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

  • Mr Sesay, when did you personally first meet Abu Keita?

  • I met with Abu Keita first in Koindu when Varmuyan Sherif and him came to sell ammunitions to us in early '97.

  • Mr Interpreter, when who came?

  • I understand there is a difficulty with the defendant's LiveNote and he is unable to follow the proceedings.

  • I will assist. Your Honours, we won't be able to continue because even though the technician is assisting, he is assisting to restore the broadcast screen but Mr Taylor has - can view LiveNote presently while we continue. I have managed to switch one of the screens to the transcript, so he can see the transcript but the technician is logging into the computer that normally provides LiveNote to Mr Taylor, so we can continue because he can view LiveNote presently.

  • Very well.

  • Now, you were saying, Mr Sesay, that the first time you saw Abu Keita was in early 1997 when he arrived in Koindu with Varmuyan Sherif; is that right?

  • And he came with ammunition; is that right?

  • Yes.

  • And from where had that ammunition come?

  • They brought the ammunition from Voinjama, which was their headquarters, the ULIMO headquarters at that time.

  • Now, that's question number one. Question number two is this: As far as you are aware, independently of yourself, when was the first time Abu Keita came in contact with the RUF?

  • Well, first Abu Keita met with the RUF, that is Mike Lamin and others, in late 1996 when they crossed into the Pujehun District and they surrendered to ULIMO. From there he came and met with Sam Bockarie in December 1996 in Foya.

  • Sorry, Mr Griffiths, "when they crossed into the Pujehun District". Who crossed into the Pujehun District? Mike Lamin? Because I recall a different journey.

  • Well, explain for us, please, Mr Sesay, when did Abu Keita first meet with the RUF?

  • Well, when the government troops used to attack RUF from Zogoda to Pujehun and the RUF, at that time headed by Mike Lamin, crossed the border to Liberia, we had to surrender to ULIMO. That was the first time that Abu Keita met with the RUF, when they were disarmed, the RUF.

  • Now, as far as - no, before I get there. Until when would you say Abu Keita continued to have a relationship with the RUF?

  • December 1996 when Sam Bockarie and other RUF men went to Foya.

  • And for how long did the relationship with Abu Keita continue?

  • Well, it continued up to 1997, like up to May of '97, and, after that, it resumed in December of '98. When he came he brought about --

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat this part of his answer and can he kindly repeat slowly.

  • Mr Sesay, the interpreter lost track of what you were saying. So what you were saying was it continued up to 1997, right up to May of '97, and, after that, it resumed in December of '98 when something happened?

  • I said the relationship continued in 1998, December, when Abu Keita brought 20 to 25 of his Mandingo people and he came and told Sam Bockarie that he was afraid, he had fear for his life, and so that was why he had come to Sam Bockarie for safety, to the RUF.

  • And having come to the RUF for safety, for how long did he remain with the RUF?

  • He remained with the RUF until 2001, after the disarmament of Kono and he came to Makeni and went to Freetown. Then I made to understand that he went to Guinea.

  • And did you see him after that?

  • No. After that I did not see him.

  • Mr Sesay, have you heard of an event called the Camp Johnson Road incident in Monrovia?

  • No. I'm not familiar with that.

  • Prior to Abu Keita coming to RUF-held territory in December 1998 with 20 or so men, had he been engaged in any hostilities in Monrovia, to your knowledge?

  • Well, he did not explain that area to me. What I understood from him was that he was under threat from the Liberian securities. That's why he went to Sam Bockarie and his men for rescue. That was why he went there to stay with Sam Bockarie.

  • And the final preliminary matter I want your assistance with before we look at some transcripts, is this: Was Abu Keita ever a member of the RUF?

  • Well, when he came in December of '98 he stayed with the RUF up to 2001.

  • But by the fact of him staying, did that make him a member of the RUF?

  • No. He did not command respect like we did, we the commanders did, in the rank and file. He was not recognised as a commander of the RUF, even within the RUF, no.

  • Is the witness saying that Abu Keita was not a member of the RUF or just wasn't a commander of the RUF?

  • Well, I will ask the witness directly, your Honour.

  • What is it, Mr Sesay? Was he a member of the RUF? Let's start with that.

  • He was not a member of the RUF.

  • Was he a commander in the RUF?

  • No, he was just a guest to the RUF.

  • Whilst living within RUF territory as of December 1998 did Abu Keita become involved in any military operations alongside the RUF?

  • No. He did not take up any command responsibility within the RUF.

  • May I just point out that the witness did not at all answer the question.

  • I don't know if something was lost in translation, but, Mr Sesay, the question simply put was: Whilst Abu Keita was living in the RUF-controlled testimony [sic] as of December 1998, did he become involved in any military operations alongside the RUF? Your answer was, "He did not take up any command responsibility within the RUF", but that's not the question you were asked. The question was: Did he become involved in military operations alongside the RUF? Now please answer that question.

  • Yes, my Lord, because in January of '99 he was with Mike Lamin when they were in Segbwema. And from there he was not involved in any fighting with the RUF up until the disarmament.

  • What was he doing in Segbwema?

  • He was with Mike Lamin. Mike Lamin supervised the operation that was going on in Segbwema, but I did not hear that he went to the battlefront to fight, but he was there with Mike Lamin.

  • Was he just keeping him company? What was he doing there? The question was: Was he involved in military activities, military operations?

  • He did not go to the battlefront to fight. He was with Mike Lamin in Segbwema. That is what I knew.

  • Doing what with Mike Lamin?

  • Mike Lamin was the one who supervised the operation in Segbwema, so he said the two of them came from Buedu and they went to Segbwema, so he accompanied Mike Lamin. But he was not the commander. It was Mike who was the commander.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, did the men, the 20 or so men who came with Abu Keita, did they fight alongside the RUF?

  • Yes, some of them fought.

  • Like when Abu Keita went to Segbwema with Mike Lamin, Colonel Leo and others were at the battlefront with the RUF.

  • Now, having dealt with those preliminary matters, I would like to direct your attention now to some transcript. Transcript, open session, 23 January 2008, page 1962, line 3:

    "Q. Now sometime after you were recalled to the AFL,

    Armed Forces of Liberia, did fighting break out in

    Monrovia?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Can you briefly explain what that was about?

    A. Fighting broke out on Camp Johnson Road because

    Roosevelt Johnson was appointed as minister of - as a

    minister in Taylor's government and then he went on sick

    leave - when he went on sick leave - when he came back he

    was at Camp Johnson Road and then he saw Joe Wally who was

    a former bodyguard to the late Samuel Doe, so he was at

    Roosevelt Johnson's house and then they ordered that he was

    to be arrested.

    Q. In the fighting related to the return of Roosevelt

    Johnson, who was fighting on each side?

    A. Well, it was the SSU and the SSS.

    Q. Okay. You have to explain to everyone here what those

    refer to."

    And he goes on to explain what that means, which need not detain us. And picking it up from line 25:

    "And their mission was to arrest Roosevelt Johnson and then Roosevelt Johnson escaped the arrest and went to the American embassy. That caused a lot of shootouts. Then from there I was also arrested by one bodyguard of the SSU."

    Line 13.

