugs and dressing materials, and the infusion of new talent has resulted in an efficient unit that now handles complex gynaecological cases and performs hernia and appendix operations to both soldiers and civilians."

    Did the RUF set up such a medical unit, Mr Sesay?

  • "A tanks and armoured division has been established within the artillery unit to utilise captured equipment from the enemy."

    Is that true?

  • Yes, that is true.

  • "Daru Barracks remains under siege with iron-gate defensives on all approaches to the township."

    Is that true?

  • Yes, that is true, because Segbwema was under RUF control.

  • Now, let's go and look at what he says about the political front.

    "Our move to capture Kono earned marked gains for the RUF in the political front. The international press was effectively used to educate the world as to the aims and objectives of the RUF.

    The government of Tejan Kabbah was forced to negotiate with us, a move they had consistently refused to make vowing instead to execute the leader and flush the RUF out of Sierra Leone.

    The United Nations and other international organisations were also forced to talk to us.

    After much military pressure from us and diplomatic pressure from the onlooking world, the leader was released to Togo where along with a delegation from within the RUF on the ground in Sierra Leone, a peace agreement was reached between the RUF and the SLPP government.

    Civilians and non-military issues

    Knowing the love and respect that the leader has for civilians, I have ensured that the status of civilians and, in particular, civilians behind RUF lines has never been compromised. They are still represented on the War Council and continue to enjoy full rights and privileges."

    Is it true that even up until this time, 1999, there was still civilians on the War Council?

  • Yes, the chairman was a civilian, yes.

  • And who was the chairman of the War Council in 1999?

  • It was the late SYB Rogers.

  • "A free primary school system was launched in the Kailahun District to address the educational needs of our children. This programme has been a huge success and has spread to other districts."

    Is that true?

  • Yes, that's true.

  • When was that free primary school system launched?

  • It was in late 1998.

  • And for how long did it survive?

  • Well, it survived - it extended into other districts and up to 2001. And even after disarmament, those schools still continued and up to this moment they are still there.

  • And into which further districts did the free primary school system extend after Kailahun?

  • Kono District, part of Koinadugu, Tonkolili District, Bombali District.

  • "The RUF and civilians behind its lines have maintained a programme of self sufficiency and have recorded the highest production ever of rice, palm oil and produce. Proceeds from the sale of agricultural produce was used to provide much needed rations and materials for soldiers and civilians alike. With the diamond rich ground of Kono under our control a mining group was set up headed by Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy who is in place to give an account of all proceeds from mining operations."

    Pause there. When was the mining unit set up headed by Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy?

  • July. It was in July that Kennedy became head of the mining unit after Bockarie had withdrawn him from Voinjama. He then sent him to Kono as the mining unit commander. It was in July 1998.

  • And for how long did the RUF maintain a mining unit?

  • Well, from '98 to 2001. Because the RUF disarmed in Kono in August 2001, but in 1998 the mining still was low because throughout 1998 it was ECOMOG who controlled Koidu and the surroundings. So the RUF were only based in jungles and there were always ECOMOG threats, Alpha Jets coming over to attack, so the mining unit was only there with about 60 miners that Kennedy was commanding until after the attack on Koidu Town in December '98.

  • Now, when will come back to diamonds as a discrete topic in due course. Let's go back to the document.

    "Sir, I most respectfully ask you to look into the numerous complaints of both Gibril and Superman. From the execution of vanguards in Pujehun to the killing of the bodyguards of Colonel Mohamed Tarawalli, on to the killing of Colonel Boston Flomo, Rambo, this terrible duo have wreaked havoc on the RUF."

    Pause. Who was responsible for the execution of vanguards in Pujehun?

  • It was Gibril Massaquoi.

  • And how many of them did he kill?

  • Were they the only ones killed by Gibril Massaquoi in Pujehun?

  • No, there was one special force among them called Patrick Lamin, and according to what I understood, because I was not in Pujehun, they said Gibril even killed his own - his own sibling, his own brother - his elder brother. They said he killed him.

  • And the killing of the bodyguards of Colonel Mohamed Tarawalli, who was responsible for that?

  • It was Superman.

  • And we know from what we have recently looked at that Superman was also responsible for the killing of Colonel Boston Flomo?

  • And the execution of the vanguards in Pujehun, in what year did that take place?

  • That was in late '91.

  • So the behaviour being complained of in this report from Bockarie to the leader dates back to 1991, does it?

  • Allow me to intervene and ask this. Mr Griffiths, you said to the witness: And the killing of Boston Flomo was - rather, Superman, was also responsible for the killing of Boston Flomo. But I thought the witness said Boston Flomo came to attack - or when Superman came to attack, he can came along with Boston Flomo, and in the attack Boston Flomo was shot by - the witness didn't tell us. How Boston Flomo die? Who killed Boston Flomo?

  • Yes, my lord, it was Superman who went and attacked Boston Flomo in his house in Makeni. They met him sleeping. It was Superman who killed him. Superman and others came from Lunsar, and we were in Makeni.

  • Thank you. That makes it clearer.

  • "They continue to flaunt my orders and have extended the same acts of gross insubordination to the leader. I hasten to remind you, sir, that whilst I, along with Brigadier Issa and other loyal forces, have always obeyed your orders to the letter, this duo have rejected your orders and challenged the authority of the leader and his military high command. The actions of Gibril and Superman has gone great lengths to worsen the relationship between the RUF and the SLA by the indiscriminate killing of SLA soldiers during their attacks on the RUF high command and in their bids to capture ground, and by inciting SLA soldiers against my command. The setbacks resulting in the actions of this duo are magnanimous and have far reaching consequences. I must also mention, sir, that all troops loyal to the leader and the high command of the RUF are in full readiness to take military action against Gibril and Superman and have only halted their action to await your arrival and handling of this situation. Sir, having obeyed all instructions given by you to me, and after diligently working to maintain the ground at all cost, I will not be pacified unless just and appropriate military action is taken by you. I, along with a vast majority of our troops, have borne the brunt of abuse and molestation, sabotaged and cold blooded murder, all in an effort to maintain the ground as per your instructions. Now that you are back and in full control of the RUF we anxiously await a speedy resolution of this problem."

