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

  • Good morning, Mr George. Yesterday afternoon before court adjourned we were considering the events surrounding the 1996 elections in Sierra Leone, in particular at about 4.30 yesterday you were telling us about your lack of knowledge about any reports that Morris Kallon made to Foday Sankoh regarding an attack on Kenema. Do you remember our discussions yesterday afternoon, Mr George?

  • Yes, that was the discussion at which we stopped yesterday.

  • And you also recall that yesterday in connection with the topic of Operation Stop Election and this report by Morris Kallon, I was reading the transcripts of the evidence of Augustine Mallah. Do you remember that?

  • Yes, I remember that.

  • This morning I want to continue with the evidence of Mr Mallah. This is the transcript from 12 November 2008. For purposes of this morning I would like to start at page 20109. Mr George, I will read to you more evidence that was heard from Augustine Mallah and I will ask for your comments. Line 14 on that page, Mr Mallah was asked a question:

    "Q. During the time you were at Zogoda with Foday Sankoh,

    '94 to sometime in '96, were you aware of any

    communications Foday Sankoh had outside of Sierra Leone?

    A. Yes.

    Q. And what were those communications?

    A. The communication, because I myself had access to Foday

    Sankoh at any time, at any hour, as a strike force

    commander, so I was there when a radio man came to call

    Foday Sankoh. He said they wanted to talk to him.

    Q. Who wanted to talk to him?

    A. Charles Taylor. I myself will be there where we would

    take Foday Sankoh and we would sit by just like that white

    man there, sitting down, and we will be here whilst they

    are talking. That used to take place for over a day, every

    day, or some time once or twice a day. We used to see him

    asking and they would greet each other. He would ask for

    Foday Sankoh. He would inquire about Foday Sankoh's

    health. Foday Sankoh too would respond in the same way to

    Charles Taylor. Foday Sankoh would explain about his

    health, or explain about some security operations,

    everything. I used to hear those when I was there at

    Zogoda with him."

    Let's pause. Mr George, you told us you were assigned to Ngolahun Vaama starting in 1994. You recall telling us that yesterday?

  • Yes, that's my statement.

  • You recall telling us at page 39717 of yesterday's transcript that you were in Ngolahun Vaama in 1994, 1995 and 1996? Do you recall telling us that?

  • Yes, I remember all those statements.

  • Do you recall also telling us that during that period of time while you were at Ngolahun Vaama, and this is also at the same page I just gave from yesterday's transcript, page 39717, you recall telling us that you would go to Zogoda from time to time from Ngolahun Vaama to make reports to those in Zogoda?

  • Lastly, do you remember telling us that at Ngolahun Vaama you had radio communication equipment and that Daf was your radio man?

  • Yes, that was my radio operator in Ngolahun Vaama.

  • How far from Zogoda was Ngolahun Vaama or is Ngolahun Vaama?

  • It's a long distance because it's a forest, you walk through the forest.

  • With the benefit of your radio communication equipment, were you able, when you were at Ngolahun Vaama, to monitor radio communications between those in Zogoda and elsewhere?

  • When Foday Sankoh used to talk to various commanders, especially Zino, that is CO Mohamed, we monitored the conversation.

  • And that being the case, it was the fact that there were radio communication equipment in Zogoda at that time, yes?

  • Yes, he had his radio communication in Zogoda and we also had ours at the front line where we were.

  • Do you know who were some of the radio communication staff or men working for Foday Sankoh in Zogoda?

  • Yes. I called Zedman. Zedman was the most senior man in Zogoda that I remember. Although he had some other junior men under him, but Zedman is the main - the major person that I remember who was his radio communicator at Zogoda.

  • Did you just mention the name of any other radio operators besides Zedman? Who else were radio operators working with Zedman in Zogoda, if you know?

  • There were people who were radio men there, but it's a long time now. I have forgotten the names of most of them except for those who were assigned with me at my assignment grounds. For those, I can remember their names.

  • Mr Witness, can I remind you of the arrange that you are to speak a little slower than you normally would speak.

  • Okay. Sorry, ma'am.

  • Now, you heard what I read from the evidence of Augustine Mallah. While you were at Ngolahun Vaama, and in light of your statement that you would monitor conversations Foday Sankoh had on the radio, did you ever hear any conversation between Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor?

  • To be very frank, no, I never monitored Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor talking over the radio.

  • Your radio man, Daf, tell you that he ever heard of a radio communication between Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh when you were in Ngolahun Vaama?

  • No. He only used to brief me on operations around our controlled territories.

  • Did you know of the person who we referred to yesterday as OG being a strike force commander in Zogoda?

  • They had a strike force at Zogoda, but I did not know him to be a commander of the strike force. But of course he was a member of the strike force.

  • So when he said in the transcript I have just read that because I myself had access to Foday Sankoh at any time, at any hour as a strike force commander, the reference there to himself being a strike force commander, is that true, to your knowledge, or is that false?

  • To my thinking, I believe he was a strike force member, but he was not a strike force commander.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Shall we go to page 20111 of the same transcript from 12 November 2008. Mr Mallah's evidence continues. A question was posed on that page at line 20 to Mr Mallah:

    "Q. Mr Witness, you have said that you remained at Zogoda

    until Zogoda was overrun. What happened when Zogoda was

    overrun?

    A. Well, after that, while Pa Sankoh had gone to the Ivory

    Coast and left CO Mohamed Zino to take over, the Kamajors

    and the Sierra Leone soldiers attacked the RUF there and

    Zogoda came under some suppression. We hadn't enough

    ammunition to fight the Kamajors and the Sierra Leone

    soldiers. So CO Mohamed contacted Foday Sankoh. Foday

    Sankoh ordered him that the armed group that was in Zogoda

    should be divided into two. CO Mohamed should take one

    group to Kailahun for us to defend the place where we had

    before we opened Zogoda. The other group should be taken

    by Mike Lamin to Pujehun District. So that was how it

    happened."

    Let's pause there. Mr George, were you still at Ngolahun Vaama when Zogoda was overrun?

  • Yes, I was in Ngolahun Vaama when Zogoda was overrun.

  • At that time when Zogoda was overrun, do you agree with the sentiments expressed by Augustine Mallah that the RUF did not have enough ammunition at that time?

  • Oh, yes, I agree with him. It's true. The Kamajors and the Sierra Leone Army overran us because of ammunition; that's true.

  • Were you affected in any way after Zogoda was overrun, that is, those of you who were at Ngolahun Vaama?

  • Yes, I was affected, because in fact they started hitting from my back. So I was in the front and I was affected, but I managed to get to Jui Koya close to Zogoda.

  • And when you got to Jui Koya, did you go somewhere else or did you remain there?

  • From Jui Koya, because of the population that was there and there was no ammunition, there was no understanding, everybody went their own way. It's true that Mike Lamin went to Pujehun, yes. But for me, I went to the Northern Jungle together with Manawai and few men because it was not easy on us. Some other people crossed into Kailahun for defensive purposes.

  • Those that crossed to Kailahun, was it the case that they were led by CO Mohamed?

  • That was the time we lost CO Mohamed. That was the time he got missing, and up to this moment we don't know his whereabouts. He never reached Kailahun. He was captured by enemies and he was killed. That was how Foday Sankoh gave the command structure to Sam Bockarie.

  • When you went to the Northern Jungle, you said together with Manawai and a few men, who was the commander of your group?

  • The commander we met there was Superman. Superman was on the ground. Isaac Mongor was there and some other officers.

  • Mr Anyah, it would be helpful to have some time frames for some of these movements as you go along.

  • Yes, Madam President:

  • Mr George, what year was Zogoda overrun by the enemy?

  • In what year did you, Manawai, and others go to the Northern Jungle?

  • It was in that same 1996, because Manawai and I were assigned together. We were assigned on the same operation.

  • Was it the early part of the year, the middle part, or the later part of the year?

  • It was the middle part. It was the middle part.

  • Where was Foday Sankoh at the time Zogoda was overrun?

  • At that time Foday Sankoh went on the peace talks in Abidjan.

  • So you are now at the Northern Jungle with Dennis Mingo, Isaac Mongor, Manawai and others. What happened to those of you at the Northern Jungle?

  • That was the same thing. We did not have ammunition, but there we were in a Jungle. We stayed in the jungle. We put up defensive where we were until we were called out in 1997 to join the AFRC.

  • Are you saying that from the middle part of 1996 to the time when you were called to join the AFRC in 1997 you were in the Northern Jungle?

  • We were still in the Northern Jungle, because where we were was far off from the Kailahun District.

  • Mr Anyah, there is a name that appears like "Manawa" in the LiveNote transcript and I think this is not what the witness is saying. I don't know if this individual is - already has their name spelt on the record, but I think you should address it. It's consistently "Manawa."

  • The name is "Manawai", which is M-A-N-A-W-A-I, and that name is in the record. It's in the transcript. There was, in respect of that name, issued an errata sheet by the former supervisor of the stenographers, Michael Laidlaw, and this errata was issued on 13 November 2008 correcting the spelling of the name from Manawa to Manawai, and a second errata was - well, that's the relevant errata that was issued. So the spelling that's on the record is M-A-N-A-W-A-I.

    Mr Munyard has corrected me. A single one is called an erratum, he tells me, and the plural is errata. Thank you, Mr Munyard:

  • Now, Mr George, the question had to do with the period of time you spent at the Northern Jungle. Was it the case that for almost a year, 1996 into 1997 when you were called to join the AFRC, you were at the Northern Jungle?

  • Well, because that was where I met Superman, Isaac Mongor and other soldiers, they were based there. They were all in the jungle whilst we were at Zogoda.

  • Yes, I appreciate your response. I am trying to understand the time frame. A few minutes ago you told us Zogoda was overrun around the middle part of 1996, and you said that was when you went to the Northern Jungle. Now I am trying to find out how long as in weeks, months, or years, you spent at the Northern Jungle. Is it the case that you were at the Northern Jungle until you were called to join the AFRC in 1997?

  • That was just what I said. I said, yes, I was there until the time AFRC called us to join them in 1997.

  • During that entire period of time, what was the state or status of the RUF ammunition supply?

  • In fact, during that time I am talking about we never used to go on offensive, because the ammunition we had we could not carry an offensive. We only had it on us in the jungle where we were based until, by the grace of God, the AFRC called us to join them.

  • When you were at the Northern Jungle, did you and the others there have radio communication equipment?

  • Yes. All the jungles had radio communications. We communicated with one another.

  • Why could you and the others not have radioed for ammunition to be sent to you from Kailahun or somewhere else in Sierra Leone?

  • Even the Kailahun you are talking about, they did not have ammunition there. They only had ammunition for defensive. Things were bad.

  • Were there any RUF members based in Buedu at the time?

  • Yes, Buedu was occupied by the RUF soldiers, Pendembu, Koindu.

  • Why couldn't you ask through the radio for ammunition to be sent to you at the Northern Jungle from Koidu - I think you said Koindu?

  • Why didn't you ask for those in Koindu to send you ammunition when you were at the Northern Jungle?

  • In the first place, from Koindu to where I am talking about is a long distance. And then they would not have allowed the little ammunition they had with them just to put up defensive for themselves to send it to us to the Northern Jungle. Who would have carried it, in fact?

  • Did they have enough ammunition in Koindu at the time, 1996 into 1997?

  • Well, I can't tell whether they had an ammo dump because I was not there.

  • That's fair enough. During the time period when you were in the Northern Jungle, was there any radio communication contact with anyone in Liberia?