    "Q. Who were the forces? You mentioned the SSU and the

    SSS who were part of Charles Taylor's forces. Who were

    they fighting against in that battle in Monrovia?

    A. They were fighting against Roosevelt Johnson to arrest

    him."

    Now pausing there, the name Roosevelt Johnson, and this is relevant to matters I'm going to deal with in a moment, is that a name familiar to you, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes.

  • Who was Roosevelt Johnson?

  • He was the leader of the ULIMO-J.

  • And you have mentioned earlier that Abu Keita was ULIMO, to which faction of ULIMO did Abu Keita belong?

  • He belonged to the ULIMO-K, the ULIMO-Kromah.

  • Line 22:

    "Q. Now at any time prior to your arrest or in the few

    weeks prior to your arrest had you met with Roosevelt

    Johnson?

    A. Yes, I met with Roosevelt Johnson.

    Q. Can you explain what happened at that meeting?

    A. Roosevelt Johnson called both parties, the former

    ULIMO-J and those who were members of the former ULIMO-K.

    He said we should have a ceremony together because we

    fought against each other, we killed each other, and he

    said the war was over so he said we should be one. That

    was the meeting I had with him.

    Q. Was this before the fighting or during the fighting?

    A. It took place before the fighting. That was why I was

    arrested, because they said they saw me there.

    Q. You said you were taken to Saw Beach Prison" - and he explains where Saw Beach Prison is. Line 17:

    "I was taken to Saw Beach Prison. I was there for one week when - and I was not charged to go to court, I was just in detention there. And later I was freed by one SS director for operations who was Varmuyan Sherif."

    Now Varmuyan Sherif of course you knew, didn't you, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, I know that he was a member of the ULIMO-K before the government in Liberia - before the elections in Liberia in '97.

  • Now were you aware that Abu Keita had been implicated in this incident, Camp Johnson Road, which had resulted in him being arrested and detained?

  • Objection. That misstates the evidence that was read.

  • Mr Griffiths?

  • I'm sure it's my fault but I really don't understand the objection.

  • I would be happy to explain if it's necessary.

  • Mr Abu Keita testified he took no part in the Camp Johnson Road fighting. He indicated he was arrested by Charles Taylor's securities because they had seen him at a meeting with Roosevelt Johnson a week before the fighting but he had taken no part in the fighting. He was a member at that time of the AFL, if I recall, based at the barracks in Monrovia .

  • Mr Griffiths, do you - would you like to rephrase your question in light of that observation?

  • Actually, no, I don't. The question is quite simple; had been implicated, because he was present at the meeting. It doesn't mean that he was individually involved in the fighting. It is a fairly straightforward question.

  • But you said implicated in the incident.

  • Yes, Camp Johnson Road, because he had been seen at this meeting which preceded the incident.

  • Let's not argue about this. Try and rephrase your question, Mr Griffiths, to reflect the accuracy. Being implicated in the incident is ambiguous.

  • Mr Sesay, were you aware prior to Abu Keita arriving in Buedu in December 1998 that he had been arrested following a violent incident in Monrovia at Camp Johnson Road?

  • No. At that time I did not know because he did not explain that to me. What I heard from him was that his life was being threatened in Liberia, that was why he had come to Sam Bockarie.

  • Right. Had he told you that he had been put in detention, in prison in Monrovia following some violent incident? Did he tell you that?

  • No, he did not tell me that.

  • Now, I ask you all of that, Mr Sesay, for this reason, and I am hoping to save time here, so I hope there will be no objection: In due course, over the course of pages 1966, for the assistance of others, and 1967 of the transcript of 23 January 2008, he explains that he was taken from detention to a meeting. And let's pick it up now at page 1968, please, line 18:

    "Q. So you said about a week after the first meeting at

    Musa Cisse's house they came and picked you up, and tell us

    what happened then.

    A. Yes. We went down to Benjamin Yeaten's house. Then

    there was a meeting there where I saw Sam Bockarie of the

    RUF, I saw Eddie Kanneh. Then I saw the War Council leader

    of the RUF, SB Rogers, and the adjutant of the RUF, who was

    Rashid, and Benjamin Yeaten himself and then he" - that is

    Benjamin Yeaten - "asked me to join the RUF in Sierra

    Leone. Then I said 'no problem, sir' I said 'as long as

    that was an instruction from you', I said 'I would

    implement it, sir.' So I asked him to allow me to prepare

    myself and then he accepted."

    Next page:

    "Q. Sir, was there anyone else present at the meeting that

    you can recall?

    A. Yes. There was Montgomery and Varmuyan Sherif himself

    came and met us at the meeting."

    Line 15:

    "Q. After you agreed to join the RUF what happened then?"

    A. Then I said I should prepare myself and then we were

    driven from Benjamin Yeaten's house. That was the time I

    saw a satellite phone with Sam Bockarie and he said it was

    given to him by Benjamin Yeaten."

    Line 28:

    "Q. You said that he said you should go fight with the

    RUF. Did he explain why he was asking you to do that or

    where he got the idea?

    A. I don't have any idea other than the one he told me;

    that I should join the brothers."

    Line 13:

    "Q. Did Benjamin Yeaten explain anything else to you when

    he said you should go join the RUF?

    A. He says he wants a stand-by force to be in Sierra Leone

    so then I should be the commander of that troop, to be

    based in Sierra Leone.

    Q. Did he indicate whether you would be in command? You

    said the commander of that troop. What did he say about

    the troop that you're talking about?

    A. He said I was going to be the commander of a troop that

    was going to be in Sierra Leone with Sam Bockarie.

    Q. Do you recall if he gave a name for that unit, the

    troops?

    A. He said the troop would be called the Scorpion unit and

    that I would be the commander to be based with Sam Bockarie

    in Sierra Leone."

    Now, do you know anything about any of that, Mr Sesay?

  • No. I did not hear that.

  • Did Abu Keita ever tell you that he had been sent to be a commander in Sierra Leone by Benjamin Yeaten, Fifty?

  • No, he never told me that.

  • Did Abu Keita ever tell you that he had been sent to command a unit called the Scorpion unit?

  • No, he did not tell me that and we did not have any Scorpion unit in the RUF. We did not have such a name. No such unit functioned within the RUF.

  • Was there, for example, a group of Liberians brought to Sierra Leone by Abu Keita who had the name Scorpion unit?

  • No. The 20 to 25 men that he brought with him, they were all Mandingos from his own tribe and none of them came with guns, so they were not in the uniform.

  • If I may inquire, these 20 to 25 men that Abu Keita came with, was he their commander?

  • Yes, but they were all his tribesmen. He was the head for them.

  • Yes, them being his tribesmen, does that have any significance?

  • Yes, ma'am, because the ULIMO-K was predominantly Mandingo people. That was what I knew. And even the problem that they had with ULIMO-J emanated from some of those things.

  • So he was their commander. Did they have a name?

  • No, ma'am, they did not have any name.

  • When they arrived in Sierra Leone, that group, did they say that they had been sent by anyone to be in Sierra Leone?

  • No, they did not say that.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, do you confidently state that there was no such thing as a Scorpion unit headed by Abu Keita?

  • No. At the time they came I never heard such a name. To say that the men who came were with Abu Keita belonged to a Scorpion unit, I have only heard that name in this courtroom. And within the RUF there was no unit that was referred to as the Scorpion unit, no.

