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

  • Good morning, Mr Sesay.

  • Yes, good morning.

  • Mr Sesay, you will recall that yesterday afternoon when we adjourned, we had reached the stage where you were telling us about an injury you had sustained in November 1994. Do you recall that? Was it December 1994?

  • Yes, it's December of '94.

  • And you went on to tell us that - and I'm looking at page 43705 of yesterday's transcript - that you remained as a commander to November 1995 when you went to the Ivory Coast and then Foday Sankoh appointed Peter Vandi as area commander. And then I asked you this: "You mentioned a name Fayia Musa earlier and also mentioned the fact that he went to the Ivory Coast." You said: "Yes, he was a member of the external delegation."

    Now I want to ask you about that topic of the external delegation. How did that delegation come about, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, first let me say November 1993 to December when Foday Sankoh was leaving the Koindu area to come to Giema, Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh, David Kallon, and Konomanyie, Alhaji Kamara, Pa Kamara, and Philip Palmer, all of us were in that border between Bendu and the Liberian border. So sometime in - that is around April/May, Foday Sankoh sent a message that Fayia Musa and Deen-Jalloh should transfer to Giema. So they were in Giema throughout to December when Foday Sankoh sent a message, he spoke to Fayia Musa and he spoke to Deen-Jalloh and Philip Palmer on the radio and he told them that they should organise themselves to go to the Ivory Coast as external delegation so that they will be able to contact Foday Sankoh and Foday Sankoh's good friends, because in 1992 Foday Sankoh was not going out. So he set up the external delegation so that they would be able to spread out his contacts to establish the RUF to the outside world.

    So in that December, Foday Sankoh said he would send somebody. He sent Sam Kolleh with some money, that he should give the money to Fayia Musa and others as their transport fare and their feeding and rent while they will be in the Ivory Coast. So Sam Kolleh arrived in Giema and gave me the money, and so I invited Fayia Musa and Deen-Jalloh and gave them the money. And the remaining money, Foday Sankoh told me that I should purchase rice and medicine for the civilians and the RUF in Kailahun. So he said I should go and accompany them at the border, because at that time Philip Palmer, Alhaji Kamara, Konomanyie and Pa Kallon were in that Koindu area, Pumudu. So Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh and myself, together with Deen-Jalloh's wife, we travelled from Giema on foot and we met those in Pumudu. And the following day Foday Sankoh spoke to them as a delegation. That is Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh, Dr Barrie - no, Dr Barrie wasn't there at that point. Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh, Alhaji Kamara, Konomanyie, and Philip Palmer, including Deen-Jalloh's wife; six of them. So Foday Sankoh spoke to the five men. He did not speak to the woman on the radio. He said they should get prepared, and the following morning I should accompany them to the Guinea border, and at the same time we should contact our business contractors at the border so they would receive them and take them to Gueckedou. So we sent the contractor at the Guinea border who contacted Mamie I Brown, that is late CO Brown's wife.

    So on that very day we were not - we could not go because we did not hear from the contractor. So the following day --

  • Your Honours, can the witness speak slowly and repeat from this point.

  • Mr Sesay, you've not been doing too badly for speed, but please slow down a bit more. The interpreter can't keep up with you. Now, start where you were talking about CO Brown's wife. You contacted Mamie I. Continue from there, please, slowly.

  • Yes, sir. Yes, my Lord. I said we sent the contractor and the contractor contacted Mamie I Brown. She was in Guinea. She was our business partner. So I Brown made arrangements. She had a vehicle to come and pick the delegation - the delegates at the border. So when we got the information, I escorted them the following day until we got to the border and they boarded the canoe and they crossed over into Guinea. So when they went there, they went to Gueckedou. But after there, I don't know what happened. The security got the information so they arrested Alhaji Kamara and Philip Palmer.

  • Now, you've taken us through a lot there, Mr Sesay. What I would like to do, please, is to break that down into one or two categories so that we can clarify matters. Now, first of all, when --

  • Yes, sir. Let me just explain this area. When the two people were arrested, the other four people continued their journey and they went to Ivory Coast. So Alhaji Kamara was detained in Gueckedou and Philip Palmer was taken to Conakry, but later Alhaji Kamara was released and Philip Palmer also was released in '95, I think around March '95.