  • No. We never had radio communication with anyone in Liberia. If we had radio communication with someone in Liberia - I mean, like, they're saying that we were getting support from Liberia - I think they would have helped us with support. They would have helped us with ammunition so that we would have been able to carry out our mission.

  • Are you saying you were not receiving support from Liberia during this time?

  • I am telling you we were not receiving any support from Liberia, nor Burkina Faso, and not even Libya.

  • What year and - well, what month in 1997 were you called to join the AFRC?

  • It was in 1997 when Isaac Mongor called for a formation. They told us that Foday Sankoh said we should join Johnny Paul Koroma, the AFRC, to join together and form the People's Army. The kind of way we were happy, the kind of joy that we had around us, I can't even remember the particular date, the particular time.

  • Who, when you refer to the AFRC, are you referring to?

  • I am talking about the Johnny Paul Koroma regime.

  • Now, this Court, Mr George, has found some events to be factual. That is, the Court has admitted for purposes of this trial that these events are facts that happened. One of those that the Court has said happened is that the Court said, and this is from CMS 227, from 26 April 2007, these are admitted facts and law that were entered into by the parties here present, number 17 reads: "The AFRC seized power from the elected government of the Republic of Sierra Leone via a coup d'etat on 25 May 1999."

    Mr George, this Court has found it to be a fact that on 25 May 1997, the AFRC, through a coup d'etat, took power in Sierra Leone. Having heard that, do you agree that it was sometime in May or after May 1997 that you were called to join the AFRC?

  • I don't want to lie to you. I said I do not remember the month. I cannot tell you whether it was in June, August or September, because of the suffering that we were going through. My brother, if you were there, if only someone went and told you, say, come out of this bush, you would be happy.

  • Was it in the early part of the year, the middle part or the late part of the year 1997 that you joined the AFRC?

  • I remember going to Bo in the dry season, during the dry season. It was not during rainy season.

  • And what months in Sierra Leone make up the dry season?

  • We have January, February, March, April, those are mostly dry season. Even in Liberia.

  • So it was one of those months in 1997 that you went to Bo?

  • Yes, I can remember, during the dry season.

  • Now, you were telling us about a formation. You said:

    "It was in 1997 when Isaac Mongor called a formation. They told us that Foday Sankoh said we should join Johnny Paul Koroma, the AFRC, to join together and form the People's Army."

    Did Isaac Mongor say where Foday Sankoh was when he asked the RUF to join Johnny Paul Koroma and the AFRC?

  • Even me sitting here, I knew where Foday Sankoh was.

  • Please tell us, where was he at the time?

  • Foday Sankoh was in Nigeria. He was arrested in Nigeria. That was where he was. And passed the instruction to Isaac Mongor junior.

  • Do you know how he gave that instruction? Was it by letter? Was it through a courier, a person? Do you know how Foday Sankoh gave that instruction while he was in Nigeria?

  • I never saw a strange person in the zoebush who brought letters, but I believe it was through communication.

  • So you don't know how?

  • I don't know how.

  • You mentioned going to Bo. How is it that you came to go to Bo after this information was received from Foday Sankoh?

  • After we receiving the information, they called a meeting and it was during that meeting that they briefed all the RUF soldiers who were based in the Northern Jungle. Isaac told us that we should join the AFRC government to form one group, one force, by the name of People's Army.

    From there, the following day, we packed up our things and we took a journey to get on the tarmac road to a town where we were to meet the receiving team that was coming to receive us. Isaac Mongor was the first man who left with 200 men and the rest, the first men just moved together with him to make sure whether that was true.

    So we went, we were in ambush. We were observing the activities. We saw the soldiers coming in vehicles, trucks. They put on their communication set. They contacted Isaac Mongor to ask about his location and he told them he was close to them. But then they said, "Come up. It is time for us to join together." And he said, "You said Johnny Paul Koroma and Foday Sankoh have already discussed for us to join and form one army." And he said, "Praise God, that should be the People's Army." And he said we should not be afraid, "We are not here to harm you guys, so you can tell your men to come up, to come out of the bush." Isaac walked with few men on the tarmac road and they met - they met the soldiers in the trucks and the trucks were parked by the tarmac road. And that was how we were briefed to join the line.

    When we joined them, they called for the other people to come from out of the bush and Superman came up with the other troops. Morris Kallon came out. And the groups were divided and some groups were going to Freetown and some were going to Bo and that was how I found myself in Bo.

  • Thank you, Mr George. There are a few clarifications regarding the answer you just gave I wish to pursue. Let's consider some of what you've said. You said that after you and the others had a meeting in the Northern Jungle, on the following day you parked your things and you undertook a journey and you said you saw some soldiers coming in vehicles and trucks and this happened on some kind of tarmac road where Isaac Mongor met those soldiers. The soldiers who were coming in vehicles and trucks, to which group did they belong?

  • They were from the Sierra Leone Army. They were the AFRC boys. They came in joy to us. And we too were very happy because of the situation we found ourselves in at that particular time.

  • You also said after Isaac Mongor and them spoke, that they called for the other people to come from out of the bush and Superman came with the other troops and Morris Kallon also came. These other people that were called from the bush, were they RUF or AFRC?

  • Those were the remaining RUF men, because not all the troops came together. Because in guerilla tactics your enemy cannot just call on you because of - because you have had interviews with him and then you just tote all your loads and go. So we left some men in our zoebush. Isaac Mongor initially came with about 200 men.

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to slow down.

  • Mr George, we were following your answer, then you sped up a little bit too much for the interpreter to follow. You were saying that the enemy cannot just call on you and, because you have interviews with him, then you tote all your loads and go. And then you said, "So we left some men in the zoebush." And then you went on to say Isaac Mongor initially came with about two something. Is this the 200 men you referred to before in your evidence?

  • Yes, I said 200 men.

  • Yes. Carry on from there. Initially Isaac Mongor came with the 200 men, and then what else did you want to tell us?

  • After Isaac Mongor had come with the 200 men - because the question was whether they were AFRC or RUF soldiers. After Isaac Mongor had brought the 200 men and we wanted to ensure that, yes, it's true, and we needed to join these guys to form one army because by then Morris Kallon, Superman, they too brought the other groups from the bush to join us on the tarmac road.

  • Very well. Mr George, just watch the pace again. Slow down as you go along. We are grateful for the response. Now, you said the groups were divided and some groups were going to Freetown and some were going to Bo and you went with the group going to Bo, yes?

  • Who was the commander of the group going to Bo?

  • The commander in charge was Morris Kallon.

  • Was it only RUF members that were under his command at this time as you went to Bo?

  • Only RUF members. That was the first time for us to join the AFRC. It was only RUF members that were going to Bo and there were soldiers already assigned in Bo that we were supposed to go and mix with.

  • The soldiers in Bo you are referring to, are those AFRC soldiers?

  • The group that went towards Freetown, who was the commander of that group?

  • Isaac Mongor was the commander.

  • Did he have only RUF members under his command in that group as they went to Freetown?

  • They were all RUF soldiers with him.

  • Do you know whether Mongor and the others eventually reached Freetown?

  • Yes, they arrived in Freetown, because we had access to the communication that the men had. So they reached Freetown safely. There was no problem.

  • Was Isaac Mongor the most senior RUF commander in Freetown when the AFRC was there?

  • Isaac Mongor, his going to Freetown was through an escort. But the most senior man was Issa Sesay, and he was deputised by Dennis Mingo.

  • Where was Mike Lamin at this time?

  • Mike Lamin was in Freetown. He went to Liberia during the retreat in '96 and later he found himself back. When they called upon the RUF I saw him. I saw him at Mile 91 in 1997. That was where I met him since the time we retreated in Zogoda.

  • You said Mike Lamin was in Freetown. The record then has you as saying he went to Liberia during the retreat in '96 and later he found himself back when they called upon the RUF. Mr George, help me clarify this: When the record says Mike Lamin went to Liberia during the retreat, what retreat is that?

  • I am talking about the '96 retreat.

  • Was there a retreat into Liberia in 1996, the time or the year Zogoda was overrun?

  • I am talking about the time Zogoda was overrun. That was the time he retreated, and he crossed the border and went into Liberia.

  • Did Mike Lamin go alone when he retreated, or did he retreat with other RUF members?

  • He went with a large group. In fact, Monica Pearson was among. By then she was pregnant. So he went with a large group.

  • Do you know the approximate number of RUF that retreated into Liberia?

  • I can't tell the total. There were civilians, children, men, and RUF soldiers. There were many.

  • Do you know for how long they stayed in Liberia, those that retreated into Liberia?

  • Well, I can't tell whether they spent two months or three months, but I only saw Mike Lamin back in Sierra Leone. I saw Monica back in Sierra Leone in 1997. I saw Monica in Kenema where Sam Bockarie was based. Yes, I can remember that.

  • This retreat into Liberia, do you know what parts of Liberia they retreated to, what county or town?

  • Let me make this very easy. According to them, after the retreat they first got into Grand Cape Mount County where ULIMO was controlling. And when I am talking about ULIMO, I am talking about Alhaji Kromah's ULIMO. They were controlling the border all the way to Lofa, Bopolu, yes.

  • You said you were referring to Alhaji Kromah as ULIMO. Was there another ULIMO besides Alhaji Kromah's ULIMO?

  • Yes, we learnt that they had two ULIMO groups. They had ULIMO-J and ULIMO-K.

  • You also said that they were controlling the border all the way to Lofa, Bopolu --

  • What counties were they controlling in Liberia at that time?

  • Grand Cape Mount County and part of Lofa County.

  • And what year was this?

  • It was in the same 1997 that I am talking about. '96 to '97.

  • You said you saw Monica Pearson in Kenema where Sam Bockarie was based. Did you find out how it is that they came back from Liberia into Sierra Leone?

  • In fact, when they crossed, according to them, the international community told Alhaji Kromah to be careful with those men who crossed - the RUF who crossed. He said they should not be harassed, and they were provided - the ECOMOG troops in Bopolu, those who were based there, they were encamped there. The ICRC was issuing supplies of food, and from there a note was sent to them by Sam Bockarie that they should go back to Sierra Leone to join - to rejoin the movement because the AFRC and the RUF are now one force. That was what I heard from most of them who came back.

  • The group ICRC that you referred to that was issuing supplies and food to Monica Pearson and others, was this an international group, to your knowledge?

  • Yes, it was an international group.

  • Did Monica Pearson tell you whether they received any assistance from the Liberian government officials when they found themselves in the territory of Alhaji Kromah in Liberia?

  • No, no. They did not tell me anything about that. They only told me that they were based at Bopolu and ECOMOG was deployed there, they were guarding them in case of any harassment, and the ICRC was supplying them with rations. That's what I was told.

  • Do you know whether those who retreated to Liberia and returned to Sierra Leone returned with any arms or ammunition from Liberia as they returned into Sierra Leone?

  • I never saw even a pistol with all of them who crossed back into Sierra Leone.

  • But did they tell you whether they brought anything like arms or ammunition from Liberia?

  • Now, you find yourself in Bo. You have told us that Sam Bockarie, Monica Pearson are in Kenema. You have told us that Isaac Mongor, Issa Sesay, Dennis Mingo and others were in Freetown. In Bo, was Morris Kallon your commander?

  • Yes, Morris Kallon was my commander. He was the senior man on the ground for the RUF soldiers.

  • Who else was a senior RUF member on the ground in Bo when you were there being commanded by Morris Kallon?