  • Could the witness please be shown exhibit P-28.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, this is a document I have shown you before, but in light of your answer, I want you to deal with an aspect of this exhibit. Look at the number 4 on the left of the page:

    "Revolutionary brothers behind enemy line forces, name, Scorpion unit is here commanded by Major General Keita."

    Now, when we go to the bottom of the page, and we have looked at this before, the very bottom of the page, please, "General Issa Sesay." So help us: Was there a Scorpion unit commanded by Abu Keita or not?

  • No. There was no Scorpion unit within the RUF. And I never heard that Abu Keita commanded a unit called the Scorpion unit. This is my first time hearing this, and even for this document, this is my first time seeing it.

  • What? You have seen exhibit P-28 before. Mr Sesay, are you saying that today is the first time that you are looking at this document?

  • My Lord, I am talking about the courtroom. I am saying that it is in this courtroom, that is the first time my seeing it within this courtroom.

  • Let's go back - let's put that away, please, and let's go back to page 1970, line 24:

    "A. He said the troop would be called the Scorpion unit

    and that I would be the commander to be based with Sam

    Bockarie in Sierra Leone.

    Q. Did he indicate to you what plan he had for those

    troops, whether there were any operations planned?

    A. He did not give me any details of the operation plan,

    sir.

    Q. Was there any mention of any areas in Sierra Leone?

    Did he indicate any particular area of Sierra Leone, such

    as, well, Port Loko?

    A. He said we would - should be based in Buedu, Buedu in

    Kailahun District."

    Pause there. Mr Sesay, just to deal with a detail I overlooked, can we go back to page 1968 please, line 21, in describing this meeting at which he was given this assignment by Benjamin Yeaten shortly after having been released from prison, Abu Keita told these judges that he saw Sam Bockarie at the meeting, along with other senior members of the RUF and also Eddie Kanneh.

    Help us. Do you recall Sam Bockarie talking to you about having attended a meeting in Monrovia at which Abu Keita and Varmuyan Sherif were present.

  • No. Sam Bockarie did not tell me that.

  • Page 1971, line 15:

    "Q. Sir, did he indicate any attacks were planned?

    A. No. He said I should be based in Sierra Leone with Sam

    Bockarie."

    Line 20:

    "He said he had planned with the boss, who is Charles Taylor, who had given him the instruction to send me to Sierra Leone."

    And then he goes on to describe various individuals. Now, let's pick up the account at page 1979 please, line 16:

    "Q. And after you went back to your house, did you get

    called back again?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Tell us what happened next.

    A. Marzah, Sampson, Jungle, they came with the pick-up, a

    Toyota Land Cruiser pick-up, a green one. They said Chief

    Benjamin Yeaten said I should go. When I went, he said I

    should prepare to go to Sierra Leone. Then I said, 'No

    problem.' Then I went and told my wife that I would be

    leaving to go to Sierra Leone. Then I was issued with one

    AK-47 and one silent weapon pistol which contained eight

    rounds. It contained eight rounds. I was issued with 10

    boxes of ammunition to move to Sierra Leone.

    Q. Sir, where did you get the pistol, the AK-47, and these

    boxes of ammunition?

    A. They were issued to me by Chief Benjamin Yeaten, the SS

    director, at his house.

    Q. Did he give you anything else besides the weapons and

    ammunition?

    A. And one Yaesu radio for communication and three

    bodyguards. They were all issued rifles."

    And then he goes on to describe what a Yaesu radio is.

    Line 15:

    "Q. Now you also mentioned boxes of ammunition. When you

    say a box of ammunition, can you describe what you mean?"

    He then goes on to describe the wooden box and the sardine tins inside, and that continues over the page.

    Page 1982, line 8:

    "A. I was given three bodyguards.

    Q. Were these people that you knew before?

    A. No, sir. They were Liberians.

    Q. Do you know if they belonged to any fighting faction or

    army?

    A. They belong to the former NPFL."

    Line 18:

    "A. I was given escort by Marzah, Sampson and Jungle, and

    one bodyguard of Musa Cisse, and one other driver who was

    called Yellowman and the three bodyguards. We started

    moving towards Lofa County. When we got there, we got to

    Voinjama. We met the police commander in charge of

    Lofa County who was called Colonel Toma, and then he

    informed us that Sam Bockarie is on his way coming, so we

    should stay. We were to remain in Voinjama in his house,

    and then we waited there and Sam Bockarie came. Then

    Marzah, Sampson and Jungle, the car that we drove on, Sam

    Bockarie and SB Rogers, Eddie Kanneh and his bodyguard,

    Foday and Rashid, they used that vehicle. The vehicle that

    Sam Bockarie drove on - Sam Bockarie - and they later

    called him on the Yaesu area from the RUF-controlled area

    that Issa Sesay should come and meet me at Foya."

    Now, the sequence is this, Mr Sesay, just so you understand what was being said by Abu Keita: Having been given that assignment by Benjamin Yeaten, he then leaves Monrovia armed and escorted by, amongst others, Marzah, Sampson and Jungle; they go to Voinjama where you meet them and escort them to Buedu. Did that happen?

  • No. I did not go and meet Sam Bockarie in Foya. No, that did not happen.

  • Did you go and meet Abu Keita at Voinjama along with other armed men?

  • No, no, never. It did not happen.

  • Now, you had said earlier, Mr Sesay, unprompted by any question from me, that when Abu Keita arrived in December 1998, they did not carry guns. Do you remember that?

  • I recall. None of them brought guns with them and Abu Keita himself did not have a pistol.

  • I am sorry, I just do not recall that, and I would appreciate a reference, if we have one.

  • He did. I recall it. I can't tell you, but he did say that they weren't carrying guns.

  • My Lord, please, I would want them to give me two minutes so that I use the restroom.

  • Very well. You may be escorted out, please.

  • [In the absence of the witness]

  • That will give me an opportunity of finding the reference so that I can enlighten Mr Koumjian.

  • If that was today, I can find it easily. I didn't know if that was today or another day.

  • I found it on line 88 at the bottom of my LiveNote, first line of page 89.

  • That's the thing that he just said.

  • My colleagues tell me page 83.

  • It is page 83, line 12, 13, 14.

  • Madam President, it appears that we might have a slightly longer hiatus than we planned because the defendant would also like to take advantage of the facilities once Mr Sesay returns.

  • Very well.

  • [In the presence of the witness]

  • Mr Taylor may be escorted out, please.

    Right, Mr Griffiths, please continue.

  • Mr Sesay, so we get then to page 1985 and we are describing, through the testimony of this witness, his arrival in Sierra Leone. Page 1985, please, line 3:

    "Q. After you went to Foya, then where did you go?

    A. When I got to Foya, I met Issa Sesay in Foya. He said,

    'Abu Keita, you have delayed. I have been waiting for you

    all day.' Then I said to him, 'But the road is bad.'"

    Line 16:

    "Q. So Issa Sesay was waiting for you there in Foya?

    A. In Foya, yes.

    Q. And where did you go after meeting Issa Sesay?

    A. When I met with Issa Sesay, we moved to Buedu. We

    drove from Foya to Buedu."