  • I'm grateful for that, Mr Sesay. Now, as I said and mentioned earlier, I would like certain clarifications, please. Now, first of all, when was it that this decision was made to create an external delegation?

  • It was in December that Foday Sankoh made a decision. He contacted Fayia Musa and others, and they too were in support of the idea. Early December '94.

  • Now, secondly, who originated the idea of establishing this external delegation?

  • Well, that was an idea that flowed from among Deen-Jalloh, Fayia Musa and Foday Sankoh, because those three used to have dialogue on the radio before that December. While he was in Zogoda, those were the ones who were in Giema together with myself.

  • And the next point is this: Why was it thought necessary to establish such an external delegation?

  • Like I said earlier, I said from '92 Foday Sankoh did not travel out so he did not have any outside contacts. So the RUF at that time only depended on captured materials, captured arms, and nobody outside the RUF-controlled area knew what the RUF stood for and knew what the RUF was doing. So that was why Foday Sankoh deemed it necessary that those civil administrators should go to the Ivory Coast as external delegation.

  • So if I understand the point you're making, there had been this period of isolation from 1992 down to December 1994, and consequently it was thought necessary to get out the message as to what the RUF stood for. Is that the position?

  • Excuse me, your Honour, objection. Counsel is suggesting answers to the witness. The witness should make his own explanation.

  • I am merely seeking to summarise the evidence given by the witness, nothing more.

  • If the evidence is given, it's asked and answered.

  • Mr Griffiths, perhaps you should move on in such a way that you don't - you don't suggest phraseology. Yes.

  • You said earlier during the course of the narrative, Mr Sesay, that the idea was that these individuals would meet with Foday Sankoh's good friends in the Ivory Coast. Do you recall that? I hope I'm not misstating the evidence. Do you recall telling us that?

  • Yes. I said those external delegates were to go out and meet with Foday Sankoh's friends, and at the same time that they would be able to spread out the RUF message and to explain to people what the RUF stood for, because from '92 the RUF had had a cut-off because the world did not know what was going on. Nobody knew what the RUF stood for. So that was why Foday Sankoh deemed it fit that the external delegation would go out and reach out to people, contact other people, those who were sympathisers and friends of Foday Sankoh.

  • Did you know who these goods friends of Foday Sankoh were in the Ivory Coast?

  • Well, yes. I knew the move the delegation was making because I went to the Ivory Coast myself in '95 November, so I knew what they had been doing from '94 up to time. And even after that time when Foday Sankoh got there I know where he visited.

  • We'll come to that later but my question is this: Who were these friends of Foday Sankoh in the Ivory Coast?

  • Mr Griffiths, the witness didn't say the friends were in the Ivory Coast, did he? I'm looking for the text where the witness said these were friends in the Ivory Coast. I think they were generally friends. Friends out there.

  • Well, if I could be afforded a moment. I was looking at page 10 line 1:

    "He told them they should organise themselves to go to the Ivory Coast as external delegation so that they will be able to contact Foday Sankoh and Foday Sankoh's good friends because in 1992 Foday Sankoh was not going out."

  • That doesn't mean the friends were necessarily in the Ivory Coast or limited to the Ivory Coast.

  • Very well. Let me clarify it:

  • Where were these good friends, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, at this time that Foday Sankoh was sending the people, the friends were not in Ivory Coast at that time. It was later that they befriended people in the Ivory Coast, but at that time, like, the Libyan government was a friend to Mr Sankoh, including the Libyan leader. And Burkina Faso, they too were friends to Mr Sankoh. And even the Libyan ambassador who was in Ghana was a friend of Mr Sankoh's. So the delegation was actually sent to those people by Mr Sankoh and they assisted the delegations. They gave us something towards their welfare, shelter, and even the movement, in terms of finance. So it was later - that was late '95 that the delegation created friends with certain authorities in the Ivorian government, like the Foreign Minister Mr Amara Essy, and not some other people that led to the Abidjan - the Yamoussoukro peace talk, sorry.