    Now, you see it is signed, "Respectfully yours, Major General Sam Bockarie".

    Now that we have gone through that document at length, Mr Sesay, there are a few things I want to ask you about it. Could the witness please be shown the first page of this document?

    Mr Sesay, when, after Lome, did Foday Sankoh return to Sierra Leone?

  • Foday Sankoh came back in October. It was in October that he arrived in Freetown.

  • This report - this salute report which we have spent some time going through, first of all, within the RUF what was a salute report?

  • Well, a salute report is normally prepared by the commander for the attention of the leader about activities that went on within the organisation, and this was what he was reporting about.

  • Were you aware that in late September, shortly before Sankoh returned to Sierra Leone, that Bockarie was preparing a report such as this?

  • Yes. Bockarie said it, that --

  • Did Bockarie consult you prior to preparing this report?

  • No. It was after he had prepared it and sent it. That was when he told me that he had prepared and sent the salute report to Mr Sankoh.

  • Now, did you see a copy of this report after it was prepared by Bockarie?

  • I never saw a copy of it. It was only during the trials that I saw a copy of this.

  • Now, the signature on the last page, whose signature is that?

  • This is Sam Bockarie.

  • Now, help us with this, Mr Sesay - and I mean no disrespect to Mr Bockarie - but could Mr Bockarie read and write?

  • No. He cannot by himself compose this kind of language.

  • Well, it was the general adjutant, because he was responsible for writing such documents for Sam Bockarie. That was Rashid Sandy.

  • And help us: How would Rashid Sandy go about writing a document like this? Would it be dictated to him by Bockarie or what?

  • Yes, Bockarie explains and then he puts it into English language and writes it down.

  • And then he, Rashid Sandy, having written it down, what would happen to the document thereafter; would it be read out to Mr Bockarie for his approval or what?

  • After writing the document, he would read it and then, after reading it, Bockarie approves it.

  • Okay. I would like us to put that document back into its folder, but I would like it to be left there for the moment, and ask that the witness now be shown exhibit D-84.

    Mr Sesay, you will see that this document is headed "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, defence headquarters, to the leader of the revolution, from Brigadier Issa H Sesay, battlefield commander, RUF/SL salute report". Have you seen this document before, Mr Sesay.

  • Yes. The first time I saw this document was during my trial when they brought it. The lawyers brought it and showed it to me.

  • Go to the end of the document please, page 13. Whose signature is that?

  • Well, I don't know because this is not my signature. This is not the way I sign. You can see the Y, the way it comes down this way and bends down this other way, this is not how I sign, this is not who how I write my Y. Normally mine comes down with a straight line at the back and then I send it up again. But this one is not mine. When you look at this Y, it is as bent as that - the one on the promotion paper. It is as crooked as the one on the promotion paper, the one done by Albert Saidu. And during --

  • Just pause for a minute. On that topic, leaving that on the projector, can we please have before us exhibit P-483. I wonder if I could have a word with the Court Manager before we go ahead.

    Now, Mr Sesay, can you see two signatures in front of you?

  • Yes.

  • Which of those is your signature?

  • The one on the right.

  • What do you say distinguishes the signature on the right from the one on the left?

  • I tell you what I would like you to do. Go and sit in that chair with a pen and indicate to us what it is you're saying.

  • You see the Y. The line comes down straight and then goes up again. But you see that other one, the way it has been written, they curve it this way, curve it the other way before going up, that is not the way I sign. It is not my signature. This is not my signature. My signature is this one.

  • For the record, the witness has identified the signature on exhibit - what exhibit is this?

  • Exhibit P-483 as the one containing his authentic signature.

  • So can we put that one away so that we don't get confused, please. Now, what I would like us to do, please, I would like us to display the first sheet of exhibit D-9 and the first sheet of D-84, hopefully side by side on the screen as best we can:

  • Now, Mr Sesay, do you note the following: D-9, the one bearing Bockarie's name, yes, headed "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, defence headquarters, to the leader of the revolution, RUF/SL, from Major General Sam Bockarie, subject salute report", the heading on that one is virtually identical to the heading on D-84, apart from the name, isn't it?

  • Yes.

  • Note also the dates --

  • Mr Griffiths, what do you mean by the heading?

  • "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, defence headquarters, to the leader of the revolution" --

  • You mean the letterhead, because the heading is this - in my understanding the heading is what is written as the subject.

  • Well, what I am talking about are the first six lines on both documents:

  • The first six lines on both documents, apart from the difference in the name of the sender is virtually identical, isn't it?

  • Yes, both the same.

  • The Bockarie report is dated 26 September and the other report is the very next day, the 27th. Mr Sesay, who wrote these two documents?

  • Well, these two documents, especially mine, the one that they allege is mine, it was not by me because at this time I was in Buedu and I was not capable to put such English expressions together. And my adjutant was not in Buedu. At this time he was in Magburaka. And Sam Bockarie himself was not in Buedu. Sam Bockarie was in Monrovia waiting for Mr Sankoh there in this late September 1997 - I mean 1999. Bockarie was not in Buedu, he was in Monrovia waiting for Mr Sankoh's arrival, together with Johnny Paul Koroma. And at this time I was in Buedu and to say that I wrote such a salute report - in fact throughout the time, the time Mr Sankoh was in Lome until the time he came from Lome to the May incident when he was arrested I had never sent him a salute report. So this time they are talking about that I sent this salute report is a lie.