  • I was there as the second senior man to Morris Kallon because I was the second vanguard to him. Next to me was Bai Bureh - the Short Bai Bureh.

  • How long did you say in Bo?

  • I said in Bo until the intervention, when we were pushed out of Bo.

  • Who pushed you out of Bo?

  • Both the ECOMOG and Kamajors.

  • When you say "intervention", does that word have a particular meaning or significance in the context of Sierra Leone during this time period?

  • Yes. For me, it's meaningful because it was the ECOMOG - I think it was an arrangement between Kabbah and the ECOMOG to come and push us out of the various places that we were in combat. So it was again another wonderful day for the junta.

  • You said, "It was again another wonderful day for the junta." The junta you are referring to there is who or what?

  • The junta is the combined force. The combined force, the AFRC/RUF soldiers. They comprised the junta, who were called the People's Army. That is the combined force I am referring to.

  • Very well. You mentioned previously that you met Mike Lamin at Mile 91. Was that during the time period when you were pushed out of Bo?

  • Yes, it was the time they pushed us out of Bo when they came from Freetown and they met us at Mile 91.

  • Those who came from Freetown included whom?

  • I saw Mike Lamin, I saw Base Marine - Jonathan Parker. That is Base Marine. I saw Kolo Moriba and other soldiers, but those are the senior officers that I remember.

  • Was Issa Sesay among those who came from Freetown to Mile 91?

  • Sorry, yes. Issa Sesay was amongst them, yes.

  • How about Isaac Mongor?

  • No, no. I did not set eyes on Isaac Mongor.

  • Why had they left Freetown to Mile 91?

  • Because as the incident was going on, whilst we were being attacked by the men, we sent a report about things we were faced with on the ground. And when we retreated to Mile 91, they came and met us so that we could reorganise ourselves to go back on the offensive in Bo. That was the purpose he came for.

  • Do you know whether those who were in Freetown who came to Mile 91 could have stayed in Freetown if they wanted to; that is, were they in control in Freetown before they left to join near Mile 91?

  • Yes. Because we were the first people they started hitting before they were hit.

  • Who was hit, to use your phrase, after you and your group were attacked by the Kamajors and ECOMOG?

  • Who was hit during the attack, you mean?

  • Did the People's Army, this combined force of AFRC and RUF, maintain control of Freetown while you were at Mile 91? Did they continue to have control of Freetown at that time?

  • They had control over Freetown, but there was rumour going on that ECOMOG had plans to attack them in Freetown.

  • Did ECOMOG in fact attack them in Freetown?

  • Yes. ECOMOG pushed them out of the city.

  • When ECOMOG pushed them out of the city, where did they go to?

  • All of us met in Makeni.

  • And from Makeni where did you go?

  • We were again heading to Kono with Johnny Paul Koroma. Every one of us, we were now going to Kono. That was going to be the last point. Maybe after that we decided to go into the bush again.

  • You have mentioned Johnny Paul Koroma. You have mentioned Makeni. Was Issa Sesay in Makeni at the time?

  • All the RUF staff were in Makeni. The only person who was not in Makeni was Sam Bockarie. He had already made his way to Kailahun with the group that was in Kenema. They retreated to Kailahun.

  • Thank you, Mr George. From Makeni you said we were now going to Kono. Did you in fact go to Kono?

  • Surely that was our target, because it was the only big town that we knew that if we got rid of there, we will be able to get connection with the men from - in Kailahun. So that was the only big town that was left to us.

  • When you got to Kono Town, who was in command of these troops who had retreated from Makeni to Kono?

  • Um, I cannot tell whether there was actually a special commander, but everybody fought hard to get to Kono because that was now a joint force. From Bo, Freetown, there were a lot of commanders, SLA generals, colonels, so we had a lot of officers. So our target was to get to Kono, and that was the most important thing for us. That was our main focus.

  • What month and what year did you arrive in Kono with the troops who had retreated from Makeni?

  • We arrived in Kono in 1997.

  • The same year that you formed the People's Army?

  • No, let me think. Let me think. Because, you see, as we are giving this information here, it's not something we kept records of. We don't have documents to the effect. It's a long time ago, so it's difficult. We have to think before we give the actual story.

    It was in 1998 because I remember when we talk about the Black December when they got their operation, that intervention was in December, if I am not mistaken.

  • Very well. So you are in Kono in 1998. You are a joint group, AFRC and RUF. Sam Bockarie you say is in Kailahun Town having gone there with the group that came from Kenema. Mr George, what was your rank and assignment when you were in Kono in 1998?

  • First I told you that when I was in Ngolahun Vaama in 1994 I was a lieutenant. In '96, when we were called upon, I was promoted to a captain and I maintained that position as captain as a front line officer fighting at the front until 19 - how do we call it? Until 1998, '99. 2000, I was promoted to a colonel. I was still maintaining my captain rank in Kono.

  • So is it the case that from 1996 when you were made a captain until your promotion to colonel in 2000 you remained at the same rank of captain?

  • From '94 I was a lieutenant. When they called us out, when the AFRC called us, we joined them, I was promoted to a captain and I maintained that position as captain from '97, '98, '99, 2000, before I had another rank, that was colonel.

  • Thank you, Mr George. In Kono, while a captain in 1998, did you have a particular assignment?

  • Yes, I had an assignment.

  • And what was your assignment after your retreat from Makeni to Kono?

  • Bai Bureh and I were assigned at Bumpe.

  • The Bai Bureh you just referred to, is it the Short Bai Bureh or another Bai Bureh?

  • That is the Short Bai Bureh. The one I was assigned with to Morris Kallon, that is the one I am talking about.

  • How far from Kono Town is Bumpe?

  • If I am not mistaken, from Bumpe to Kono it could be about seven or ten minutes' drive. Excuse me, and the Bumpe I am talking about is the road that leads to Tongo, that was my assignment, to ensure that from Njaiama Nimikoro, Tongo, those areas should be my assignment from Bumpe.

  • Thank you, Mr George. The others who came with you from Makeni to Kono, the RUF and AFRC, did they remain in Kono when you went to Bumpe? I am speaking of Kono Town.

  • We remained in Kono and other people were on assignment and at that time Johnny Paul was with us and we were finding ways how to get to Kailahun. And it was not again another easy task with the encounters with the Kamajors. There was a place called Gandorhun we had Bandajuma, yes. That was - those were serious targets for us. So we had to be faced with that target before Johnny Paul Koroma could be taken to Kailahun. So some other people were on the target there whilst engaging the enemies and I was assigned at Bumpe. That is Bai Bureh and I.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Remember to go slowly as you give your evidence. You have told us that, "Johnny Paul Koroma was with us and we were finding ways to get to Kailahun." Did he, Johnny Paul Koroma, go to Kailahun?

  • Yes, Johnny Paul Koroma went to Kailahun. We tried by all possible means for him to get to Kailahun.

  • And was Sam Bockarie in Kailahun when Johnny Paul Koroma went to Kailahun?

  • Yes, Sam Bockarie was based in Kailahun.

  • Between the two of them, Johnny Paul Koroma and Sam Bockarie, who was above whom in the command structure at the time?

  • You see, let me be very frank with you, I won't mind because I was fighting for the RUF or what have you. There was a power greed, that was where the misunderstanding came from. You know, we have to say the truth. The way Johnny Paul Koroma called us to join them whilst we were suffering, when we were thrown back into the bush and they said they were all cooperating together, there was a power greed. Mosquito never wanted to take command from Johnny Paul Koroma and Johnny Paul Koroma never wanted to take instructions from Mosquito. So that was a problem between the RUF and the AFRC.

  • Mr Anyah, I understood the interpretation to be power greed as in greedy but I see it's not recorded that way.

  • Yes, Justice Doherty, it is recorded as power grade:

  • Mr George, you've heard the question from Justice Doherty. What did you say, is it power greed?

  • What I'm talking about is they were fighting for power, who was to become the leader. That's what I mean, power greed.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Who eventually became the leader after this power struggle?

  • We were finally taking instructions from Sam Bockarie.

  • What happened to Johnny Paul Koroma?

  • Johnny Paul Koroma was set aside.

  • When you were in Bumpe where was Issa Sesay?

  • Everyone who was in Kono was with Dennis Mingo and other senior officers, everyone who was based in Kono at the time ECOMOG had not flushed us out of Kono.

  • When Issa Sesay was there with Dennis Mingo was there any diamond mining activity taking place in Kono?

  • No, at that time, no, there was no diamond mining going on in Kono. I mean '98 there was no diamond mining going on in Kono.

  • Were the RUF able to maintain Kono for the remaining part of 1998?

  • No, they pushed us out again and we went into the bush.

  • Who pushed you out from Kono?

  • ECOMOG and the Kamajors.

  • Do you know what month in 1998 the RUF was pushed out of Kono?

  • When they were pushed out of Kono you said they went into the bush. The bush that they went into, what was the nearest big town close to this bush?

  • We went into the bush. I mean not ECOMOG. We went into the bush, the surrounding villages, and we created a jungle around the Kono township. That's what I mean.

  • Thank you, Mr George. We are following you. You created a jungle around the Kono township. Were you yourself in that jungle in 1998 after ECOMOG and the Kamajors pushed the RUF out of Kono?

  • Yes, I was in Kono. I was in the jungle around Kono.

  • Were any steps or efforts made by the RUF to fight their way out of the jungle and to retake Kono?

  • That plan came later, but at the time we were in the jungle we forgot about them. So an enemy cannot just hit you and you respond. So we gave them time to forget and then overrun them. That was how we used to fight.

  • How much time did you spend in the jungle before you began to take steps to retake Kono?

  • We were in the jungle mid-August, almost - we re-attacked in December 1998. In December, yes. Because I can remember we spent Christmas, '98 Christmas, in Kono after we had captured Kono.

  • Very well. Before you re-attacked, did you make any plans regarding how to go about this attack? Did you have meetings? Did you exchange information? What plans, if any, did you make before attacking Kono?

  • In the first place, the first plan was how to set up a defensive around Kono. That was the first plan. Before even thinking about re-attacking Kono, that was the first plan we had; how to set up a defensive and protect the civilians that we had brought out of the town. That was the first plan we had.

  • How was this plan generated? How was it put together? Which people in the RUF put it together and how did you know about it?

  • I was senior man in the RUF. It's not because I am small in stature. All important agreements or arrangements I always took part in. There were other officers like Kailondo, Boston Flomo, Superman, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, Leather Boot, Akim. You know, we had some other people who joined us. So it was a joint forum. We had to share ideas as to how to tackle situations.

  • Mr Anyah, just so that I am following this evidence I would like to ask the witness a question.

    Mr Witness, you just said you were a senior man in the RUF, but in 1998 up to 2000 you were just a captain, weren't you?

  • Yes, I was a captain, but I was a vanguard.

  • When you say you were a vanguard, were those in the RUF who were vanguards held to a certain type of status?

  • All vanguards were senior officers. Regardless of your rank, you were a senior officer. Any important meeting would involve you. Whether you were small or not, you would be contacted.

  • You said a few minutes ago that it was a joint forum, you had to share ideas as to how to tackle the situations. This forum, are you referring to a meeting or meetings, Mr George?

  • Meeting. How to meet and arrange.

  • I want to talk about this meeting or meetings you are talking about. You have told us you were in the Kono jungle. You told us that there was a re-attack on Kono in December 1998. You are now telling us that there were meetings where you shared ideas. Tell us about these meetings. When was the first one? Where did you have it?