  • Now taking things slowly, the Libyan ambassador who was in Ghana, do you know the name of that individual?

  • Yes, but I forgotten the name. There was one who was called Alie Talasie. The other one, I've forgotten the name now, because those are the two people they contacted.

  • Mr Interpreter, what did you say? Called who?

  • I said the one was Alie Talasie. But the one who was the ambassador in - you know, Alie Talasie was responsible for African Affairs, I think Ambassador for African Affairs from Libya. Then they had the ambassador who was in Accra who dealt with Fayia Musa and others, but I've forgotten the name.

  • And can you help with us a spelling for Talasie, please, Mr Sesay?

  • I think it is A-L-I-E T-A-L-A-S-I-E.

  • I'm grateful. Now, you've mentioned that those friends were the Libyan leader, Burkina Faso, and the Libyan Ambassador in Ghana. Now help us. You had trained in Liberia, had you not, at Camp Sokoto?

  • So why was the external delegation being sent to Ivory Coast and not Liberia?

  • Well, I told you yesterday - I said in court yesterday that when Dopoe Menkarzon had withdrawn the Liberians, Mr Sankoh became unhappy with Mr Taylor, and he was disgruntled, and they had no dealings - he had no dealings with Mr Taylor. But Mr Sankoh used to say that he would never have any business to do with Mr Taylor and that he was going into the jungle, so he had made up his mind from that time - up to this time, when he decided to send the delegation outside in December '94.

  • So let me ask you this quite bluntly: We've reached this stage in discussing Mr Sankoh's good friends, and you've listed the Libyan leader, Burkina Faso, and the Libyan Ambassador in Ghana. Was Mr Taylor a good friend of Mr Sankoh at this time?

  • No, at this time they were not good friends because I never heard that the delegation went to Liberia. He never sent them to Mr Taylor.

  • And in order to get to the Ivory Coast through which country did they travel?

  • They passed through Guinea. It was through Guinea. When they left Sierra Leone they crossed the river into Guinea. So it was in Gueckedou, Guinea, that Philip Palmer and Alhaji Kamara were arrested, so the remaining four went to the Ivory Coast. Alhaji Kamara, when he was released, he did not go to the Ivory Coast, nor did he come back to the RUF until 2000 when Foday Sankoh was in Freetown. That was when he came back to rejoin Foday Sankoh. Philip Palmer, when he was released, he went to the Ivory Coast to join the external delegation. And this time, when the delegation was in Ivory Coast, some other people grew interest to contact the external delegation. They said they had interest in the RUF. Like one Mr Omrie Golley, he came from England, and he came to the Ivory Coast and met with the external delegation, and one Dr Sebo, he too came to meet with the delegation in the Ivory Coast. He was working with the International Alert. Some other people also used to come right up to the peace talks.

  • Now, by what date was this external delegation established in the Ivory Coast?

  • Well, I cannot tell you the exact date but I will tell you the month that I escorted them. It was around the second week, between the 10th and the 20th of December, when I accompanied them to the Guinea border and they crossed over.

  • From the 10th to the 20th December of which year?

  • I'm grateful. Now, how did things develop, so far as that external delegation is concerned, in the Ivory Coast? Can you take us through it slowly, please?

  • Well, I think I forgot the name Konomanyie, Pa Konomanyie, he was among the delegation. So when they arrived they were in Danane. They rented out - they rented houses and they were staying there up to sometime in '95 - no, at this time in '94 some of the delegates' wives Foday Sankoh said should go. Like Fayia Musa's wife went, and Pa Kallon's wife too left Liberia and went - no, I think she was in Ivory Coast as a refugee, Mamie I. So she just met up with her husband. So from there she was coming from there coming to Guinea to buy ammunition and she would take them to Koindu and receive them and she would take some other things to us like medicine, food and some other stuff for us. She used to do that, going to Guinea, coming to the Sierra Leonean border and going back to Danane. Up to 1995, 1995 Mamie I was arrested. She was arrested and brought to Conakry and the Guinean government handed her over to the Sierra Leonean government and she was brought to Freetown. So the delegation was there, and around 1995 Dr Sebo himself came to Ivory Coast from England and he spoke to Mr Sankoh.