  • Is the witness discounting exhibit D-009 also as being not a genuine document?

  • Well help us, Mr Sesay. Exhibit D-9, the document allegedly from Sam Bockarie, forget about its contents, where was Bockarie on 26 September?

  • Bockarie was in Monrovia. He went to Monrovia. Mr Sankoh had asked him to go there and wait for him there. Bockarie was in Monrovia, Johnny Paul was in Monrovia and even Superman and others came from Makeni himself, Pa Binda, Ray and Jackson Swarray. They came from Makeni to Freetown, the government and ECOMOG got them a flight and they took them to Monrovia. They were all in Monrovia. They left me on the ground. They were there until Mr Sankoh came and met them there and from there they travelled to Freetown. So Bockarie was not in Buedu at this time of the year, at this time for this letter.

  • Pause there. Now, Mr Sesay, did Bockarie write this salute report?

  • Well, I doubt it because even Rashid Sandy, who was Sam Bockarie adjutant, Rashid Sandy was in Buedu while Sam Bockarie was in Liberia in Monrovia at this time, because Rashid Sandy had an assignment given to him by Mr Sankoh after the signing of Lome that he should come and educate the front line fighters and officers about the Lome Accord, so he was not with Sam Bockarie at this time.

  • Were these two documents written by the same person, Mr Sesay?

  • I can't deny that because - I can't refute that because all the allegations in the document, there are people in the RUF who knew about these issues.

  • Okay. Let's leave just D-84 on the overhead now, please, and put D-9 to one side, but we will be coming back to it.

    "After working on the draft document of the Abidjan Peace Accord, you returned behind RUF lines to consult with the military high command and all combatants on the Accord and its implications. While in the Kailahun District, we received reports that Colonel Mohamed Tarawalli had been de-stabilised by Kamajors and SLA troops at your former base of Camp Zogoda. On hearing this news, I, and other officers convoyed from Giema to Buedu with the leader. The next day, before returning to Abidjan to conclude documentation and signing of the Accord, you instructed that General Sam Bockarie take over as battle group commander of the RUF."

    So let's just pause for a minute and note this. In this first paragraph, the writer is speaking about the presence of Sankoh just before the signing of the Abidjan Peace Accord in Sierra Leone, and also, right at the end, the appointment of Sam Bockarie as battle group commander. Let's now have a look at the first paragraph in D-9: "Before leaving the ground in November 1996..." that is when you came to discuss the Abidjan Peace Accord, D-84, second sentence, "...you placed me in command as battlefield commander of the RUF."

    Same point made in the paragraph in D-84. Let's put D-84 back on the overhead.

    "The next day, after returning to Abidjan to complete the documentation and signing of the Accord, you instructed that General Sam Bockarie take over as battle group commander of the RUF. From Abidjan, the leader instructed that men should be sent across the Moa River to receive those of our troops who were fortunate enough to have successfully retreated from Zogoda and to actively go in search of Colonel Mohamed Tarawalli. This order was implemented in full and though we were able to" - I can't make out - I think it is "contact" - "both soldiers and civilians that had retreated from Zogoda, we were unable to locate Colonel Tarawalli. From Abidjan we received further instructions that General Mosquito was to take effective command on the ground in your absence and to assume the assignment of battlefield commander, RUF. I was assume the duties and responsibilities of battle group commander and together we were to work to maintain the ground by any means necessary."

    Then this:

    "General Mosquito was able to make positive contact with ULIMO and make all necessary arrangements to buy materials from them. The money that you had left with us on the ground US $7,000 was utilised to buy materials from ULIMO and with these materials, we were able to resist enemy advances in the Kailahun district."

    Now, let's just pause. We see in that paragraph the writer - supposedly, you - having dealt with Sankoh's presence, appointment as battlefield commander, fall of Zogoda, the next topic the writer deals with is this US $7,000. Let's go back to exhibit D-9. Paragraph 2:

    "Upon your departure, I initiated contact with ULIMO, as per your instructions in a bid to buy materials to repel the vicious attacks of the Kamajors at a time when there was a peace document in place and we were not expecting to fight. At first ULIMO arrested me, thinking that I had come to them to surrender. Later I was able to convince them to release me and we commenced a mutually beneficial relationship. I used the US $7,000 to purchase vitally needed materials that gave us the stance to fight and challenge the SLPP government until they were ousted by the AFRC coup."

    Do you see the similarities between the two documents, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, I've seen it. And?

  • And you see in that paragraph in D-9:

    "To repel the vicious attacks of the Kamajors at a time when there was a peace document in place and we were not expecting to fight."

    Let's go back to D-84. The next paragraph in D-84:

    "It became obvious to us on the ground that the Abidjan Peace Accord was nothing but paper, as the Kamajors were being used against us with vicious attacks on our positions. It was not long before we heard that the leader had been arrested in Nigeria."

    Now, who had ousted the RUF from Camp Zogoda?

  • It was the Kamajors.

  • I think we can put D-9 away now, please, and just have a look at the remainder of D-84, second page:

    "It was not long before we heard that the leader had been arrested in Nigeria and, as we were trying to understand the circumstances of your arrest and implications to the RUF, we learnt that Philip Palmer, Fayia Musa and other members of the external delegation were now claiming leadership of the RUF."

    I am sorry, Madam Court Manager, it's my fault, can we just briefly look now, please, at the first page of D-9 again. I am sorry.