    Over the page, line 25:

    "A. When we got to Buedu, the RUF soldiers, Issa Sesay

    instructed them, the military commander called Kaisuku, to

    make an apartment available to me very close to him and Sam

    Bockarie."

    Page 1987 please, line 18:

    "Q. When you got to Buedu, you've described it a bit, was

    there any construction going on?"

    Line 22:

    "Issa Sesay took me to a site where they were building an airstrip that there was a Caterpillar and manpower to dig the hill to level the ground. The length was about 3 miles and that they said they were expecting planes to come down there to bring supplies. And whilst they were building, a jet bombarded the Caterpillar at the airstrip. So we used to work in the evening on the airstrip."

    Now, first of all, when Abu Keita arrived in Buedu were you the person that went to fetch him from Foya, Mr Sesay?

  • Not at all. Not me.

  • When Abu Keita arrived in Buedu, and you have already told us you recall him returning in or about December of 1998, did anyone escort him into RUF territory?

  • No.

  • In December of 1998 at the time Abu Keita arrived in Buedu, where were you living?

  • I was living in the house that you brought before the Court that day, the house that was opposite Sam Bockarie's house. That was where I was living.

  • Thank you. And did you instruct someone to provide or make available an apartment for Abu Keita?

  • No, I did not do that.

  • Kaisuku was the MP commander. He was the overall MP commander in the RUF.

  • Was Kaisuku based in Buedu at this time?

  • Yes, Kaisuku was in Buedu.

  • And at or about this time in December 1998, is it correct to say that the RUF were engaged on building an airstrip at or near Buedu?

  • Yes, RUF was building the airstrip for a long time before December '98.

  • And is it correct to say that following Abu Keita's arrival a jet bombarded the Caterpillar at the airstrip?

  • The jet bombed the Caterpillar in November of 1998. That was when the jet bombarded the Caterpillar.

  • Now I need to jump forward, Mr Sesay, in order to come back so that we can put the testimony of this witness in some context.

  • Mr Griffiths, this may not be important, but I will ask anyway. You asked if Abu Keita arrived before or after the Caterpillar was bombarded and, Mr Sesay, was that before or after Keita's arrival, the bombardment.

  • My Lord, it was before the jet bombarded the Caterpillar that Keita and others came to Buedu.

  • So was Keita in Buedu at the time of the bombardment?

  • No, he had not yet come to Buedu.

  • Okay, so the Caterpillar was bombarded before he arrived?

  • Yes. It was not a Caterpillar, but a grader.

  • Now, at page 2133, transcript of 24 January 2008, this proposition was put to the witness from which he did not dissent, line 22:

    "And now the time frame I am referring to is the entire period of time you were in Buedu, which you told us was September 1998 - well, in Sierra Leone, September 1998 through the end of 2002."

    So what Mr Abu Keita was telling the judges was he arrives in September 1998 and he remains until the end of 2002. Is that correct, Mr Sesay?

  • No, that's a lie. It's a lie.

  • And also I'll provide you with this synopsis before we go to look at some of this in detail. At page 2138, testimony of 24 January 2008, the witness was asked this question:

    "Q. Can you tell us the different places where you fought

    while you were in Sierra Leone?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Please go ahead.

    A. I told you the first operation was Mosquito Spray into

    Liberia. The LURD rebels crossed from Guinea and attacked

    Voinjama, Kolahun in Lofa County, and then we were called

    from Buedu. Sam Bockarie, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon,

    including myself, we moved to Foya. There we met the other

    commander, the AFL commander who was in Foya called Colonel

    Stanley. He was the commander in charge of Foya. And we

    met Christopher Varmoh, who was the commander in charge in

    Varmoh called Skinny. Benjamin Yeaten, he and Sam Bockarie

    were coordinating while we were on the front lines. When

    we took over Kolahun, we took over Voinjama, Sam Bockarie,

    Benjamin Yeaten and the defence minister, Daniel Chea - a

    helicopter arrived in which Daniel Chea was and then Sam

    Bockarie and Benjamin Yeaten and the defence minister, they

    used the helicopter to go to Monrovia. That was the first

    operation. The second --" and he is asked:

    "Q. What year did that operation take place?

    A. That was 1999.

    Q. What month?

    A. It was in August.

    Q. And there was a second operation, you said?

    A. Yes.

    Q. When did that take place?

    A. 2000.

    Q. And in which country was that operation?

    A. In Guinea.

    Q. Well I would like to know, if you please, whether you

    fought in Sierra Leone between 1998 and 2002?

    A. Yes.

    Q. And where did that fighting take place.

    A. Bunumbu, Segbwema, Jumo Kafebu, Gbava, into Kolahun

    and Kenema Districts."

    So let's put that together and, as I say, we will come to the detail in a moment. Between December 1998 when he arrives until the end of 2002, according to Abu Keita he is involved with you, Issa Sesay, in fighting against Mosquito Spray in Lofa County. That's in 1999, August. Then in 2000 he is fighting in Guinea and, whilst in Sierra Leone, thirdly, he is involved in fighting between 1998 and 2002 in Bunumbu, Segbwema, Jumo Kafebu, Gbava, into Kolahun and Kenema District. Do you recall any of that, Mr Sesay?

  • Me - for me the things that you've spoken about, they did not happen because I did not fight with - against the LURD rebels with him in Liberia and, for example, now you are mentioning Morris Kallon's name, I was with Morris Kallon in Makeni from January to March.

  • Of which year?

  • During the infighting - of 1999. And we withdrew to Magburaka and I left Morris Kallon in Magburaka. He stayed there from March to October 1999 and I rejoined him when we came back to Makeni. So Keita and I did not go to fight against the LURD in Liberia in '99. That never happened. Because in August I was in Buedu. It was in August that I went to accompany Johnny Paul Koroma in Foya when he went to Monrovia. I was in Buedu. I never went across the border with Keita to fight and he himself did not go across the border in August 1999 to fight against the LURD rebels. That is not true.

  • How do you know he did not go across the border to fight in August 1999 against the LURD rebels?

  • Because the two of us used to keep company in Buedu. He was staying at the same house with Lawrence Womandia. It was a short distance from my house, very short. So in the morning he will come to my house and we will have breakfast together, yes. We will play drafts together. So I knew he never went to Liberia to fight against the LURD rebels.

    And the areas where he said he fought in Jumo Kafebu and other area, Jumo Kafebu, the RUF had controlled there in '98, some part of '98, late '98. And the time he and Mike Lamin went to Bunumbu, Segbwema, that was in '99, around January '99. And when Sam Bockarie called for Mike Lamin to go to Lome in May it was when Abu Keita came to Buedu and he stayed there when Mike Lamin headed the delegation for Lome.

  • Now he is asked this, page 1988, another topic:

    "Q. How long between the time you arrived in Buedu and you

    saw Sam Bockarie again?

    A. It took a couple of weeks before Sam Bockarie returned.

    It was Marzah and Sampson and Jungle, they came first.

    They brought fuel and medicines to Issa Sesay and a few

    boxes of ammunition and then they went back

    Q. Do you recall sometime after Abu Keita's arrival

    receiving such items from Marzah, Sampson and Jungle?"

    That's you, Issa Sesay, receiving those items from them.