  • Pause there. By what means did he communicate with Mr Sankoh?

  • The delegation had a radio set, a field radio, and they had an operator called Stephen Kamanda. He was with them.

  • And what was the nature of that conversation, if you know?

  • Well, at the initial stage they did not monitor the communication, but, when they travelled, they agreed that Mr Sankoh should invite Mr Sebo and he will come to visit him where he was. So Philip Palmer brought him from Ivory Coast through Guinea and they came to the Sierra Leonean border and they crossed over into Sierra Leone and they met me in Giema. When they met me there, Philip Palmer introduced the man to me, Dr Sebo, and he told me their mission, that they had been in communication with the Pa, so it was the Pa who allowed them to visit him. That is Foday Sankoh. So I said okay, now that they have gone there late in the day, the following morning I will let them to talk to Mr Sankoh.

    So the following morning I took them to the radio set and they spoke to Mr Sankoh. After they had spoken, Mr Sankoh was happy about their arrival. So he instructed me to organise an armed escort team to escort them at Peyima. That is the other jungle. So Peyima would be responsible for escorting them to the receiving point and Mr Sankoh would send a receiving team to receive them. Dr Sebo brought a satellite phone and he had video cameras and they went.

  • Can I ask you, please, Mr Sesay, when did this event occur, the arrival of Dr Sebo from International Alert?

  • This was between - I think between March and April 1995.

  • And you say that Dr Sebo brought a satellite phone and video cameras with him, yes?

  • What happened to the satellite phone brought by Dr Sebo?

  • Well, when he brought it, he went with it to Mr Sankoh at Zogoda and he took photos of him and he recorded using the video camera. From there they returned from Zogoda and they passed through Giema and they returned to the Ivory Coast.

  • But what happened to the satellite phone?

  • The satellite phone was left with Mr Sankoh. That was what he used to communicate with Dr Sebo and some other people.

  • Now help us. Prior to Dr Sebo bringing that satellite phone, did the RUF have access to such technology?

  • No, that was the first time for Mr Sankoh to have a sat phone.

  • As far as you're aware, Mr Sesay, what was the purpose of Dr Sebo's visit?

  • According to my understanding at that time Mr Sebo's visit was for him to make the international community know what the RUF was about.

  • And who had organised for Dr Sebo to go into the jungle to meet with Foday Sankoh? Who had made those arrangements?

  • It was the external delegation.

  • Prior to this visit by Dr Sebo, had the RUF hitherto had contact with the outside world?

  • Well, except the delegation, that is to Mr Sankoh's friend, but minus that, no.

  • And so far as Mr Sankoh is concerned, what was the upshot of the meeting between him and Dr Sebo?

  • Well, Mr Sankoh too was interested in the international community's knowing about his cause and what the RUF stood for because in that meeting they discussed that they should write a book and that was suggested in their meeting at Zogoda, because when they returned that was what Dr Sebo and Philip Palmer told me. So Mr Sankoh told them that. You know, Philip Palmer was a senior man and he was a military attache to the external delegation. Foday Sankoh told them that when they would return they should prepare a book and bring it to Mr Sankoh at Zogoda so he would go through it and the book would be launched and the book would be called Footpaths to Democracy.

  • That book Footpaths to Democracy, Mr Sesay, have you seen it?

  • Yes, I saw it.

  • When did you first see it?

  • When the idea was brought up at Zogoda they came and passed through to Ivory Coast. So the external delegation, these were educated people, Philip Palmer, Deen-Jalloh, Fayia Musa, Dr Barrie and even David Kallon. They were the ones who sat together and they wrote the proposals. Then around June Deen-Jalloh, Fayia Musa, David Kallon, left the Ivory Coast and they came. They passed through Giema and I gave them escort and they went to Peyima. They met Mr Sankoh. And whatever they had written Mr Sankoh went through. So they - the book was approved for it to be launched. So it was after '95 that I saw the book. The book was launched in '96. That was when it was published.