    So you see after dealing with the $7,000, the next topic after is the external delegation. Have a look at D-9. The next paragraph after dealing with "purchases from ULIMO":

    "It came as a surprise to learn that the leader had been arrested in Nigeria and an even bigger surprise when Captain Philip Palmer and others announced a change in the leadership of the RUF. I was able to lure them to Sierra Leone..." and it goes on to explain.

    So exactly the same topic in exactly the same order as in D-84. Let's go back to D-84:

    "General Mosquito contacted Palmer, telling him that since this was the action that they had taken, it was necessary for them to come back behind our lines and brief the military high command and combatants accordingly. Palmer and others eventually agreed to meet us at the Nongowa Crossing Point. There, amidst drumming and dancing to receive them, the general was able to persuade all of the coup plotters, including the Sierra Leone ambassador to Guinea, Lieutenant Colonel Djabi, to cross over into RUF zone. They were promptly arrested and their statements revealed an international conspiracy, to which they were party, aimed at changing the leadership of the RUF. They have since been in custody until your recent instruction to release them. Soon after, we received information that Superman, who was operating as battalion commander for the Western Area Jungle, had arrested the bodyguards of Colonel Tarawalli and had executed two of them, namely, Emmanuel and Victor, without consulting with and obtaining such instruction from the military high command left on the ground by the leader. An investigation was launched and before action could be taken against Superman, the SLPP government was overthrown by the AFRC on 25 May 1997."

    So you see following the arrest of Palmer and other external delegates, the next topic discussed in this is the actions of Superman in killing the bodyguards of Colonel Tarawalli.

    D-9 again please, top of page 2. What is the next topic discussed in D-9, the Bockarie report, after dealing with the arrest of the external delegates? Guess what?

    "Meanwhile in Bradford in the Western Area Jungle, Superman had killed two of Colonel Mohamed Tarawalli's bodyguards."

    Both documents are written in exactly the same order, yet one is attributed to you, one is attributed to Bockarie. Question: Can you help us as to who wrote these two documents, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. It was Gibril Massaquoi who wrote these documents, because the reason I said it was Gibril Massaquoi who wrote these documents is that when Mr Sankoh came in November 1996, all of us were with Gibril Massaquoi in Buedu, and the money - before Foday Sankoh gave the money, the instruction that the person talked about that Gibril wrote here that Mr Sankoh sent instruction for us to send people across the Moa, no, to go in search of Mohamed Tarawalli and the retreating men from Zogoda, it was the house where Foday Sankoh was lodged in Buedu that he told us --

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat this area slowly.

  • Pause. "It was the house in Buedu where Foday Sankoh told us", pick it up from there. And, Mr Sesay, this is important, so please speak slowly.

  • I said the house where Mr Sankoh was lodged in Buedu, it was in the parlour that I was there, Gibril was there, Peter Vandi, Sam Bockarie, before Foday Sankoh gave the money. Then he said when he returned to Giema after he would have gone to Abidjan, he said I would be responsible to come to the river bank, that is the Moa River, and I was to dispatch people across the Moa in search of Mohamed Tarawalli and the retreating men from Zogoda. So it was not after Foday Sankoh had gone to Abidjan that he sent the message. It was in that room that he first told me before he gave the money to Sam Bockarie to contact ULIMO.

  • So why do you say it was Gibril Massaquoi who wrote these documents?

  • Well, Gibril was present and he travelled with Foday Sankoh. And even before the Court arrested me, Gibril used to bring negative ideas to me, you know. And on the day of my arrest, we were arrested together with Gibril but the Prosecutor at the site headquarters, immediately after our arrest they called Gibril in the corner and took off the handcuff from him. And when I was in I knew that Gibril was talking to these people just after the election in Sierra Leone, just after May, around June, Gibril had started talking to the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor and Gibril had started talking. And when I was in detention - June of 2000 - 2002 and before my arrest in 2003 because they arrested the three of us but he was released. But the documents, I had been seeing statements from Gibril and this will letter that I have seen, I can conclude - and from what I was hearing while I was in detention, he used to go on in the newspapers writing.

  • Let's go back to D-84. So the next topic discussed in D-84, as we see, is the killing of the bodyguards of Colonel Tarawalli. Then this:

    "An investigation was launched and before action could be taken against Superman the SLPP government was overthrown by the AFRC on 25th of May 1997. A few days later, General Mosquito was instructed to move and join our SLA brothers in Freetown."

    Let's have a look and see what's the next topic discussed in D-9 after the killing of Mohamed Tarawalli's bodyguards. Guess what:

    "On receiving instructions from the leader calling on the RUF to join the AFRC, I decided to put the Bradford issue to rest until the return of the leader and instructed Superman to head the advance to Freetown from the Western Jungle, later to be joined by Colonel Isaac and others from Kangari Hills. Thus begun the marriage of uneven and unequal partners between the AFRC and the RUF."

    Exactly the same order. The same topic is being discussed in both documents in the same order. Would you agree with that, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. That's how I see it.

  • "In accordance with the leader's instructions, General Mosquito postponed action against Superman and instructed him to lead the advance" - I'm back at D-84 now. Sorry, my fault. They're so similar it's easy to get confused. So let's look at D-84, page 3:

    "General Mosquito postponed action against Superman and instructed him to lead the advance team from Bradford to Freetown whilst Colonel Isaac and Brigadier Kallon were to move to join the SLA forces in Makeni. After ensuring that the security of the high command was paramount, the general and I moved to Freetown. Once in place in Freetown we assessed the security situation and deployed our troops in all strategic areas of the capital and indeed the entire country. In accordance with the instructions of the leader we took all instructions from chairman JP Koroma and maintained the same sense of discipline and loyalty that we have developed growing within the ranks of the RUF.