  • No. That did not happen. Abu Keita did not come to Buedu in September. It was December 1998 that Abu Keita came to Buedu. When Sam Bockarie came from his trip, it was the following day that Abu Keita arrived in Buedu with the men that I had spoken about; those brothers of his. It was in December '98 that Abu Keita came to Buedu and I left him in Buedu when I went to Kono. But in September, October, Abu Keita was not in Buedu, not even in November.

  • You say when Sam Bockarie came from his trip. Which trip?

  • When he went to Burkina Faso and to Libya and he returned in December '98. I said it was the following day that Abu Keita and his brothers came.

  • Page 1993 please. We are still on this same theme. Question, line 7:

    "Q. Do you remember the next time you saw - the first time

    you saw Sam Bockarie, after you had gone to Buedu?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Where did you see him?

    A. I saw him in Foya.

    Q. First of all, how long after you arrived in Buedu

    approximately was it before Sam Bockarie came back?

    A. I told you it took a couple of weeks.

    Q. How did you know to go to Foya? Why did you go to

    Foya?

    A. Because Issa Sesay said Sam Bockarie was coming. He

    had received a radio call that we were to go to a meeting.

    Q. Was that you would go to meet him?

    A. Yes, I and Issa drove.

    Q. When you saw Sam Bockarie did you see, was he with any

    vehicle or vehicles?

    A. Yes. He came with two trucks, one pick up with

    ammunition and man power.

    Q. Can you describe the trucks that you saw Sam Bockarie

    with on this occasion?

    A. It was the six tyre truck which the Libyan

    Government gave to Charles Taylor.

    Q. Do you recall the colour of the trucks?"

    Over the page, line 4: "Beige".

    Line 7:

    "Q. Were you able to find out or estimate how much

    ammunition Sam Bockarie brought on that occasion?

    A. He brought 300 boxes of ammunition. That was the first

    time he said he had a huge quantity."

    And just so that we know when this was, if we go to page 1997 we see - yes, line 11:

    "Q. Just so we are clear, this is a conversation when Sam

    Bockarie told you about going to Burkina Faso, he told you

    after coming back to Buedu with the 300 boxes of

    ammunition; is that right?

    A. Yes.

    Q. So we know then the timing of this 300 boxes of

    ammunition."

    So let's go back to page 1994. Line 20:

    "Q. Did the ammunition - did the trucks continue across

    the border, or how was the ammunition taken to Sierra

    Leone?

    A. The trucks went as far as Buedu.

    Q. You mentioned manpower, can you explain that . You

    mean when you said Sam Bockarie had with him manpower.

    A. He came with men from Liberia. It was a mixture of

    Liberians and Sierra Leoneans, about 150 men. I was

    expecting that they were the men that Benjamin Yeaten was

    talking about whom he said I was going to command. I was

    expecting that those were the men but the men were later

    taken to Bunumbu, the RUF training camp. The training

    commander was Monica Pearson and one Colonel Morris. Those

    were the training commanders at Bunumbu camp."

    Further down the page, please:

    "Q. Was anyone, any other individuals" - line 24 - "on the

    convoy that you knew?

    A. I would think about that, sir.

    Q. Do you know where the convoy started from?

    A. They said the men were taken from Camp Naama.

    Q. What about the ammunition, do you know where the

    ammunition came from?

    A. They said the ammunition was from Monrovia."

    Now, Mr Sesay, did you travel with Abu Keita into Lofa County where you met two trucks loaded with 300 boxes of ammunition?

  • No, that did not happen, not at all. I did not travel together with Keita. In fact, he was not in Buedu - that he was in Buedu and I travelled with him to receive Sam Bockarie, no.

  • Mr Sesay, during your time with the RUF, do you recall any period when the RUF received a consignment of 300 boxes of ammunition?

  • No. The RUF never had a consignment that was up to 300 boxes, from 1991 right up to the end of the war, never did we have a consignment like that.

  • As far as you can recall, what was, roughly, the size of the largest consignment of ammunition the RUF ever received?

  • I can recall, like that 1991 when Mr Sankoh brought the reinforcement, that is with Antony Mekunagbe and Sam Tuah, the AK rounds were up to 100 boxes. That was the largest supply RUF ever had when they brought it to fight against ULIMOs.

  • Just so we can identify that date, how long after the start of the invasion did that consignment of 100 boxes arrive in Sierra Leone?

  • That was after six months. It was six months into the invasion but, in fact, it was mixed with G3 rounds.

  • So that was the largest consignment ever received by the RUF; is that right?

  • Yes.

  • And just so we are clear, Mr Sesay, was there ever a time when the RUF either received or captured 300 boxes of ammunition?

  • Yes. RUF captured large ammunition in Kono but the AK rounds were not up to 300. But if you put everything together, because they were mixed set of ammunition, but if you mixed - put them together they were over 300 boxes that we captured in Kono but they were not only AK rounds, they were HMG rounds, G3 rounds, calibre rounds and AK rounds.

  • Now, the second aspect of this account --

  • Sorry, Mr Griffiths, where did the detail of the AK rounds come into this? I heard a general statement of 300 boxes of ammunition. Is the witness saying it was limited to AK rounds ammunition?

  • Well, let me ask the witness. My understanding was that he was describing the quantity captured at Kono and how that was made up of different rounds. But let me ask the witness.

  • Mr Sesay, you tell us that the RUF captured a large quantity of ammunition in Kono, and you were going on to explain how that quantity was made up. Can you explain to us again, please, so that it is clear on the record.

  • Yes. You asked me if the RUF had ever received a quantity of ammunition that was up to 300 boxes, and I said, yes, we captured a large quantity of ammunition in Kono. It was up to 300 boxes but it was a mixed set of ammunitions.

  • A mix of what?

  • AK rounds, G3 rounds, HMG, that is GMG rounds, calibre rounds, BZT rounds and even 90 calibre rounds were mixed; but all of them were at the ammo dump. It was up to 300 boxes that were parked after at the ammo dump.

  • Thank you. Now, the other thing that we are told about - or these judges were told about with regard to this incident, that there were 150 man power brought in this convoy led by Sam Bockarie and that these men were later taken to Bunumbu to be trained by Monica Pearson and Colonel Morris. Now you are supposed to be present when this - when you meet this convoy in Foya. So you tell us, Mr Sesay, these men who supposedly came from Camp Naama, did you see them?

  • No. I did not see such people, no. And no other person came from Liberia to the RUF-controlled area to join the RUF, apart from Abu Keita and his men that he brought, those 20 to 25 men. And even the training base that he is talking about now that they were sent to be trained, that is not true, because immediately after the capture of Kono, that is around late January to early February, Sam Bockarie moved the training base to Bunumbu, from Bunumbu to Yengema, so there was no training there. That is a lie.

  • Excuse me. I thought I heard the witness say something about Liberia that was not translated.

  • Where do you think he said anything about Liberia?

  • It was not translated - in the last answer, we can just ask him, but I thought that something he said was not translated about Liberia but --

  • Mr Sesay, did you make mention of Liberia in your last answer?

  • Yes, I said nobody came from Liberia to Kailahun in December '98 when they were trained in Bunumbu. I said that is a lie. That did not happen.