  • We have a town called Jagbwema Fiama in Kono. Before you get to Jagbwema Fiama there is a town there but I can't remember the name, but the name we called it was Superman Ground. That was where we had the meeting.

  • Now, Mr George, you said you had a meeting at Superman Ground. Who was present for this meeting at Superman Ground?

  • Issa was at that meeting, Dennis Mingo, Morris Kallon, myself, Boston Flomo with Big Daddy. We were many. We were many at that meeting. All the commanders, even down to the fighters, they shared in that meeting.

  • Thank you, Mr George. This place Superman Ground, was it in the Kono bush, or was it in another part of Kono District? Sorry, let me rephrase that. The Kono Jungle where you were at that you referred to previously, is that where the Superman Ground is? Or is it in another part of the Kono District?

  • It's the same Kono within the Kono Township. That was where we had the Superman Ground going towards Jagbwema Fiama. That Jagbwema Fiama is a town leading to the Guinea border.

  • What was discussed at this meeting in relation to attacking Kono?

  • The meeting was held, and it was meant to discuss how to capture Kono, and I told you that the first plan was to how to set up a defensive; secondly, how best we can maintain our civilians. That was the first meeting. And the second meeting that was in '98 was to capture Kono. That too was held at the same Superman Ground. That was a large meeting that we held before capturing Kono.

  • Besides those two meetings - incidentally, was Sam Bockarie in attendance at either of those two meetings?

  • Sam Bockarie was the boss. He was based in Buedu, but whatever was going on, they would furnish him with information. Issa furnished him and --

  • Your Honour, can he repeat the second name of the person who furnished him?

  • Mr Witness, you spoke of Issa furnishing him. What was the second person? Who was the second person that you mentioned apart from Issa?

  • Perhaps I can inquire:

  • Mr George, when you say "Issa furnished him", what do you mean? Issa was furnishing what to whom?

  • Issa Sesay was furnishing Sam Bockarie about all plans and information that we wanted to implement.

  • When you say "furnishing", do you mean he was telling him about it?

  • Yes, he was telling him about how we planned to attack or how we were planning to do so and so. That's what I mean.

  • During this time when these meetings were taking place, did you receive any instructions from Sam Bockarie regarding re-taking Kono?

  • Yes. That instruction was there, because that was the only target we had. That was our major plan, in fact. Whether you had instruction or not, those of us who were on the ground, sometimes we do make moves to take chances.

  • Was there ever a meeting held near the Dawa crossing point regarding the re-take of Kono?

  • But you just told us there were meetings at Superman Ground, one and two. Is this a third meeting regarding Kono at the Dawa crossing point?

  • The meeting at Dawa crossing point was headed by Sam Bockarie. That was the first meeting he ever called. The meetings which were held in the Kono Jungle was among we, the commanders who were in the Kono Jungle, and it was meant to discuss how to maintain the ground.

  • Well, let's talk about this meeting Sam Bockarie held. You said it was the first meeting he ever called. Was it before the two meetings at Superman Ground, or was it after those two meetings?

  • After all our two meetings at Superman Grounds, that was the time that he called the meeting - the general meeting. The general meeting was held in Kailahun - I mean, in Buedu at Waterworks.

  • Now, this is the third meeting, you said, held in Kailahun. That is Kailahun District, yes?

  • You referred to a place called Waterworks. Is that a place that is different from the Dawa crossing point, or are they one and the same area?

  • Dawa crossing point is far off, but it's the same road from Buedu Town to Waterworks, it's just like from here and outside. But Dawa crossing point is far away.

  • We have now talked about three meetings, maybe four, and I want to clarify. You have mentioned two meetings amongst commanders at Superman Ground; you have mentioned a general meeting called by Sam Bockarie in Buedu, Kailahun District, in the vicinity of a place called Waterworks. Was there a fourth meeting held at the Dawa crossing point in relation to the re-taking of Kono?

  • The fourth meeting we had was in Kono for the recapture of Kono.

  • Well, let's talk about the Waterworks meeting. Sam Bockarie called this meeting. Did you go for that meeting?

  • I went there. I was not the only person who went. We were many who went.

  • Who were some of the senior RUF commanders present at that meeting?

  • John Vincent, some AFRC soldiers like Leather Boot, Akim, Superman, Issa Sesay. A lot of commanders went. Because all the commanders wouldn't leave their front line, some stayed behind to maintain the situation.

  • What happened at the meeting?

  • Sam Bockarie called this meeting. We all assembled there. We passed the night, and the following morning we went to Waterworks on the road leading to Dawa crossing point. The purpose of this meeting was how to re-attack Kono.

  • Why did you and the others in the RUF want to re-attack Kono? Why?

  • We wanted to be based in the town, and we were based there before and we were dislodged, so we want to recapture there. It wasn't just Kono. We wanted to advance as far as Makeni and Lunsar.

  • Very well. What was the significance of Kono? You wanted to be based there, but was Kono of some particular significance or importance?

  • Kono, as people know, is a mining area. When you talk about capturing Kono, people would only think that you want to mine diamond. But Kono was a target ahead of us. We cannot jump over Kono and go to Makeni. We had to start from Kono to establish a base before we spread out. That was the more reason why we wanted to capture Kono first.

  • You said you also wanted to advance as far as Makeni and Lunsar. What was the purpose of advancing to both of those places?

  • We wanted to gain grounds. We controlled the ground before and we were pushed out, so we needed to regain it from the enemy. That was what we were fighting for.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Was an attack on Freetown discussed at this Waterworks meeting?

  • Where were you to get the arms or ammunition - well, arms and ammunition - to re-take Kono? Was that discussed at this meeting?

  • I said it was one of the most important things for the meeting. What we were to do to capture Kono, where would we get the arms and ammunition from to capture Kono? Because we had a lot of arms. We had captured from it from the enemy, but we needed ammunition. That was the most important part of the meeting.

  • And what was said in relation to ammunition that was to be used to re-take Kono during the meeting?

  • During the meeting I met a guy - we met a guy. It was not me alone, because it was a meeting called by Mosquito. He was called Abu Keita, a former general for ULIMO or Alhaji Kromah's general. We met him at that meeting.

  • Meeting this fellow Abu Keita at that meeting at the Waterworks, had you met him before whilst serving with the RUF from 1991?

  • That was my first time of meeting him, because he never fought for my unit, so I did not know him. I was not used to him. It was at that meeting that I got to know him and other officers that he took along with him.

  • What is the nationality of this person Abu Keita?

  • Abu Keita is a Mandingo man from Liberia.

  • You said he was a former general for ULIMO, that is, Alhaji Kromah's ULIMO. When you met him at the Waterworks in 1998, do you know if he was attached or connected with any group, whether in Liberia or Sierra Leone?

  • When we met him at that meeting, he was introduced to us by Sam Bockarie.

  • What did Bockarie say about the person he was introducing, Abu Keita?

  • Sam Bockarie told us that the operation to recapture Kono, that the ammunition for that was got from Abu Keita.

  • Did he say what kind of ammunition this was?

  • Yes. He told us how many boxes Abu Keita had brought to him. How many boxes of RPG. He told us everything.

  • Well, please tell us. What amount of ammunition and types of ammunition did Abu Keita bring to Sam Bockarie?

  • Abu Keita brought 20 boxes of AK in Buedu.

  • 20 boxes of AK. Is this a weapon? Is this ammunition? 20 boxes of AK what?

  • 20 boxes of AK rounds, AK bullets, let's put it that way.

  • Besides the 20 boxes of AK bullets, was there any other form of ammunition brought by Abu Keita to Sam Bockarie in Buedu?

  • Yes. He also brought five boxes of RPG rockets.

  • Was that all he brought?

  • Yes. That's what I know about.

  • The 20 boxes of AK rounds and five boxes of RPG rockets, were those a significant or large amount of ammunition at that time for the RUF?

  • The place that we were at that time, the situation in which we were, to have gotten that 20 boxes of AK, it was plenty for us. Those 20 boxes can give us how many rounds of AKs? Yes, because we trusted ourselves.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Did you find out from where Abu Keita got these ammunitions?

  • I told you initially that Abu Keita was a general for ULIMO. There was no need for me to ask him. He controlled - he was in control of men. He controlled - he was in control of an area.

  • My question is not whether you had a need to ask him. Did you hear from somebody, such as Sam Bockarie or any other person there, where this man got these ammunitions from?

  • This ammunition he had gotten from Liberia where he was commanding at the Lofa bridge. He was the commander at the Lofa bridge according to Sam Bockarie. When the election took place in Liberia in 1997, ULIMO lost that election, and they were keeping this ammunition to re-attack.

  • Are you saying that the ammunition was ULIMO ammunition?

  • Exactly so. That particular ammunition that he carried was from ULIMO. He was a commander for ULIMO and he took that ammunition along after the elections in Liberia in 1997, after they had lost the election. And there was something called research and this research was conducted by ECOMOG to look out for arms and ammunition at the various points. So he was afraid and he took the ammunition and brought it to us for sale.

  • Did you yourself ever see this ammunition that you are referring to brought by Abu Keita?

  • I saw the ammunition. It was the ammunition that we used to recapture Kono.

  • Where did you see it? Was it at the Waterworks meeting or somewhere else?

  • I saw the ammunition in Sam Bockarie's house. From there, when they took it to us again in the Kono Jungle, I saw it there again. We opened it. We used it. I mean, I know about it.

  • Sam Bockarie's house, was this in Buedu?

  • Yes, in Buedu, Dawa Road. That was where he stayed.

  • At this meeting at the Waterworks where you first saw Abu Keita, were there any other new faces that you were seeing for the first time at the meeting?

  • Yes. I saw different faces. I can remember the two commanders, the two senior officers who came with Abu Keita. I can remember them. I know their names.

  • And who are those people? What are their names?

  • One of them is called Jungle. Give me some time. Let me call the other guy's name. The other one's name was Leo. Colonel Leo and Colonel Jungle. They are all from the Mandingo ethnic group.

  • Did you know either of them before that day to have been members of the RUF?

  • Since I was fighting with the RUF that was my first time of seeing them in the RUF territory.

  • During the meeting at the Waterworks, did Sam Bockarie say anything about receiving instructions from Charles Taylor to attack Kono?

  • Sam Bockarie never told us anything in relation to Charles Taylor. Charles Taylor had his own problem to solve. He never told us anything about Charles Taylor giving us ammunition or sending us ammunition to recapture, no.

  • What do you mean by Charles Taylor had his own problems? What problems are you referring to?

  • The man was in control of his country --

  • Your Honour, can he kindly take his answer again slowly.

  • Mr George, you must slow down. We were following you and we lost you at some point because of how fast you were going.

  • Can you repeat your entire answer? Can you explain the kind of problems you are referring to that Charles Taylor had, please?

  • What I mean about Charles Taylor having his own problem, he was elected in Liberia in 1997. He was not fighting. There was no war going on in 1997. How could he have given us instruction? How could he have given us ammunition? That's what I'm saying.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Now, you saw the ammunition that Abu Keita brought in Buedu. You saw it again when you were in the jungle. You told us you took part in the attack on Kono. Can you tell us how this attack unfolded, starting with who was the commander for the attack?

  • When we talk about Kono, Kono is not a village to say that you would only have one commander. We had various front line commanders, but we had one command structure.

  • Who were some of the front line commanders for this attack on Kono?

  • Boston Flomo, alias Rambo.

  • Was he the only one or were there others, I am speaking of commanders?

  • I want to give you time so that I can call out the names. I don't want to start talking and you tell me I'm talking fast. Kailondo, alias Vanicious Vandi, but Kailondo was his nickname. Tikeke.