    Lieutenant Colonel Gibril Massaquoi arrived in Freetown from Nigeria where he had beep under detention with the leader. He briefed us informally that he had been arrested together with the leader but that he had escaped all with the knowledge and consent of the leader. A few days later, Gibril would present a document to chairman Johnny Paul Koroma that he, Gibril, alleges was given to him by the leader. In the document, it was instructed that no member of the RUF was to accept any ministerial position or participate in politics in any way. It also endorsed the promotion of Gibril to the rank of a full colonel. These events were reported to General Mosquito as he had not been in Freetown when Gibril arrived.

    On the arrival of Steve Bio in Freetown he became very closely associated with Lieutenant Colonel Gibril and both seemed to be on their own agenda. I left Freetown for Kenema in order to distribute rations and morale boosters to the troops, as well as to organise the various deployments.

    Whilst waiting for my jeep to be repaired, a vehicle pulled up with Steve Bio and Lieutenant Colonel Gibril within. Gibril greeted me and introduced Steve Bio to me. Though I knew Steve from a brief meeting in Abidjan at the signing of the peace accord, I had never really talked to him or knew much about him. They then began to discuss the AFRC and complained about the way in which the RUF was being marginalised and treated with disrespect. We were in a public place and I advised that such talk from them was not to be done around civilians. On this advice, we, including Major Eddie Bockarie, who was with me, walked to a point out of the earshot of others. Gibril went on to say that our meeting was not a coincidence and that they had searched the entire town for me as they had an important issue on which they had to brief me.

    Mr Bio then stated that had he come with a special mission and was seeking my support in launching a coup. I listened as both he and Gibril went into details of the numerous grievances held against the AFRC. He said that the AFRC had refused to share power with us and had even marginalised us in the military. I told them that the instructions that we had received from the leader called on us to join and take all orders from chairman JP Koroma. Steve Bio responded saying that I should disregard all that as we were all young men and this was an operation that was necessary for the four of us, Gibril, Steve, General Mosquito and myself, to undertake and assume command of the government and State.

    I asked them if they had already discussed this with General Mosquito as they had just left him in Freetown. Gibril replied they had left the general in Freetown but that he was afraid of General Mosquito and could not summon the courage to approach him on such an issue. In fact, it was this very reason that had made it necessary for them to search for me in Kenema, knowing that if I could be convinced, they were close to getting General Mosquito's support.

    The two of them left Kenema that night for Bo. At around 4 a.m. the following morning General Mosquito arrived in Kenema. I immediately informed him of my previous day's discussions with Gibril and Steve Bio. I told the general that they were asking us to overthrow the very government that the leader had instructed us to join and secure. I told General Mosquito that since that dialogue, I had been thinking of a secure way of informing him and was very relieved that he was in Kenema.

    The general was shocked to hear this and in turn informed me that he had been called to the State House in Freetown where he was informed by chairman JP Koroma that some members of the RUF were planning a coup together with other SLA officers. The general informed me further that he had been given the instructions to investigate the situation and report back to him.

    That day I moved to Bo and Gibril and Steve joined my convoy to Freetown. On arrival in Freetown I asked them in the presence of Brigadier Mike Lamin, Colonel Isaac and other security personnel to repeat their statements made to me in Kenema. They repeated the same statements and they were detained and turned over to the army headquarters at Cockerill."

    Now that account, Mr Sesay, of you meeting Gibril Massaquoi and Steve Bio in Kenema, you gave us a very similar account, did you not?

  • Yes.

  • And the account contained in this document, is it accurate?

  • No, because I did not pick them up in Bo. They went back the following day to Kenema and they were at Eddie Kanneh's house when Bockarie sent me to call them to his own house in Kenema.

  • Very well. Let's go back:

    "On New Year's Eve I left home in search of a pharmacy that was still open for business as I was in poor health. I met the late Honourable Gborie who informed me that he had chairs for me and had been trying to get a hold of me for two days. I thanked him sincerely and accepted his gift. Despite all the allegations and testimonies against the character of this man, I say with no hesitation that he welcomed the RUF with all his heart."

    Now pause there. Is that an accurate description as to how those chairs, which caused such a fuss, came into your possession, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. They were given to me by Gborie. That's what happened.

  • It was on New Year's Eve?

  • Yes, it could be around those times.

  • Is it the case that you had bumped into this Honourable Gborie whilst you were on your way to the pharmacy?

  • No. I met with Gborie in town when he said he was going to my house to give me the chairs.

  • "On numerous occasions he would provide rations and boosters to our troops and every RUF problem was his problem. I accepted his gift in good faith, only to be notified on SLBS radio the following day that I had looted the Iranian embassy and, as a result, I had been removed from the Supreme Council and that my arrest had been ordered.

    Knowing that while we the RUF were securing the government of the AFRC, they were killing our soldiers with no action being taken and that the RUF high command had been targeted for elimination, and knowing that I was innocent and the measures taken against me extreme, I refused arrest and maintained the integrity of the high command of the RUF.

    In general, we were not trusted or respected by the AFRC, even though they had called on us to join them. Our troops were the only ones committed to their assignments, while the AFRC high command rejected our war plans and strategies, referring to us as bloodthirsty bush colonels."

    Is it the case, Mr Sesay, that in general the RUF were not trusted or respected by the AFRC?

  • Yes, in some cases they used to say that they did not trust us and they used to call us bush colonels. It is just the expression bloodthirsty that they did not use on us. But the expressions referring to us as bush officers and that they were scared of giving us ammunition because they thought we would open fire on them.

  • "It became apparent to us in Freetown that Lieutenant Colonel Gibril had leaked information to the AFRC pertaining to military equipment belonging to the RUF that the leader had kept in a safe place. Before we could confront Gibril and arrest the situation, he and the AFRC had arranged for the equipment to be delivered to them. They took delivery of the equipment without the concern or consent of the RUF high command and stored the equipment where we had no say or access to it. When we retreated from Freetown a large quantity of the said equipment was left in storage at the residence of chairman Koroma."