  • Now a further detail, Mr Sesay. Do you recall Abu Keita showing either you or any other senior commander a piece of paper bearing Charles Taylor's signature assigning him to Sierra Leone?

  • No. From the time Abu Keita came in '98 until the time he left in 2001, during disarmament, he never showed me such a paper.

  • And tell me, whilst living in Buedu, did Abu Keita have access to RUF communication facilities?

  • No. I never witnessed him sending a radio message, never, in Buedu. And even when the two of us came to Makeni in October 1999, I never saw him send a radio message anywhere.

  • Did you hear of him, for example, communicating with Benjamin Yeaten over the radio?

  • No. That never happened. It did not happen in Buedu, while he was there and even the time that the two of us were there in '99, and even when the two of us went to Makeni in late '99, that did not happen, never.

  • Very well. Let me just assist you with some testimony. Page 1999, testimony of 23 January 2008. Line 8:

    "Q. When you were in Monrovia where did you see him, at

    what place or house?

    A. I saw him at Benjamin Yeaten's house but he was not in

    that meeting, sir.

    Q. When you spoke to Sam Bockarie, did he discuss what

    your assignment would be in Buedu?

    A. In Buedu he told me that the Scorpion unit - there was

    not going to be any double command on the grounds of the

    RUF. He said there would be only one command. There was

    not going to be two commands, so every one of us should

    take command from him.

    Q. When you had that discussion with Bockarie, was anyone

    else present?

    A. Yes, Jungle was there, Sampson was there, Marzah also

    was there, but then I had been informed, they said Keita,

    there is no big deal in that. We just have to cooperate.

    That was the time he came with the letter of assignment for

    me."

    He is asked to repeat the answer.

    "Q. Who came with the letter of assignment for you? Who

    gave you the letter of assignment.

    A. Sam Bockarie. Sam Bockarie. General Sam Bockarie.

    Q. When you say letter of assignment, can you explain what

    that was?

    A. When I was coming to the RUF I had not been with the

    RUF before. I said it should be in writing that I was

    going to be the commander of the Scorpion with the RUF and

    then he told me yes. From there we talked to Benjamin

    Yeaten and he told me, 'Yes, Sam Bockarie has already given

    you the document?' And I said yes, sir. Then he said,

    'Okay, that document was signed by President Taylor', and

    he said I should maintain that document very well."

    He goes on to describe it being destroyed in a fire. Page 2001, line 3:

    "Q. Then you said after you got the paper you had another

    conversation; is that correct?

    A. Yes, over a Yeasu radio."

    Are you sure he wasn't allowed to use the radio communications to communicate with Benjamin Yeaten, Mr Sesay?

  • Excuse me. The witness has not yet said that. When asked if he had access to the radio he said he never used it, so the question is leading.

  • I thought the witness said - denied earlier categorically that Abu Keita did not have access to a radio.

  • That was the evidence I heard.

  • Which would make the question admissible. Please go ahead.

  • At this point, it is page 103 on my LiveNote, the last few lines.

  • What are you pointing to? What are you alluding to, Mr Koumjian?

  • Your Honour, the witness was asked if he had access. The question was: "Did Abu Keita have access to RUF communication facilities?" I see the witness began his answer "no", so I withdraw my objection.

  • So looking at this passage on page 2001, Mr Sesay, this statement that Abu Keita was in contact over the radio with Benjamin Yeaten, is this true or false?

  • Now, let's see if we can make some progress with the remainder of this witness's evidence before the close of play today. Let's go to page 2005 please, line 14:

    "Q. Can you tell us, when Sam Bockarie came to Buedu with

    the 300 boxes of ammunition what was the atmosphere amongst

    the RUF present in Buedu?

    A. They were very happy and then he called a muster, he

    called a meeting, and then those of us who were vanguards,

    he invited us into his house to discuss about the

    ammunition and then the plan that we should take towards

    the ammunition.

    Q. Okay. Let us take these slowly. You mentioned several

    meetings with Sam Bockarie. On that day when Sam Bockarie

    came back, what was the first meeting he had that you

    recall?

    A. The first meeting you know was not with me in

    particular, but it was the whole RUF. He called Issa Sesay

    who was in that meeting, Lawrence Womandia was there, SB

    Rogers, Lawrence Womandia, Akim, Leather Boot, and he said

    that is the material, that is the ammunition, and the

    operation is that we should take over Kono and Makeni and

    to terrorise the highway. He said because Kono was a

    strategic area for us to get arms so that the mining will

    continue.

    Q. Where did this meeting with these commanders take

    place?

    A. The meeting took place at his house and then from there

    that a vanguard meeting, which was in closed doors in his

    bedroom. The people who they call vanguards, those were

    the people who brought the war into Sierra Leone. Those

    were the ones they call the vanguards."

    He provides further clarification of that and then, when we go to page 2007, line 6:

    "Q. This first meeting that Bockarie had at the house

    after bringing the materials, you mentioned some

    commanders. Can you explain to us" - line 12 - "you said

    Bockarie said Kono was strategic, did he explain why?

    A. He said because we needed to generate funds for the

    RUF. Then the only place where we can get more resources

    to generate funds was Kono, so we could be able to do

    mining.

    Q. So after the meeting at the house you said there was a

    meeting in Bockarie's bedroom of the vanguards?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Were you allowed into that meeting?

    A. No, they never allowed me to attend the meeting, sir,

    it was only for vanguards and I was not a vanguard."

    Now let's pause there. First of all, this sequence of events, as described by the witness, does that accord with your recollection of meetings held at Bockarie's house prior to the operation which you led to capture Kono?

  • No. We did not hold a meeting in Bockarie's house.

  • Where was the meeting held?

  • The meeting was held at Waterworks and it's about half a mile plus from Buedu.

  • And help us, was Abu Keita present in any meeting to plan the attack on Kono?

  • No. He did not attend that meeting. Not at all. He was not there.

  • Well, Abu Keita was not a commander. He only came to seek refuge with Sam Bockarie. So he was not in any position to attend the meeting where we planned for the attack on Kono.

  • Line 25, page 2007:

    "Q. After the closed-door vanguard meeting was there

    another meeting?

    A. There was a muster parade, it was not a meeting, where

    all the soldiers assembled at the military grounds before

    Kaisuku's office. That was the time he instructed Issa

    Sesay that this mission - that the mission is that there

    should be no retreat, no surrender, you should make sure

    you take over Kono and Makeni. And then he said President

    Taylor said they should be very vigilant and maintain the

    ground of the RUF during that muster parade."

    What is a muster parade, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, a muster parade is when soldiers assemble at a place in the morning to offer prayers every morning and every evening to pray, and if any commander he had any information he would tell the soldiers during the muster parade. And if the soldiers or the fighters had problems they would come forward and explain themselves to the commander during a muster parade.

  • So that a muster parade would be comprised of how many men?

  • Well, that depends on the location where it is hosted but, as far as I know, a muster parade is not a place where people go and plan for attacks. It is not a place where people go and discuss military operations, like attacks. A muster parade is a prayer ground, a place where the commander will be privy to the problems that affect the fighters.