  • Sorry, that was alias who? Kailondo was alias who?

  • Vanicious Varney, alias Kailondo. That's his full name. But the name that he was using in Sierra Leone as a fighter is Kailondo. That was his fighting name.

  • Mr George, did you say Vanicious or did you say Valicious? What did you say?

  • Vanicious K Varney.

  • I believe that's on the record already, Vanicious Varney. Mr George, you mentioned some names, Boston Flomo, Vanicious Varney, Tikeke. This T, is that the first initial of this person's name?

  • Yes. They called him Tikeke. I think it should be a Mende name.

  • Madam President, I am not sure how to spell it. I would spell it K-E-K-E, but maybe the interpreters can assist us?

  • Mr Interpreter, do you have a different spelling of the name Keke?

  • Well, to my mind it should be a single name Tikeke, T-I-K-E-K-E. It's not an initial T and Keke. It's a Mende name for my father, or their father.

  • Mr George, Boston Flomo, Vanicious Varney, also know as Kailondo, and Tikeke. Who else were some of the front line commanders for the attack on Kono in December 1998?

  • We had Akim. Superman, I mean Dennis Mingo.

  • Morris Kallon. Issa Sesay. And the soldiers they were in control of.

  • Amongst those various front line commanders who was the overall person in the command structure that was at the top?

  • The senior officer among them was Issa Sesay.

  • You told us you took part in this attack on Kono. Tell us what happened, as in how long the attack took and who you were fighting.

  • I was fighting against ECOMOG and the Kamajors who were based in Kono.

  • Were you successful in your attack on Kono?

  • Oh, yes. We overran them.

  • How long did it take you to overrun them?

  • We fought from the evening hours to the following morning around 8 o'clock before we could capture Kono.

  • When you captured Kono, how long were you based in Kono?

  • I based there in 2002 after the election. We were still controlling the ground until disarmament, election, when the government took over the ground.

  • So you're telling us from December 1998 when the RUF captured Kono, the RUF continued to maintain Kono until disarmament in the year 2002. Is that what you're telling us, Mr George?

  • Let's consider that period of time now, 1998, after Kono has been recaptured, through 2002, the disarmament. Immediately following the recapturing of Kono, what was your assignment?

  • After capturing Kono - Kono was not the only ground that we targeted. We had places like Tongo, Makeni, Lunsar. If it was possible for us to have captured Freetown, we would have captured Freetown.

  • Is it the case then that some RUF remained in Kono after it was recaptured while others went to these other places, Makeni, Lunsar and Tongo?

  • Kono - the RUF soldiers maintained Kono. After Kailahun, Kono was a base for RUF soldiers. Whilst others were taking the route to Tongo, other men were advancing to Makeni. That was how we planned it.

  • Did you stay it in Kono, or did you join some of those others who were going to either Tongo or Makeni?

  • Oh, yes I found my way to Tongo with Akim.

  • And what was your assignment at that time with Akim?

  • My assignment with Akim was as an adviser. Excuse me, Base Marine was also with us. Let me not leave his name out.

  • Very well. You were with Akim, you were with Base Marine, you were serving as an adviser to Akim. Did --

  • And also Vanicious Varney.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Did all of you make your way to Tongo? Did you get to Tongo?

  • We got to Tongo. We attacked Tongo and we captured Tongo and we based there.

  • What year were you based in Tongo?

  • I told you earlier that we spent Christmas in - we spent December Christmas in Kono. In '99 we were in Tongo.

  • Between the time when you were in Kono in December 1998 through into 1999 when you were in Tongo, did you hear about anything happening in Freetown?

  • Yes, I heard about it, but I was not there.

  • What did you hear in relation to Freetown?

  • I heard about attacking Freetown from the SLAs, SAJ Musa and his group. But unfortunately, SAJ Musa died on the highway and another person took over as a commander and they entered Freetown. But I was not there, so I can't say much about that.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Just remember to take your time. Slow down as you speak so we can keep up with the interpretation. Your statements a few minutes ago was that you heard about attacking Freetown from the SLAs, SAJ Musa and his group. Who was SAJ Musa?

  • SAJ Musa was a senior officer for the SLA.

  • [Microphone not activated]?

  • They are the national army for Sierra Leone.

  • I have heard this - I have seen this notation "Microphone not activated" --

  • I don't know what is going on, Madam Court Officer, I think it is the switching on and off between the interpreters. Someone is not switching on, you know, in time, or switching off in time, as a result of which part of the record goes missing. I hope you can address this.

  • Your Honour, we will address this during the break.

  • Mr George, the question I had asked you - and it might seem as a silly question, but I will just ask it again: Who are the SLAs? And you said they were the national army for Sierra Leone. Now, you said you don't know much about this attack on Freetown by SAJ Musa, but you also said unfortunately SAJ Musa died on the highway, and another person took over as commander and they entered Freetown. Do you know who took over as commander when SAJ Musa died?

  • Not really. I can't tell lies to you. I don't want to be saying they said, they said, they said. I wouldn't be giving the right information. I want to say what I know and what I saw.

  • That's fair enough. We certainly want you to give the Court the right information. But one other question about this whole episode. You were in the RUF at the time. You have told us about the meeting at the Waterworks where there was discussion about re-taking Kono, advancing to Makeni, advancing as far as Lunsar. Did you ever hear of the RUF participating in this attack on Freetown between December 1998 into January 1999?

  • No, RUF never took part. Because as I told you about the power greed, there was a group of SLAs that were based in a separate area from the RUF. They found themselves into Freetown while RUF was still in Kono and Makeni. That's what I know about. RUF never took part in that operation. If RUF took part in that operation, really, that's not to my knowledge.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Let's go back to you in Tongo with Akim, Base Marine, Vanicious Varney. What were you, them, and others belonging to the RUF doing in Tongo at the time?

  • Please repeat your question.

  • When you captured Tongo with Akim, Base Marine, Vanicious Varney, was there any sort of mining taking place in Tongo at the time?

  • No, no, there was no mining activity going on.

  • How long did you stay in Tongo for?

  • We stayed in Tongo till after the elections, yes. In Kono - after the elections, the government took over Kono, took over all the country, and everybody started normal life.

  • Yes, my question was: How long did you stay in Tongo for? and you said you said in Tongo until after elections. When was after elections, what year?

  • You are talking about myself, or how long RUF stayed in Tongo?

  • I am talking about you, Martin George. How long did you yourself stay in Tongo?

  • I never spent a year in Tongo. I was in Tongo with Akim, and then we received an instruction from Sam Bockarie that we should attack Kenema. We went to Kenema and we couldn't make it. On our way back, we received another instruction that we should go to Mano Junction. We went to Mano Junction and we did not succeed because there was a heavy ECOMOG presence there, so we couldn't make it and the order changed that we should go back to our same main ground in Tongo. When we got to Tongo, I asked my boss Akim for a pass that I wanted to go to Kono to see my children. Then he granted me the pass. That was how I left Tongo and went to Kono.

  • Thank you, Mr George. When you started your response you said "I never spent a year in Tongo", and you finished by telling us how you received a pass from your boss Akim to go to Kono to see your children. Now, how many months did you spend in Tongo in 1999?

  • I was in Tongo for three months.

  • When you went to Kono to see your children after having received the pass, were you still a member of the RUF at that time?

  • Oh, yes, I was a full member of the RUF.

  • And after - incidentally, did you get to see your family when you went to Kono?

  • Yes, I met them and I was with them.

  • Mr Anyah, what does the witness mean by "a full member of the RUF"? Did they have associate members?

  • Mr George, you've heard Justice Lussick's question. My question was, were "You still a member of the RUF at the time you went to Kono to see your children?" You said, "Yes, I was a full member of the RUF." Can you elaborate? What you do you mean, you were a full member?

  • That means I was a member of the RUF from the base as a vanguard where I was trained for the RUF, and when I was still fighting for the RUF I was still a member of the RUF. I never left RUF to joined any party outside. That's what I mean.

  • Very well. After you saw your family, did you take up any assignment for the RUF?

  • Yes. It was at that time that I was assigned to Kono as a brigade commander. That's the time I started taking up responsibility by controlling a large group of men.

  • Who gave you this assignment as brigade commander?

  • The assignment was given to me by Issa Sesay and it was approved by Sam Bockarie.

  • What year were you given this assignment as brigade commander?

  • It was in that same 1999 in the same month of March. I was given that assignment when I came from Tongo.

  • What was your rank at that time?

  • I said colonel. It was colonel.

  • So you are a brigade commander in Kono; you are a colonel; it's March 1999. How many RUF fighters did you command? How many were under your command?

  • In the first place, a brigade controls four battalions. In these battalions, each battalion controls four companies, and those four companies, one company comprises 248 men. So --

  • Your Honours, can he take his calculation slowly again.

  • Mr George, you were trying to explain for us the constituent make-up of battalions companies and the like. You said that a brigade has four battalions, yes?

  • And each battalion is made up of four companies, yes?

  • How many fighters make up each company?

  • How many battalions did you have under your command when you were brigade commander?

  • I was controlling four battalions.

  • Did you have approximately 4,000 fighters under your control when you were in - well, I see some questions arising, perhaps, from the Bench. Let me try the math this way: Mr George, if each company has about 248 men, four such companies will come close to a thousand men; do you agree?

  • If the figure is right, yes, 248 times four. You can check it.

  • And if each battalion is made up of four companies, then each battalion would have about a thousand men, yes? Mr George, I don't wish to put words in your mouth. Is that the case? How many men, fighters, make up each battalion?

  • That's what I am telling you. You can times the four companies to a battalion. When you know the figure, you would know how many men are in a battalion. Because I don't have a calculator to calculate it, that's what I said, that you should do it for me and know the figure. Four companies make a battalion, and those four companies, you check the manpower and times it by the battalion, and then you would know the figure.

  • Mr Anyah, I have been trying to follow the time frames here just so that the evidence is clear to me.

  • Yes, your Honour.

  • Now, I note the evidence just given by this witness. He says he was a colonel in March 1999. Now, the previous evidence was that he was not promoted to a colonel until 2000. And I am going back to the transcript at page 28, line 24 onwards where you asked him, so is it the case that from 1996 when you were made a captain until your promotion to colonel in 2000 you remained at the same rank of captain, and the witness answered:

    "From '94 I was a lieutenant. When they called us out, when the AFRC called us, we joined them, I was promoted to a captain and I maintained that position as captain from '97, '98, '99, 2000. 2000, before I had another rank, that was colonel." And now we have him commanding four battalions in March 1999. I can't reconcile that with his previous evidence.

  • Your Honour, I picked up the same discrepancy, if you will, in the evidence. You are entirely right. That was the response given by the witness previously and I will attempt to clarify. I also know that we are almost out of time, but perhaps I can continue until we are out of time.

  • Before we break we were doing that mathematics, which according to my calculator, that is, four battalions comprising four companies, each company comprising 248 personnel gives a figure of 3,968.

  • I have 992 for each battalion and I suppose multiplying that by four will equal exactly what Madam President has said, 3,968.

  • So is that what the witness was commanding, thereabouts?

  • I will pursue both issues with the witness:

  • Now, Mr George, starting with Justice Lussick's observations. You told us a few minutes ago when I asked you questions about your rank, you said you were first made a lieutenant in 1994 and at some point you were made a captain, and you specified a period of time when you remained a captain. You said you were a captain from 1997 until the year 2000. A few minutes ago in relation to your appointment as brigade commander in Kono, you said the appointment was in March 1999 and your rank was colonel. So the question is this: What year did you become a colonel?