    And if we just pause for a minute and go to exhibit D-9 page 4, third paragraph:

    "Before Gibril was arrested, he exposed to the AFRC information on materials that the RUF held in stock. Unknown to me and the rest of the RUF high command, Gibril and the AFRC had made arrangements for the stock to be moved in place for their use. They then took control of the entire load, leaving the bulk of it stashed away at the residence of Johnny Paul Koroma, and fled the city whilst our troops fought the enemy from house to house with nearly empty magazines."

    Can we go back to D-84 now, please, page 5? Two-thirds of the way down the page:

    "Due to the lack of command and control, shortage of issued materials to our front-line troops and the total lack of support of the SLA soldiers, the enemy were able to move us from Freetown and ousted the AFRC government."

    Would you agree with that sentiment, Mr Sesay, that it was due to a lack of command and control, among other things, which led to the success of the ECOMOG intervention?

  • No.

  • You wouldn't agree with that?

  • Now, were you in Freetown at the time of the intervention, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, I was not in Freetown when they attacked, but I was in Makeni. When I returned - when I returned to Four Mile at Hastings - Newton, sorry, Four Mile.

  • I ask for this reason. Look how this report, which is from you, allegedly, continues:

    "I remember the enemy were able to move us from Freetown and ousted the AFRC government. I retreated first to Waterloo and then to Masiaka."

    Did you retreat from Freetown first to Waterloo and then to Masiaka?

  • No, no. I was not in Freetown when they attacked Freetown. I was in Makeni. I came for me to take my family. I was not there. Even where this report says that I and Bockarie did not know about the ammunition that Mr Sankoh had in stock, that's a black lie. And I was not - well, how would -

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat this last bit of answer slowly?

  • Let's start with from where you say it was a black lie.

  • The document is alleging that I did not know about the ammunition, that Gibril leaked out to the AFRC when Mr Sankoh - that which Mr Sankoh had kept. That's the only ammunition - that is the only ammunition when we went together to Burkina Faso, and when Gibril brought the letters, he took Sam Bockarie's own to Kenema. When Johnny Paul called Sam Bockarie, I knew about it. When Johnny Paul sent to tell Gibril to call Ibrahim Bah, I knew about that. I knew about the money that Johnny Paul provided for the transportation, for the flight transportation. I knew about all of those. When the ammunition came, Johnny Paul sent me and the chief of staff to receive them at the airfield at Mayagba, when we brought the ammunition and the arms at Johnny Paul's house in Freetown, I knew when Johnny Paul gave one of the BZT weapons and ammunition to be taken to Sam Bockarie, he gave that to Mike Lamin to take to Sam Bockarie. I knew of all those events.

  • So where, in this report, reference is being made to "Gibril had leaked information to the AFRC pertaining to military equipment belonging to the RUF that it the leader had kept in a safe place" what's that a reference to?

  • Well, that proves that I did not write this report because these are events that I was aware of, and these are things that people in the RUF were aware of and they knew that Issa was aware of it. Documents, letters that Gibril had brought from Mr Sankoh about these ammunitions, and people knew that the coming of the ammunition and the receiving them, Issa took part in them and Issa knew, how could Issa write again to Mr Sankoh a report when Issa knew that even some of the commanders of the RUF knew about Issa's involvement or Issa's knowledge about this ammunition? How could I have written a report like this to Mr Sankoh, a salute report? Then Mike Lamin knew that I went to the airfield to receive these arms and ammunition from Burkina Faso together with the AFRC army chief of staff. So it doesn't make sense to Mr Sankoh because something I was aware of and now I am saying I was not aware of it.

  • So let's go back, page 5:

    "I retreated first to Waterloo and then to Masiaka. By then, the ECOMOG force had taken Bo and Kenema and it was agreed that I should attack Bo and begin to organise to move to attack Freetown. I was successful in capturing Bo but sustained an injury that forced me to retreat back to Mile 91 and then to Makeni in search of good medical treatment.

    Whilst in Makeni, I went to visit JP Koroma, who was in hiding in his village. JP Koroma asked me to arrange and supervise the movement of his entire family to Kailahun, as ECOMOG were advancing and the clandestine radio, 98.1 FM had accounted that he was hiding in his village."

    Now, what is this clandestine radio, 98.1 FM?

  • Well, this was the SLPP radio station. That is what they used when the AFRC and the RUF were in Freetown in '97.

  • And where was that radio based?

  • This radio was based in Lungi.

  • And who operated it?

  • Well, it was the SLPP who operated it.

  • Do you know whether a foreign government funded that radio station?

  • No, I wouldn't know about that by then.

  • Let's go to page 6 please.

    "I contacted General Mosquito and the order was given to escort the former head of state to our Kailahun base. First we had to open the road to Kono. This was done in conjunction with Superman and Brigadier Mike Lamin. Having put Kono under our control, we attacked Gandorhun with the intention of opening the road from Koidu Gieya to Sandialu but failed in our attempts. We were then ordered by General Mosquito to enter the jungle and use the cover of the jungle to secure JP Koroma and his family to the banks of the Moa River. Across the Moa, General Mosquito had sent vehicles ahead of us, and we all reported to Buedu. All hospitalities were extended to JP Koroma and his family, and general turned over his bedroom to JP Koroma and his wife.