  • Now do you recall at any muster parade it being announced, or you being instructed - because you recall the witness says specifically about you:

    "That was the time he instructed Issa Sesay that this mission, there should be no retreat, no surrender. They should make sure they take over Kono and Makeni, and that they were to terrorise the highway."

    Do you recall any such instruction being given to you, Mr Sesay?

  • No. Sam Bockarie did not give any instruction during a parade before I departed to attack Kono. He did not give me any instruction during parade.

  • Was there a discussion - was there a discussion at any of the - at any meeting held prior to the attack on Kono in December 1998 as to Kono's strategic importance as a diamond producing area?

  • No, we did not discuss that. When Sam Bockarie, myself and the others - I mean myself, Sam Bockarie, Mike Lamin, SYB Rogers, Eddie Kanneh, Lawrence Womandia, Rashid Sandy, when we held the meeting at Waterworks, Sam Bockarie did not talk anything about diamond issues. He only told me that I should prepare myself to go and attack Kono.

  • Now tell me, Mr Sesay, if you weren't attacking Kono for diamonds, why was it being attacked in December 1998?

  • Well, one, we had RUF troops in Kono, since February 1998 they had been there, and ECOMOG was in Kono and Kamajors also were there. And the ECOMOG - we were fighting against the ECOMOG and the Kamajors at that time.

  • And so? I'm not sure I understand your answer, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, could you ask me the question again.

  • Of course. If the RUF were not attacking Kono in order to secure it because it was a diamond producing area, why was it attacked?

  • Well, Kono is part of Sierra Leone and, before the attack on Kono, RUF was already deployed in Kono. So if the RUF was not deployed in Kono we wouldn't have obviously decided to go and attack Kono. But the RUF was deployed in Kono and they were almost sharing part of the town with ECOMOG.

  • So are you saying attacked Kono because the RUF were there?

  • Yes, RUF were there and the ECOMOG were there and the RUF were deployed very close to ECOMOG and Sam Bockarie had said that the mercenaries that Tejan Kabbah had called for, the Sandline, they were in Kono mining. So he said we should attack Kono and destroy President Kabbah's plans.

  • That means remove the Sandline miners?

  • Yes, ma'am, to remove the Sandline and the ECOMOG from Kono.

  • But isn't that what counsel is asking you? Isn't that what you're asking?

  • Let me put it in simple terms, Mr Sesay, I hope: When the capture of Kono was discussed, was the discussion about "We need to seize Kono to get diamonds" or was it about seizing Kono for any other reason?

  • Yes. The attack on Kono, like Sam Bockarie said it, he said President Kabbah had brought mercenaries and those are the Sandlines, they were the ones helping him to fight against the RUF. So he said we should seize Kono so that we will sabotage President Kabbah's plan together with the Sandlines.

  • Okay. Now, according to this witness, you had been instructed to terrorise the highway. Did you terrorise Kono after you captured it?

  • No. I did not terrorise the people of Kono because even the enemies against whom I was fighting, some surrendered and we did not kill them. So, why should I terrorise the people?

  • Thank you. Now page 2008. On that page Abu Keita also told these judges this, line 10:

    "Q. After this meeting, was there an offensive?

    A. Yes. That was the time we took the offensive against

    Kono and Makeni, and then myself, there was an operation

    from Segbwema, from Bunumbu to Segbwema to Jumo Kafebu,

    Gbava and Bendu Junction."

    Now, we had mentioned these locations before, Mr Sesay, and what I am wanting to ask you now is this: At the time you embarked upon the attack on Kono, were you aware of a simultaneous attack involving Abu Keita on the locations he told these judges about?

  • No, because before my departure to Kono, there was no plan to attack Segbwema. It was after I had captured Kono, that was when the ECOMOG withdrew from Bandajuma Yaweh, Bunumbu, Manowa, and that was the time Sam Bockarie sent Mike Lamin, telling them to attack Segbwema, but before my departure for Kono we hadn't such a plan. It was because Kono fell to us and the ECOMOG withdrew from that area, that was when Sam Bockarie said they should attack Segbwema.

  • And just to be clear, when Sam Bockarie gave that order, was it an order also directed at Abu Keita?

  • No. It was Mike Lamin that was directed by Sam Bockarie.

  • If I may enquire, Mr Sesay, this attack on Segbwema, did the 20 to 25 men that came with Abu Keita participate in that attack?

  • Yes. They went with Abu Keita, but they were not armed. I think it was Mike Lamin who gave arms to some of them during the attack on Segbwema.

  • And when they participated in this attack, they did so under whose command?

  • They did it under Mike Lamin's command because Mike Lamin was the commander in charge of the attack.

  • Mr Sesay, are you saying that 20 to 25 men went on an attack with their two hands the one length and nothing in those hands?

  • No, my Lord. I said during the attack some of them were issued arms by Mike Lamin, but, my Lord, we used to go on a fight, on an attack, we have some armed men and some are not armed. Sometimes we only have 80 armed men or we have 50 unarmed men.

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to repeat that area slowly?

  • Mr Sesay, you have to explain this again to us. The interpreter could not catch up with you. We need to understand how unarmed men can go on an attack. It is interesting. Explain please.

  • My Lord, that is something very common within the RUF, that when the RUF plan an attack, you will have the armed men and you know the amount of the armed men, and you will have the unarmed men, and the unarmed men, they will be at the rear during the attack, behind the armed men. If fighters got wounded, the unarmed men would collect them and take them to the rear, and then they will be able to get treatment. It was not everybody in the RUF, not all fighters carried guns. We have so many unarmed men.

  • Now, the witness continues, that same page, page 2008, line 28:

    "Q. Just so we have an idea, about how long before Kono

    Town fell did Sam Bockarie come back with the 300 boxes of

    ammunition?

    A. When Sam Bockarie came, that was the time he said the

    materials have come, and that was the time the offensive

    started.

    Q. We're just trying to get an idea of approximately how

    much time before Christmas day, before Kono fell, did Sam

    Bockarie come with the ammunition, how many days, or

    weeks, or months. Can you estimate?

    A. I am unable to estimate that, sir.

    Q. How soon after Sam Bockarie came with the ammunition

    did the operation start?

    A. Just when he came with the ammunition. There was no

    wasting time. The operation started straight. It was only

    the meeting that he had in Buedu. Immediately after the

    meeting, Issa Sesay was dispatched.

    Q. Where was Issa Sesay sent?

    A. Issa Sesay was sent to Kono, along with Morris Kallon

    and Akim.

    Q. Akim the SLA?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Sir, during this offensive did you play a part in that

    offensive?"

    And he goes on to repeat what I mentioned earlier, but then this, line 24:

    "A. Gbava. And then Sam Bockarie further instructed that

    if any air raid took place, we should burn down the place

    if there was any resistance.

    Q. Was Sam Bockarie's order to burn down if there is any

    resistance, was that carried out?

    A. Yes, yes."

    Do you recall such an instruction being given by Sam Bockarie, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, during the meeting that we held for the attack on Kono, Sam Bockarie did not give such an instruction, and when I attack Kono, they had burnt down Kono since April/May of 1998. So when I attacked Kono, starting from Kono up to Makeni, there was no village that we burned down on the way because we went through towns but we did not burn down any house.

  • Can we go to page 2020 please, line 1:

    "Q. Sir, where were you when the attack on Freetown

    happened?