  • I am telling you what I know. I served as a brigade commander in 1999. I was promoted to a colonel. From the time that we retreated from the bush in Freetown and we got to Kono, in that first meeting - it was a rank, but I did not put there. So I am just cutting it short. I was recommended to become a major when I captured Tongo. I think if you check my something you will see it. You cannot just move from captain and become a colonel. You go by steps. I know that. From captain you go to major before becoming a colonel.

  • Can I proceed this after the break?

  • Certainly. We are going to take the mid-morning break. We'll reconvene at 12 o'clock.

  • [Break taken at 11.30 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 12.00 p.m.]

  • Mr Bangura, you're on your feet.

  • May it please, Madam President, your Honours. I wish to announce a change in representation. We've been joined by Mr Nicholas Koumjian on the Prosecution side.

  • Thank you. That's noted. Mr Anyah?

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr George, before the Court adjourned at 11.30 we were considering the question of when it was that you were promoted to the rank of colonel. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I remember.

  • Now let's have a brief overview of your various promotions. And we shall do so quickly, but with enough care to advise these justices of what rank you had during what period of time. Is it correct that in 1994 you were made a lieutenant?

  • You've mentioned this morning that you were promoted to the rank of captain. In what year were you promoted to the rank of captain?

  • We are talking about 1997 when we joined the soldiers in Freetown.

  • So you were promoted to captain in 1997?

  • Before the break, one of the responses you gave was to this effect. You said, "I am just cutting it short. I was recommended as major when I captured Tongo." You were recommended as major when you captured Tongo. Is that when you were with Akim?

  • Before we went for the meeting in Buedu for the attack on Kono, some officers were promoted before the Kono operation. And as I was capturing, I had my promotion where I was based at Woama. That was before the Kono operation.

  • You say at the meeting in Buedu. You're referring to the Waterworks meeting, yes?

  • Yes, that was the meeting that Mosquito convened.

  • Did you receive a promotion during that meeting?

  • I received promotion with other people - a promotion paper.

  • To what rank were you promoted?

  • I was promoted to a major, and Vanicious Varney was promoted to lieutenant colonel when he was serving as battalion commander. I brought his promotion paper. Major Ambush Commander, Amara Ambush Commander.

  • Mr Anyah, were these promotions by - the ones in 1997, were they promotions by the RUF, or promotions by the junta?

  • Yes, Madam President, I will clarify. But let me ascertain the year first, because that might assist:

  • The promotion to captain in 1997, Mr George, was that by the RUF?

  • It was the RUF. The AFRC or Johnny Paul Koroma never promoted me. All promotions I got was from Sam Bockarie through Issa Sesay.

  • Remind us again of when the meeting at the Waterworks took place. I'm referring to the year.

  • The meeting at the Waterworks? It was held in 1998 at Waterworks. That was where we had the last meeting with Mosquito on how we should attack Kono.

  • And was it during that meeting you received a slip of paper promoting you to major?

  • Yes, I was not the only person. Even Vincent had a promotion.

  • Mr George, we appreciate that, but let's set aside Vincent for a second. Let's side aside Vanicious Varney and others. We're just focusing on you: Martin George. When you received this paper promoting you to major, was that rank to take effect from the date of that meeting, or was it to take effect sometime in the future?

  • The day they gave me the promotion was the day that I was supposed to exercise that promotion. It was not after that. The same day I received my major rank was the same day I started exercising my major rank.

  • What was your rank after being promoted to major? Your next rank, what was it?

  • I said I was a captain in 1997. That was what I said. When we left the city, I was a captain.

  • Okay, that was the rank you had before the Waterworks meeting. You then go to the meeting, you receive a slip of paper promoting you to major. After major, did you attain any higher rank than major?

  • After the major rank, when I came from Tongo I was serving as adviser to Akim. And when I came back to Kono, that was the time I was recommended to take over the brigade as a colonel.

  • Very well. Mr George, just bear with us. We're following you. We're not questioning you as far as the facts of what you're saying.

    You're now in Kono; you're a brigade commander; you're a colonel. You told us it was in 1999, and you remember one of the issues we were trying to ascertain before the break was how many persons or fighters were under your command as a brigade commander. Now, you said each company had 248 fighters. You said four companies made a battalion. You said you were in charge of four battalions. Is all of that right, Mr George?

  • Yes, it's correct. And I know I had the position, so I cannot lie here to say that I did, when I did not.

  • When we did the math, the President of the Court assisted us. Adding those figures, it totalled 3,968 persons. Does that sound right to you, Mr George? Was that the number of persons that were under your command when you were a brigade commander in Kono in 1999?

  • That is the full manpower of the brigade. The --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be advised to slow down and repeat what he said.

  • Firstly, Mr Witness, we have now gone beyond the mathematics. The question on the table before you is whether you commanded 3,968 persons. This is now the question. It's either a yes or a no --

  • Yes, that was the manpower that I controlled as a brigade commander.

  • Who did you replace as brigade commander in Kono?

  • I replaced The Big.

  • What is that person's name? You referred to a Big?

  • That is the name I know, The Big. He was in charge of the Kono brigade and he was being deputised by Gasimu.

  • Do you know somebody named Banya?

  • Yes, it was Banya who replaced me. He took over the brigade when my assignment was changed.

  • Mr Anyah, is "The Big" a name?

  • Mr George, this person, The Big, is that their full name or real name, or is that a nickname?

  • It could be a nickname, because I don't know his full name. But people knew him to be The Big in Kono whilst he was serving there, and as I am explaining now, other people who know the story, they would know that is Martin who is speaking now.

  • Very well. Where was Base Marine when you were assigned as brigade commander in Kono?

  • Base Marine was in Tongo. When we went on the Kenema attack he was injured, and he was taken to Buedu for treatment.

  • Was Base Marine, also known as Jonathan Parker, even under your command when you were a brigade commander in Kono?

  • Yes. Jonathan, that is his name, that is his full name. It was later that he took that name in Masingbi, like I said, Sherif, Sherif Parker.

  • What I wish to know is, did he at some point come under your command in Kono? We know his name now. When you were brigade commander in Kono, did he come under your command, Mr George?

  • Yes. I remember one time when he left Kailahun from the sick - from his sick bed, he came to me from - to Kono and he told me he wanted to go back to Kailahun. And I told him that, "It's not always that I will get food to send for you in Kailahun, but what I will do for you is, I will give you an assignment area so that you will be able to manage your own life also." So that was how I sent him to Masingbi.

  • What was Jonathan Parker's rank when you sent him on assignment to Masingbi?

  • Jonathan Parker had already had his rank from - because he was already recommended by Sam Bockarie as major. When he went to Masingbi, he went there as a major. I did not give him the rank.

  • How old, if you know, was Jonathan Parker, also known as Base Marine, by the time he reached the rank of major in the RUF?

  • No, I can't tell. I was not that particular about his age. But I knew the age he was when he was at the base.

  • Was he still a young man in 19 - well, let me ask you this: Was it in the year 1999 he was made a major in the RUF?

  • And you said you knew him when you were at Crab Hole in 1991 to be how old?

  • I said he could have been between nine to ten years old, if I am not mistaken. I think I said that in my statement, nine to ten years.

  • By 1999, when he was made a major, do you know whether he had engaged in any fighting on behalf of the RUF?

  • I said he engaged in fighting in 1997 at the Sewafe Bridge. That was the time he first faced battle. And after there, he still continued battling.

  • Thank you, Mr George. That is helpful. Now, your time in Kono as brigade commander, was there any diamond mining taking place in Kono while you were brigade commander there?

  • Diamond mining was organised.

  • Who organised it?

  • Issa Sesay organised it and he formed a unit to take care of the diamond mining and I was focused on my front line, but he had people who were in charge of that.

  • Do you remember the names of those who were in charge of diamond mining in Kono?

  • Yes, I remember them because they were part of my brigade. I remember Kennedy.

  • Peleto, Amara Peleto. Major Alpha. Abdul, Pa Abdul. Those were the people in charge of mining activities.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Amongst these names you've given us, Peleto, you also mentioned Kennedy, Pa Abdul and Major Alpha, who was the most senior person amongst them?

  • The most senior person was Kennedy. He was the most senior person.

  • The Kennedy you just mentioned, is that the same person you mentioned previously in relation to diamond mining elsewhere in Sierra Leone?

  • Yes, that is the same Kennedy I'm referring to.

  • Were diamonds recovered when they were mined for by the RUF when you were brigade commander in Kono?

  • They were getting diamonds from the various sites, but I can't tell - I don't know how many carats. I don't know how many pieces because that was not my area of operation.

  • Do you know who was doing the mining for the diamonds? Was it exclusively done by RUF members or were civilians also asked to mine for diamonds?

  • Civilians were mobilised to dig for the diamonds.

  • Do you know to whom the diamonds that were recovered were given?

  • Yes. The commander in charge, Issa Sesay, he was the one who received the diamonds. I mean in Kono. He was in charge in Kono. He was receiving the diamonds from the various sites. He received them from Kennedy.

  • Do you know what Issa Sesay did with the diamonds that he received from Kennedy?

  • Issa Sesay had his own board to whom he reported. At any time they gave him a parcel, he would - and according to him, he said he reported - presented those diamonds to Sam Bockarie.

  • Where was Sam Bockarie based at this time?

  • Sam Bockarie was still based in Buedu.

  • Have you ever heard of the name Benjamin Yeaten?

  • Yes. Have you ever heard of the name Benjamin Yeaten?

  • When you were brigade commander in Kono, did somebody named Benjamin Yeaten pay a visit to the RUF in Kono?

  • No, not to my knowledge.

  • When you were brigade commander in Kono, did the RUF have radio communication contact with anybody in Liberia named Benjamin Yeaten?

  • We never had radio communication with anybody in Liberia by the name of Benjamin Yeaten.

  • Do you know whether any of the diamonds recovered by the RUF when you were brigade commander in Kono were sent to somebody named Benjamin Yeaten in Liberia?

  • I am saying, no, never. All I know, all diamonds were given to Issa and from Issa to Sam Bockarie. But I never heard that a particular set of diamonds packed were sent for that particular person whose name you are calling.

  • How about Charles Taylor? Did you ever hear anyone say diamonds that were recovered by the RUF in Kono, when you were brigade commander there, were being sent to Charles Taylor in Liberia?

  • Never. Nobody ever told me that they were taking diamonds to Charles Taylor for arms or ammunition or food or what have you. All I knew was that I was focused on my front line and the miners were focused on their mining. I did not have anything to do with the mining activities. I only had business with my front line.

  • Mr George, when you were based in Kono in 1999 where was Foday Sankoh?

  • In 1999, if my memory serves me right, I think Foday Sankoh was at first in Nigeria and he was later transferred to Freetown, yes.

  • Was Foday Sankoh a free person at that time in 1999?

  • Was Foday Sankoh a free person, that is, somebody not in custody, prison or jail, in 1999 when you were brigade commander in Kono?

  • Well, I can't say he was a free person, because if he was free he would have come to us. He was not with us. He was still in the hands of the people.

  • Still in the hands of which people?

  • The people who arrested him, like the Nigerians. We knew that he was with them. And from there, they turned him over to the Tejan Kabbah government. So he was not with us.

  • At any time in that 1999, did you have communication contact with Foday Sankoh, you yourself, Martin George?