    JP Koroma appointed General Mosquito as chief of defence staff, with overall command over both the RUF and the SLA, and promoted him to the rank of brigadier general. General Mosquito call on me and informed me that since he had been made chief of defence staff for both the RUF and the SLA by JP Koroma, he wanted to turn over his assignment of battlefield commander to me, and asked me to turn my assignment of battle group commander over to Superman. The general said that he was doing this to draw Superman within the high command structure of the RUF in a bid to encourage him. I accepted and assumed the assignment of battlefield commander, and Superman assumed the assignment of battle group commander.

    One morning, the chief security officer to the former AFRC chairman, Johnny Paul Koroma, informed me that his boss was planning to escape to Ghana, along with his entire family. The CSO further told me that JP Koroma had a parcel of diamonds that he was planning on selling once out of the country.

    This information came as a surprise to me and found it hard to believe that at a time when we were trying to put the fighting men under command and control and provide the necessary logistics to halt our retreat and move forward, Johnny Paul Koroma would keep diamonds for his own use and flee, leaving us with a problem that he had created.

    Accompanied by Brigadier Mike Lamin and the CSO to Johnny Paul Koroma, I asked the latter to present the diamonds for the use of the revolution. He complied, and the matter was settled.

    While in Buedu, Captain Michael Coomber of the mining unit reported with a parcel of diamonds from Kono. This parcel was placed in my care by General Mosquito, with the instruction to move with it to a transit point where I would be met by General Ibrahim and together we were to travel to a business associate of the leader for arrangements and procurement of military equipment.

    I arrived at the transit point and booked into a hotel. On the evening of my third day at the hotel, Colonel Jungle and I went across the street to a tea shop. Whilst there, it started to rain, and Jungle and I ran from the shop across the street to the hotel. As we climbed the steps to enter, I touched my pockets, as I had gotten accustomed to doing since the parcel was put in my care. To my shock and dismay, my pockets were empty. I screamed and put my hands on my head and cried. Jungle and I then retraced our steps from the tea shop to the hotel. We searched in the rain on our hands and knees. Staff from the hotel helped us in our search, all to no avail. For the first time in my life, I contemplated suicide. I above all knew the importance attached to the materials that the diamonds were to facilitate for the movement. How could I ever look my commander in the eyes and tell him that I, Issa, who could be trusted with the security of the nation, could not secure a small parcel of diamonds? As the days went by, I grew frustrated and could not eight or sleep."

    That paragraph describing events in Monrovia, Mr Sesay, is it accurate?

  • Yes, about the topic of the diamonds, the diamond dropped from me from the place where I was waiting for Ibrahim Bah. But that was not on the third day. It was on the sixth day since I entered the hotel. It was on that day that the diamond dropped from my pockets that night.

  • Did you feel suicidal after that loss?

  • No, no, no. I did not have such a plan.

  • "Four days after the loss, Jungle and I were sitting on his bed when we monitored National Radio announcing that diamonds had been discovered on the very same street that I had suffered my loss. Jungle and I cried, knowing that the mentioned diamonds were the property of the RUF. Till this day, people still prospect this area, thinking that diamonds are underground. General Mosquito dispatched Lieutenant Colonel Moriba to meet me and escort me back to DHQ."

    Pause there for a minute. Mr Sesay, a moment ago you said it wasn't - it was how many days after you had arrived in Monrovia that the diamonds were lost?

  • I said it was six days when the diamonds got missing.

  • But, Mr Sesay, help us with this. What were you doing with the diamonds in your possession for six days? Surely you were meant to be taking them to Mr Taylor, so why didn't you take them straight to him?

  • No, Bockarie sent me. I should go and wait for Ibrahim Bah in Monrovia, and Ibrahim Bah was to come and pick me up and we'd go to Burkina Faso. I did not have any business with Mr Taylor, no.

  • "On arrival I was met by an enraged General Mosquito who angrily chastised me for the loss. I was ordered to fall out, and for over a week the General would not talk to me or even respond to my courtesies. Finally one morning I was summoned by the General and instructed that I should leave Buedu and make my base at Pendembu, from where I was to coordinate all front-line operations. I complied with this order and stepped up operations against the enemy at Daru. I also launched successful jungle missions to Joru and Nyeyama. General Mosquito left on a trip to secure materials for the movement and on his return I was issued a liberal quantity of ammunition and instructed to cross the Moa River and recapture Kono from the enemy. Prior to this the same instructions had been given to Superman who misused the materials given to him and failed to capture the target. On arrival in Kono, I called the brigade commander, Rambo and other senior officers, and together we arranged a forum in which general security issues were discussed and a war plan was made for the attack of Koindu Town.

    I instructed Brigadier Kallon to move to Gold Town and cut off the enemy. I led the troops in the attack of Koidu Town, attacking the enemy at 6 a.m. They put up a strong resistance using their four mechanised battalions deployed to defend Kono and its diamonds. Our troops proved too aggressive for them and, after four hours of heated combat we captured Koidu Town. The Nigerians retreated to Bumpe. Very early the next morning we attack their positions at Bumpe and razed them from the town. The enemy were forced to retreat through the road leading to Masingbi, where they fell in Kallon's ambush. All in all, the enemy lost four war tanks, armoured cars, and a multitude of heavy artillery pieces, personal rifles, and huge amounts of ammunition. They also suffered heavy casualties, the likes of which they have never experienced in the history of ECOMOG. They were forced to retreat on foot with not even a bicycle being able to pass our defences.

    Our forces moved from Masingbi, Rambo and Kallon moving with the advance team whilst I moved to repel a Kamajor attack at Nimikoro. Our forces had by then captured Masingbi and Magburaka and were advancing to attack Makeni."

    Pausing there, Mr Sesay, this description of the operation which you led in December 1998, is it accurate?

  • Well, to say I would never forget - to say - I will never forget that type of event in their life in the --

  • Your Honour, could the witness be asked to slow down and start it all over again.

  • Start again, please, Mr Sesay, and please, can we go slowly.