    A. When the attack on Freetown happened, I was in Buedu.

    Q. Where was Sam Bockarie?

    A. Sam Bockarie was in Buedu. That was the time I told

    you that he came with those jeans, trousers and T-shirts

    and the car.

    Q. How did you become aware of what was happening in

    Freetown?

    A. At 3 o'clock we listened to BBC Focus on Africa, and

    one commander spoke from Freetown saying that they were in

    control of State House. Sam Bockarie became angry. He

    called up Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon, asking them why

    they should allow someone to call the BBC while he, the

    commander, has not called the BBC."

    Did you receive such a call from Sam Bockarie at the time of the Freetown invasion, Mr Sesay?

  • No. I did not get such a call. Sam Bockarie did not call me, because how could have Sam Bockarie called me to ask me - to tell me to ask another commander to call the BBC, when I was not in Freetown and he was not a commander or part of the people who attacked Freetown. No.

  • "A. Then from there, he himself called the BBC when they

    were in Buedu. He was speaking to Robin White over the

    satellite phone. He shot and said, 'We are coming around

    the State House,' but we were in Buedu."

    Now, at the time of the Freetown invasion, Mr Sesay, where were you physically?

  • I was in Makeni.

  • Was it your habit at that time to listen to the BBC?

  • Yes, sometimes I listened to the BBC.

  • Do you recall, during the course of the Freetown invasion, hearing Sam Bockarie on the BBC speaking to Robin White?

  • And what did Bockarie say during the course of that broadcast?

  • Bockarie was claiming that those were his men and they opened fire around him, and when Robin White asked him where the firing was coming from, he said, "If there is any bush shaking, he will comb that bush." So he was just being boastful, but realistically, the men who attacked Freetown did not take any instructions from him.

  • Mr Interpreter, if there is any bush, what?

  • If there is any bush shaking, he said he will comb the bush.

  • Meaning what? What does that mean?

  • Perhaps I should ask the witness.

  • What does that phrase mean, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, that was just something that he said. For example, if someone is passing by the wayside and there is a shake that goes on in the bush, maybe he will feel there is an ambush there. Then we will just open fire there and shoot into the bush. So that was what he was saying, that if there was any bush shaking, he would just comb the bush with the guns, because I recall when he was speaking with Robin White, he instructed his bodyguards to open fire, so Robin white overheard the firing and he asked, he said, "What is that?" And he said, "Up to this moment there is firing going on."

  • Where was Bockarie physically at the time he gave that interview?

  • Bockarie was far off in Buedu, whilst the people were in Freetown.

  • So the witness is saying that Bockarie was claiming that the people in Freetown were his men, and he asked the men actually beside him to fire, to convince Robin White that he was in Freetown.

  • That is my understanding of the witness's testimony.

  • Is that right, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, ma'am. That was what he was claiming, that he was amongst the attackers.

  • So, in effect, he was masquerading that he was in Freetown, when in fact he was in Buedu at the time asking his bodyguards around him to give the impression that they were actually fighting in Freetown; is that correct?

  • Yes, that is what happened.

  • May I ask why he would do that? Why was Bockarie trying to pretend that he was in Freetown?

  • My Lord, Sam Bockarie is a boastful man. He was just bluffing, because he had access to the satellite. He just wanted to make himself as though he was powerful and to make himself fearful to the world.

  • Yes, but why in particular Freetown? Why?

  • Well, my Lord, Freetown is the seat of power. It's the city. Freetown is one of the most - is the most important city in Sierra Leone, it is the seat of power.

  • Mr Griffiths, are you moving on to a new topic, because there is a matter I intended to clarify in the previous topic concerning Kono when the witness said they had burnt it down - page 116, line 14 - but I don't know who the "they" is.

  • Very well.

  • You say that by the time you captured Kono it had already been burnt down, Mr Sesay. Who by?

  • Yes, my Lord, during the retreat of the RUF/AFRC in Kono in May, whilst the ECOMOG were advancing, that - at that time the AFRC and the RUF took part in the burning of Kono and of course the ECOMOG and the Kamajors who were advancing, they also were sending bombs into Kono and the Alpha Jets also was bombing Kono. Because I heard one time when Superman complained to Sam Bockarie that the fighters don't go to the battlefront to fight, that is the RUF fighters, and Bockarie told Superman that any fighter that refuses to go to the battlefront to fight, they should burn down his house. So the RUF went on with the burning of the houses at that time, including the AFRC. And the ECOMOG too, whilst they were advancing to take over Kono, they were bombing.

  • Let's see if we can complete one other short topic before we have to draw stumps today. Let me just read the passage out to you and then seek your comment. Page 2024 please, line 9:

    "Q. When you were with the RUF did you become aware of any

    strategies to deal with attacks from jets?"

    Line 19:

    "A. The strategy was the monitor. Zedman monitored the

    radio stations from the Nigerian ECOMOG who were based in

    Lungi. Also Memunatu and Seta, they monitored from

    Monrovia. If a jet takes off from Monrovia on the RIA,

    because Victor Malu who was the first commander was staying

    in Monrovia, so they will call 448, so the radio operator

    would ring a bell and everybody would escape. That was the

    only strategy that I knew about."

    Were you aware of such a strategy, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. I knew that - I knew it but the people whose names he had made mention of, he lied on them, because with Zedman, that strategy only works with an operator that knew the Morse code operation and Zedman did not know about the Morse code. It was only the SLA who knew about the Morse code communication. And even Zedman throughout out '98, '99 he was not based in Buedu, you see. It was one SLA who was monitoring the set in Buedu who used to monitor the activities of the ECOMOG and the Alpha Jets.

  • What was the name of that SLA?

  • I do not recall his name now. I do not remember his name, but he was in Buedu. He was monitoring the set and he would take the message to Sam Bockarie and --

  • So in what format were the ECOMOG messages transmitted, was it radio messages or Morse code?

  • It was through Morse code. It was through Morse code on their net, but they were using the Thompson radio. It was a Thompson radio that the operator was using, together with another set that he used to monitor messages from the ECOMOG. So if he knew - he knew the Morse code communication, so he was decoding it. When he got it he would decode it and bring it over to Sam Bockarie. But no RUF operator knew about that communication, so RUF was unable to do that.

  • And one final matter, if we could deal with this briefly. Were Memunatu and Seta in Monrovia also involved in monitoring the movement of ECOMOG jets?

  • No. Memuna was not monitoring the ECOMOG jets because she could not monitor the Morse communication because she did not know about it. And Seta was not an operator. She never became an operator, in fact. And Seta was Jungle's wife. She was not an operator. And from February to December '98 - from March to December '98, the Alpha Jet was flying from Lungi, it was no longer flying from Monrovia. It was in 1997 to January/February of '98 that the Alpha Jets started coming from Monrovia, but from March of '98 it was flying from Lungi airport and assaulting Kailahun, Kono and RUF positions, bombarding those areas.

  • Thank you very much, Mr Sesay. Would that be a convenient point, Madam President?

  • Yes, indeed. Mr Sesay we have come to the day's end and I would like to caution you not to discuss your evidence. We will continue tomorrow at 9 o'clock.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.33 p.m. to be reconvened on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 9.00 a.m.]