  • The only time I saw Foday Sankoh was in Magburaka and that was in 2000 when Banya took over the brigade. It was in 2000 when he left Freetown to come and talk to us. That was when we had the infighting, when the late Van Damme was killed in Makeni. That was the time I saw Foday Sankoh in Magburaka talking to us, in 2000. From '96 to 2000, it was in Magburaka that I set eyes on Foday Sankoh.

  • Very well. Have you heard of the Lome Peace Accord that was signed between the RUF and the Government of Sierra Leone?

  • Yes, I heard about it and it was working.

  • Do you know when that accord was signed, the year?

  • No, I don't recall the year, but I know about the Lome Peace Accord and it was working. The UN were based at various points in 2000.

  • Do you know whether Foday Sankoh was given any positions in the Government of Sierra Leone after the Lome Peace Accord was signed?

  • What do you know about that?

  • What I know about that is that they said he was now taking care of the mineral resources, if I'm not mistaken, because he was in control of all the strategic points, the mining points, Tongo and Kono, he was in control, so I think that was why he was given that promotion.

  • Where was he based when he was given this promotion? Which part of Sierra Leone was his base?

  • In fact, when he left Nigeria and came to Freetown, he was based in Freetown on Spur Road. That was where I met him in 2000. That was where I met him and that was where I left him and I went back to Kono.

  • Okay. Let's consider what you've just said, and you also said something earlier that I wish to revisit. We'll do it one at a time. We'll come to your visit to Freetown and Foday Sankoh at Spur Road. A few minutes ago you said, "The only time I saw Foday Sankoh was in Magburaka in the year 2000 when Banya took over the brigade." Let's consider that. The brigade you're referring to, is it the brigade you were in charge of in Kono starting in 1999?

  • What year did Banya take over from you as brigade commander?

  • I left the brigade in 2000. Banya took over in February 2000.

  • How is it that you went to Magburaka? For what purpose did you go to Magburaka?

  • Magburaka was a ground for every one of us. RUF soldiers were based there. I had right to patrol any part of the RUF-controlled territories. I had that full right at that time. So that prompted me to go and visit the other brothers and friends that I had in Makeni and Magburaka.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Just remember to speak slowly. We are following you. So you went to visit RUF friends and colleagues in Magburaka and Makeni and you met Foday Sankoh there. What was Foday Sankoh's purpose in being in Magburaka at that time? What did he come to do there?

  • Foday Sankoh entered Magburaka. At first he entered Makeni. When he heard about the infighting that took place, he was not pleased. He came to find out what actually brought about the infighting. That was what brought him to Makeni and Magburaka.

  • What infighting? What does "infighting" mean? Can you tell us what you mean by "infighting that took place"?

  • When I am talking about infighting, there was an infighting amongst us, we, the RUF soldiers. It happened this way: There was an instruction given to Boston Flomo and some other soldiers to go and arrest Superman and Gibril Massaquoi. And Gibril Massaquoi and Superman were both based at Lunsar, and at the same time Superman had his own self based in Makeni. I was not there - I was in Kono - but they left. They went, they saw Superman and Gibril, according to what I heard. When they saw Superman and Gibril, they told him that - they told them that they were under arrest. And Gibril said, "If Issa wanted to see me, he shouldn't send a team to arrest me. He should either invite me, we will go and discuss what he wanted us to discuss." And that was the same thing that Superman too said. And then Superman said, "Okay. If that is the case, Gibril, we shouldn't go anywhere. If Issa wanted to see us, at least he should send a proper order. But he shouldn't send men to come and have confrontation with us." So Van Damme and the group that he carried, they wanted to force issues. So there was an outbreak of riots and he said they are --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to slow down.

  • Mr George, you were saying something about Van Damme and the group that he carried. Continue from there and just go slowly.

  • I said the group that Van Damme, Boston Flomo, took with him to go and arrest Superman and Gibril Massaquoi, they escaped from Lunsar because of the outbreak of chaos that took place because the manpower he took with him was not enough. The Superman and Gibril Massaquoi group overran them, so most of them escaped.

  • Let's pause there. Let me ask you questions. The manpower was not enough; are you referring to the manpower taken by Boston Flomo, also known as Van Damme?

  • Exactly so. That is what I am talking about.

  • Let's pause. This infighting you started out explaining to us occurred, and you said there was an instruction given to Boston Flomo and soldiers to go and arrest Superman and Gibril Massaquoi. Did that instruction come from Issa Sesay?

  • The instruction came from Issa Sesay.

  • Why was it necessary, if you know, to have those two persons arrested? What did they do to Issa Sesay?

  • That was the same thing I said about at the earlier stage. It had to do with this same power issue. This person wanted to be the boss and that wanted to be the boss, nobody should say "yes, sir" to the order. So that was what brought about that. According to Issa, Gibril Massaquoi and Superman should be based in Makeni. They shouldn't be based out of Makeni.

  • Very well. Initially earlier on in your response you said Superman himself was based in Makeni. And in respect of both Superman and Gibril Massaquoi, you said Massaquoi and Superman were both based in Lunsar. At the time of this infighting just clarify for us - Mr George, just hold on. Let me finish. Let the interpreter also finish. One second. Clarify for us first where Superman was based at the time of this infighting; was it Makeni or Lunsar?

  • I said Superman had his - one of his base in Lunsar where he and Gibril Massaquoi were based, but he had his self base in Makeni. He spent some time in Lunsar and he would spend some time in Makeni. But it was in Lunsar that they went to attack them when Rambo and the few manpower that he took with him went to arrest them.

  • Thank you, Mr George. That helps. Now, Boston Flomo, also known as Van Damme, is he the same person you referred to as Rambo?

  • That is the same person that I have been referring to as Rambo and later Van Damme. I told you that initially he was using the name Rambo. His actual name is Boston Flomo, but it was later that he started using the name Van Damme.

  • Where was Sam Bockarie when Issa Sesay gave this instruction for these two persons to be arrested, Superman and Gibril Massaquoi?

  • Sam Bockarie was in Buedu. There was nothing Issa did without the knowledge of Sam Bockarie, so I knew that it was a connected thing between both of them. If Sam Bockarie did not agree, Issa Sesay wouldn't have carried out that action. You see the point?

  • Mr George, you said this happened in the year 2000, is it?

  • The infighting? Yes, the infighting, I am talking about 2000.

  • Was Sam Bockarie still a member of the RUF in 2000?

  • Sam Bockarie was still a member of RUF. It was later in 2000 that Sam Bockarie left the RUF, if my memory serves me right.

  • Very well. You mentioned earlier on that this fellow Van Damme died right before or around the time Foday Sankoh spoke to you and others in Magburaka. Was it in relation to this order to arrest Superman and Gibril Massaquoi that Van Damme died?

  • I said earlier that it was as a result of the death of Van Damme, because it was - because of the infighting that we had in 2000, that was what brought Foday Sankoh to Makeni and Magburaka. Van Damme died before Foday Sankoh entered Makeni and Magburaka.

  • Thank you, Mr George.

  • That doesn't answer your question. Perhaps you should ask more clearly. Maybe something was lost in the interpretation.

  • I will. Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr George, let me read your answer again. Now, my question was this: Essentially, I'm trying to ascertain when Van Damme died. Did he die before Foday Sankoh came to Magburaka to speak to you and others?

  • That is what I'm saying. I said yes, Van Damme died before Foday Sankoh came. He was still in Freetown. That was just what I said.

  • The second part of the question was under what circumstances did he die? Was it connected to the order to arrest Superman and Gibril Massaquoi?

  • It was the same order that connects the arrest of Gibril Massaquoi and Super. When they went to arrest Gibril Massaquoi and Super and they failed, Super and Gibril too left with their troops to Makeni. When they entered Makeni, Van Damme came from Mile 91, according to the story, and he was lying in front of his house sleeping when Super and Gibril Massaquoi entered Makeni. They rushed into Van Damme's house with their manpower, and they met Van Damme lying down on the sponge in front of his house and an argument broke out. They did not shoot at Van Damme. I learned that he was stabbed with a knife. But Superman later denied; that he was not responsible for the killing.

  • Thank you, Mr George.

  • Perhaps what the witness meant, Mr Interpreter, was he denied that he was responsible for the killing.

  • Superman denied that he was responsible for Van Damme's death.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr George, we have you in Magburaka listening to Foday Sankoh speak or talk, and you said earlier that at some point you went to see him at Spur Road in Freetown. In what year and in what month did you go to Freetown to see Foday Sankoh?

  • I went to Freetown in February with Peter Vandi who was --

  • [Overlapping speakers]

  • -- 2000.

  • A message was sent from Foday Sankoh to Issa Sesay that I should go to Freetown. I then went with Peter Vandi --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to repeat the last thing he said.

  • Mr George, the interpreter would like some clarification. You said you went with Peter Varney. Is it Varney or Vandi?

  • Peter Vandi. Peter Vandi. He is a Mende. He is a Mende man. That is a Mende name. He is not Varney. I am not talking about Vanicious Varney. I'm talking about Peter Vandi. That is a Mende name. He is a Mende man.

  • Okay. Who else besides Peter Vandi did you go to Freetown with?

  • I went with another guy who was called Eagle. That was his popular name, Eagle, in the RUF. That was the most popular name by which he was called. Eagle and I travelled to Freetown.

  • How is it that you came to go to Freetown? Were you requested to go to Freetown? Were you just going on your own volition? What was your purpose in going to Freetown?

  • I said Foday Sankoh sent instruction to Issa Sesay that I should report to Freetown. I did not just go on my own; I was being sent for.

  • Thank you, Mr George. When you got to Freetown, what happened?

  • When I got to Freetown, I met with Foday Sankoh at Spur Road. And at first I briefed him about the ground that I am coming from. The first thing I told him was, "Pa Sankoh, since '96 you left us and we did not see you until the time we saw you in Makeni and Magburaka and I am from Kono. The civilians in Kono, they want you to go and talk to them and inform them about what is actually going on so that you will be able to explain to them the things that are actually going on about the war, because it's long time they have not seen you." That was my first request I made of him.

  • At this time you were speaking to Foday Sankoh in Freetown, was he a member or part of the Sierra Leonean government?

  • Yes. I said yes. At that time he and Tejan Kabbah were working hand in glove. Johnny Paul Koroma too. All of them, they were just moving around the town, moving from here to there.

  • And what did Sankoh say, if anything, in response to what you told him?

  • He told me yes. He said, "I will go to Kono." And, indeed, he went to Kono.

  • Did he go to Kono immediately after your visit with him?

  • After I had visited him, Gibril Massaquoi was instructed to give me 300 bags of rice to take them to Kono for the soldiers who were based there, including salt, Maggi and some other provisions. And it was after that, a week after that, that he went to Kono.

  • That who went to Kono? Foday Sankoh?

  • Foday Sankoh went to Kono.

  • How long did you spend in Freetown when you went to see Foday Sankoh?

  • Actually, I spent ten days in Freetown.

  • Were any UN observers or forces present in Freetown in the ten days you were there?

  • In fact, it was ECOMOG that was keeping guard on Foday Sankoh in his compound. There were no RUF soldiers there guarding him with arms. He was being guarded by ECOMOG soldiers at the time I am talking about.

  • Yes, besides ECOMOG, my question was about United Nations, UN. Were there any UN observers or forces present in Freetown in the ten days you were there when you went to visit Foday Sankoh?