  • I said here the document says that ECOMOG would never forget the event that took place in Kono, as a result of the casualties that they suffered, they would never forget that in the history of ECOMOG, I said no, that is not true. Yes, I agree that the ECOMOG left their armour down, they left their tanks and ran away, but they withdrew. They retreated from Kono through Bumpe, Njaiama Nimikoro to Tongo Field. That was one group. And the other group also withdrew. They went to Sewafe. From Sewafe they crossed the Sew River and went to Konta Boama.

  • How do you spell that name?

  • Konta Boama. K-O-N-T-A B-O-A-M-A.

  • Going back to the report:

    "I joined them taking with me all needed military materials for the attack. We quickly put the township under our military control. General Mosquito called me on set and instructed that we allow Superman to join in the operations. The General explained that though Superman had earlier refused his orders, he, Mosquito, was man enough to put it behind him and accept Superman back, referring to him as a 'brother in arms'."

    I note the time, Madam President.

  • Yes, Mr Griffiths, we are going to take our luncheon break and reconvene at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.35 p.m.]

  • Please continue, Mr Griffiths.

  • Can we go back, please, to exhibit D-84, page 8, two-thirds of the way down the page:

    "Rambo proceeded to a village beyond Binkolo where Superman had been in hiding and brought him to Makeni. That morning the two of us met and had polite discussions. Together we attacked the barracks and captured it. At that point, I received information that the enemy were moving to attack Iljiama-Swafe."

    I don't know if I've pronounced that correctly.

  • Njaiama Sewafe.

  • "I moved to put the situation under control. Upon my return to Makeni, Rambo and Kallon reported that all military equipment in their care had been reported to the G4. They reported that Superman on the other hand had taken the materials he selected to his house. Accompanied by Kallon, I went to Superman's house and confronted him with the issue. I informed him that it was proper procedure to report all captured military materials to the G4 who would then file a comprehensive report to DHQ and issue the said materials upon instructions. I asked that Superman present the materials so as to ensure proper accountability. Superman led Kallon and I into the house and showed us where he had kept the materials. I instructed that it be moved and reported to the G4."

    That account, Mr Sesay, is it accurate, what I've just read?

  • It's a lie.

  • What's wrong with it?

  • I said it's a lie because Superman did not report the materials that he had taken to his house to me, that he showed them to me, and I told him to take them to the -4. That's a lie. The materials remained with Superman, he did got give them back.

  • Sorry, Mr Interpreter, the materials did what?

  • Remained with Superman.

  • I said the materials remained with Superman. He did not give them to me.

  • It then continues:

    "Two days later General Mosquito again asked for understanding and allowed Superman to rejoin the operations.

    Rambo was instructed to advance and attack Port Loko which he did, deploying his forward defensive at the Port Loko turn-table leading to Kambia. Rambo shared the town with the enemy for seven days.

    Superman pleaded that, even though Rambo had done well, he, as battle group commander, knew the ground well and should take over the ground. He said that he had received intelligence that the leader had been moved to Lungi and wanted to advance as far as Lungi and rescue the leader.

    At this time our forces Freetown were under enemy cut off from the rear and were in danger of being boxed-in and either captured alive or killed.

    Rambo was withdrawn from his operation in Port Loko and instructed to open a through-way to connect with our men in Freetown.

    Rambo then attacked and captured Masiaka, advanced and captured RDF, and attacked the Guineans at Waterloo, engaging them in combat for four days and four nights.

    The Guineans wrote us a letter asking for their safe passage back to Guinea, saying that they were taking their hands out of the war. I replied, denying their request."

    Did you have such contact with the Guineans, Mr Sesay?

  • No, I was in Makeni. They wrote the letter to Rambo and Superman, and Superman and Rambo responded to the letter.

  • Did you have any dealings with that letter whatsoever?

  • "I told them that if they wanted safe passage they should leave behind all their military equipment. A few days later I monitored the sound of heavy bombardment from the direction of Port Loko. On inquiring, I was informed that our troops had dissolved the ground and that the enemy were advancing towards Gberi Junction. I asked for Superman and was informed that he was in Lunsar and not on the ground that he had asked for and been given.

    The Guinean convoy bulldozed all the way to Masiaka where my position was also bulldozed."

    Is that true?

  • I wasn't there. I was in Makeni.

  • But you see what's being said here, that the Guineans bulldozed a position held by you, the writer of this. Did that happen?

  • No, that did not happen.

  • "Their mission was to rescue the Guineans at Waterloo.

    During this impasse the enemy had advanced to Gberi Junction. General Mosquito instructed that in the interest of the revolution, we should put our differences aside temporarily and act to repel the enemy. Along with Kallon, Rambo and Brigadier Isaac, four trucks of armed men were mobilised and we joined the force at Lunsar and moved for Gberi Junction. Four of Rambo's men were killed in that attack by friendly fire from the rear, suggesting foul play."

    Did such an incident occur, Mr Sesay?

  • Were you at RDF at this time?

  • I wasn't at the RDF.

  • I said I was in Makeni.

  • Thank you:

    "The Guinean convoy consisted of over four war tanks, eight armoured vehicles, a 40-barrel missile, four anti-aircraft guns and countless other mounted weapons."

  • Sorry to interrupt, Mr Griffiths. Did the witness say he was in the RDF or he wasn't?

  • He said he wasn't at RDF. "I said I was in Makeni":

  • "The Guinean convoy consisted of over four war tanks, eight armoured vehicles, a 40-barrel missile, four anti-aircraft guns and countless other mounted weapons and over eight trucks full of personnel. As they moved, they bombarded and assaulted, clearing a path for themselves. I was extremely annoyed at my position being bulldozed and issued strong orders f