  • Let me tell you, I was not walking around. From where I used to sleep with Peter Vandi, I will go to Spur Road. I spend the whole day there and from there I would go back to where I was lodged. I was not moving about in the city because I did not - I was not familiar to the city. That was my first time being there. I don't want to lie to you.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Was Sam Bockarie still a member of the RUF at the time you met with Foday Sankoh in Freetown?

  • Thank you very much. When the instruction was given to Gibril for me to receive the rice, that was the time I knew that there was a misunderstanding between Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie.

  • How did you learn of this misunderstanding?

  • Foday Sankoh had a set - a radio set where he was based and it happened this way: Sam Bockarie arrested some white people, I think some NGOs, because I was in Freetown and I got the story from the old man. And Sam Bockarie was asked to release those people whom he had arrested. He refused bitterly. He told Foday Sankoh bitterly, he said no. He said Foday Sankoh should leave Freetown and come and establish a base either in Kailahun or Buedu and he refused too. So he said he should just forget - leave him alone.

  • Who refused to go establish a base in Kailahun or Buedu?

  • I am talking about Sankoh. Sam Bockarie suggested that Sankoh should not sit in the middle of his enemies because he considered Kabbah and his soldiers as enemies. He said he was just from jail in Nigeria and he went and settled in Freetown and by rights he was supposed to go and establish his headquarters in our own zones. But Foday Sankoh said no, he was going to be based in the city, and Sam Bockarie did not like the idea, so that was where the misunderstanding came from. So he refused releasing the people he had arrested.

  • Thank you, Mr George. Just remember to go slowly. These persons that you say Sam Bockarie arrested, do you know who they were?

  • They were NGO workers.

  • Do you know how this misunderstanding between Sam Bockarie and Foday Sankoh was resolved? How was it settled?

  • After receiving the rice, I was given some ECOMOG to escort me to Kono and that was from the ECOMOG commander. So we drove down to Kono with the rice and I went to Issa directly together with the ECOMOG and the food that I was taking to Kono. I gave him the rice that Foday Sankoh sent for the soldiers on the ground. I showed him the strangers that I took to the ground, the ECOMOG, and he received us with --

  • Your Honours, the witness was not very clear in that area.

  • Mr George, let's pause for a second. You showed Issa Sesay the strangers that you took with you, you were referring to the ECOMOG, and you said he received all of you. Continue from there, please.

  • After he received the strangers, I was instructed to take the rice to Ngaiya, a place called Ngaiya.

  • Mr George, can I stop you there for a second. We will come back to it. You were instructed to take the rice to a place called Ngaiya. The question I asked you before you started explaining how you to took the rice to Kono, I asked you how the misunderstanding between Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie was resolved, how was it settled. You've now taken us with the rice to Kono and you're now going towards Ngaiya. Can you ask that question first: How was that misunderstanding settled?

  • But before the settlement, I think I need to explain. I did not stay in Freetown until it was settled. Certain things happened before that, so I cannot just leave those things out to say they said this or they did that, so I have to clarify things. I have to explain the things that happened before that took place. So am I allowed to explain?

  • As long as you speak slowly. If you start speaking, running, running, we will not understand what you're saying, you see? If you listen to the way your lawyer is speaking, he is speaking slowly so that whatever he's saying is being written. You should do the same, please.

  • Now, please continue, Mr Anyah.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Mr George, you were explaining how you got to Issa Sesay with the rice and he welcomed you. Slowly now can you continue with your evidence.

  • The first question you asked me was how the matter was resolved. The matter was never resolved until Sam Bockarie finally left the RUF. If there is any further question that will come up from that point, then I know what explanation I will give.

  • Okay. You said the matter was not resolved until Sam Bockarie left. When did Sam Bockarie leave the RUF, if you remember?

  • Sam Bockarie left the RUF in the same 2000.

  • To where did he go after he left the RUF, if you know?

  • He crossed into Liberia and I was in Sierra Leone.

  • Did he go alone to Liberia, to your knowledge, or did he go with others?

  • What I understood was that he went with some men.

  • The men that he went with, were they members of the RUF?

  • Do you know whether he crossed into Liberia with his family when he left Sierra Leone?

  • Yes. I was told that he crossed into Liberia.

  • With his family.

  • Now, do you know why it was the case that he had to leave Sierra Leone?

  • It was the same case of disobedience to the leadership of Foday Sankoh, because he did not want to agree with what Foday Sankoh told him, so that was where the misunderstanding came from.

  • Mr George, do you remember what month and year you took the rice to Issa Sesay in Kono?

  • I can't remember the month, but I think it was in that same month that I went because I only spent ten days there. I never spent a month in Freetown. I only spent ten days there.

  • Is it in the early part of 2000 that you went back with the rice to Kono?

  • The same month I left Kono and went to Freetown, that was the same month that I brought the rice. I have just forgotten that particular month.

  • Very well. What was your rank and assignment when you made this trip to Freetown after you had been replaced by Banya as brigade commander in Kono?

  • First of all, when I went to Freetown, they had a joint team. If there were two men from RUF and two men from the Kamajors. That was the first disarmament. If they wanted to go and disarm the Kamajor group, two representatives of the RUF should be with the UN to monitor the activities, how the disarmament was going on. And when I went to Freetown, I was part of that group. I was still serving as a colonel. I still carried my rank.

  • Mr Anyah, the witness said earlier, I think at page 75, with regard to the time frame, he said he went to Freetown in February of 2000.

  • Yes, I recall that.

  • And so I would imagine he's saying in the same month of February 2000 he got the bags of rice and returned to Kono. Yes?

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Now, you're a colonel. You spoke of the first disarmament around the time you went to Freetown. You spoke of the Kamajors as well. And I had asked you about your rank and assignment. Now, after the trip to Freetown, you're now back at Kono with Issa Sesay. You are still a colonel, yes?

  • Yes, I still maintained my rank.

  • What assignment did you receive, if any, after you handed the bags of rice to Issa Sesay?

  • I said after presenting the bags of rice to Issa Sesay, there was a joint team to join the UN, that is, two representatives from the Kamajors and two representatives from the RUF. And if the UN were going to disarm somewhere, those two groups would join together. If they were going to the Kamajor areas to disarm, the RUF will be there so that they will know how many weapons are being disarmed. If it was the RUF area, two representatives from the Kamajors will come and join this team and they will go so as for them to know how many weapons the RUF were disarmed with.

  • Were you assigned as an RUF representative to monitor the disarmament of Kamajors? Is that what you're trying to tell us?

  • I was assigned with the UN as representative from the RUF to monitor the disarmament programme between the two sides.

  • Thank you, Mr George. That's helpful. How long did you have this assignment for?

  • When Issa and I and Foday Sankoh got to Segbwema, the first day they were disarming our men in Segbwema I was there with a team. Issa Sesay was there, Foday Sankoh was there and the disarmament went on. From there after the disarmament Foday Sankoh was going back. He told Issa that I should go to Kailahun to change - to replace Rogers, Momoh Rogers, because he was sick and he needed treatment. That was how I left the unit and - how do they call him? Eagle. Eagle replaced me and I went to Kailahun to take up another assignment.

  • Thank you, Mr George. We understand how you now replaced Momoh Rogers in Kailahun. I had asked about the length of time, that is, how many months, weeks or days, you were this monitor for the disarmament programme with the United Nations. Do you remember how many months you served in that capacity as an RUF representative with the UN to monitor disarmament?

  • I did not even serve for a month and I was replaced. I was asked to go and replace Momoh Rogers in Kailahun because they said he needed treatment.

  • What year was that when you were assigned to Kailahun to replace Momoh Rogers?

  • It was in the same 2000. Momoh Rogers left Kailahun in 2000 and he went to Freetown.

  • What was your title or rank when you went to take over from Momoh Rogers?

  • Momoh Rogers was serving in Kailahun as the CSO, security commander, as a colonel. And likewise me, I was a colonel and I went to take over as CSO, the security commander.

  • How many persons did you have under your command as CSO or security commander?

  • There as CSO I had a brigade under my control, but it was controlled by someone else. I was not the commander. I was just a security commander. They had their brigade commander.

  • Who was the brigade commander when you were CSO in Kailahun in 2000?

  • The brigade commander was Sam Kolleh. He was the brigade commander, and he was based in Pendembu and I was based in Kailahun.

  • What nationality is Sam Kolleh?

  • Sam Kolleh is from Liberia. He is a vanguard.

  • Were there any ECOMOG or UN forces present in Kailahun during the period of time when you served as CSO or security commander?

  • Yes, the UN was there. The UN was based there. About two companies were based there.

  • What was the size of the UN contingent? Was the size of a UN company the same as you just told us earlier this morning, about --

  • The same, 248. The same 248 for each company.

  • Mr George, just remember to slow down. I know you can also understand some English perhaps, but wait for the interpreter to finish. You said there were about two UN companies based there in Kailahun. Do you know the nationalities of those UN service personnel?

  • They were Indians. They were from the Indian contingent. They were Indian troops who were based in Kailahun.

  • Where was Issa Sesay based at the time you were security commander in Kailahun?

  • Issa Sesay was based - he was based between Makeni, Kono - Makeni and Kono. He would come and spend some time in Makeni and later go and spend some time in Kono, so just like that.

  • What relationship did the RUF under your command in Kailahun have with these UN peacekeepers? Well, let me withdraw the word "peacekeepers", because I don't believe you have said that. You said it was the Indian contingent. What sort of relationship did you, as security commander, have with the Indian contingent from the UN in Kailahun?

  • When I got there I did not have any problems with them, and they did not have no problems with me. But it came a time when problem erupted between the Kenyan troops and the RUF. By then fighting broke out, and it was from there that they started having problems with me and I too started having problems with them.

  • We will come back to this problem you say that arose between the Kenyan troops and the RUF. You mentioned earlier the first disarmament. The period of time when you were in Kailahun, was that when there was disarmament in Sierra Leone?

  • Yes, that was the first peace that I was talking about before Jetley - no, how do they call him - Opande came and they finished it.

  • Daniel Opande was the one who was in charge of the disarmament process in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

  • Was he a civilian or was he a military person?

  • He was the peacekeeping force commander, and I believe he was a military man.

  • Do you know when, as in what year, the first disarmament started in Sierra Leone?

  • No, I don't remember.

  • Was it - well, you've told us it was during the time you were in Kailahun as security commander. Now, this - I'm sorry, you wanted to say something, Mr George?

  • Yes. I said I was given assignment to go and take care of Kailahun, to take command from Momoh Rogers. The first disarmament process happened when Foday Sankoh left Freetown and came to Segbwema for the first disarmament, and it was in Segbwema that the disarmament took place. And from there they sent me to Kailahun, and they replaced me with Eagle.

  • Okay. When Foday Sankoh and you were in Segbwema when there was the first disarmament - you've now told us that was before you went to Kailahun - do you remember the year you were in Segbwema?

  • It was in 2000 that I was in Segbwema. And after that disarmament, there was no other disarmament that took place then until Opande did the last disarmament.

  • Very well. The last disarmament, had it happened - had it started to happen when you were security commander in Kailahun?

  • No. The last disarmament started, I think, in 2001, if my memory serves me right. By then I had left Kailahun. And it was in late 2000 when Sam Kolleh changed me from my command and I went back to Kono as an ordinary man, and I was there till that disarmament.

  • Very well. You've just told us Sam Kolleh replaced you. The word you used was "changed me from my command". Are you saying that Sam Kolleh took over from you as security commander in Kono?

  • Yes. He took over command from me in Kailahun to become the security commander.

  • And you said that took place in late 2000, yes?