  • So when you say that around June Deen-Jalloh and others passed through Giema, June of which year?

  • June '95. Early June '95. That was when they passed through and they returned in late June, because in fact on that day they came around June 27 - no, June 25 in Giema, because I'll never forget that date.

  • Was the publication of that book preceded by debate within the RUF as to its contents?

  • When they went to Zogoda to meet Mr Sankoh I wasn't present, so they discussed. From their discussion the idea continued. The idea progressed and Mr Sankoh met them in Ivory Coast and the book was published.

  • You say that in 1996 you saw that book, Mr Sesay?

  • At that time the book had not yet been published. The draft was written from the Ivory Coast. The external delegation went and - with Mr Sankoh they went through it. I don't actually recall when it was formally launched. Maybe it was late '95 or early '96. I don't recall. It was a small book, a booklet.

  • Have you read the book, Mr Sesay?

  • As far as you're concerned, does that book reflect the philosophy of the RUF?

  • Well, this was not a collective idea from all the RUF commanders. It was just the external delegation, the leader. They were the ones who prepared the book. And the leader was the head of the organisation because with time some other people used to grumble around that it was too early for that book to be launched at that time.

  • But what was your own personal view?

  • Well, my personal thoughts were that - even according to some of my friends when we would sit together and discuss, we were thinking that Mr Sankoh and the external delegation's idea --

  • Your Honours, can the witness explain what he means by "too fast"? Your Honours, can the witness --

  • Please pause, Mr Sesay. The interpreter is trying to say something.

  • Your Honours, the witness used an expression that the idea was too fast. I don't know what that means.

  • Mr Sesay, can you repeat your answer or your evidence from where you say - the lawyer asked you what was your personal view - personal thoughts on this book as to whether it reflected the policy and ideology of the RUF.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said that was the idea of Mr Sankoh's and the external delegation. They were the ones who wrote the book. It was not a collective idea from all the RUF commanders. And Mr Sankoh's policy, who owned the organisation, was what was portrayed in the book. But I said myself and some of my friends who were more educated than myself, we used to say that you know this book that this Pa has said should be launched, Mr Sankoh cannot challenge the international community or the colonial masters when he has not had control over the country at this time. And nobody should dictate to Sierra Leone. If the book thinks like that, nobody should take things from Sierra Leone. You know, you put the cart before the horse.

  • I wonder if the witness could now be shown, please, D-336.

  • While the witness is being shown the exhibit, I'm sure that this will be picked up, but at line 17 of page 24 LiveNote has the words "he would not challenge the international community or the colonial masters when he was not happy to live in the country." I think what the interpreter said was "when he was not in control of the country."

  • That's precisely what was said:

  • Mr Sesay, do you recognise this document?

  • Yes, this is the book, paths to democracy.

  • And after the publication of this book, tell me was it widely disseminated amongst members of the RUF?

  • Well, the copies for us in Kailahun, it was not everybody that was able to have one.

  • And was it openly discussed by members of the RUF after its publication?

  • Well, it was not criticised openly. But like commanders, like officers, when we sit together, those that were not in favour would make comments. They would say that this book is too early to be published for the RUF to show their intentions to the world that if they are able to get power what they intend to do. So the senior officers and the educated ones amongst us, we used to make those comments. But we could not tell Mr Sankoh that one because they had already taken decision together with the external delegation.

  • I would like us to look quite quickly, please, to the foreword to this publication:

    "We can no longer leave the destiny of our country in the hands of a generation of crooked politicians and military adventurists. It is our right and duty to change the present political system in the name of national salvation and liberation. This task is the historical responsibility of every patriot. We must be prepared to struggle until the decadent, backward and oppressive regime is thrown into the dustbin of history. We call for national democratic revolution - involving the total mobilisation of all progressive forces. The secret behind the survival of the existing system is our lack of organisation. What we need then is organised challenge and resistance. The strategy and tactics of this resistance will be determined by the reaction of the enemy forces - force will be met with force, reasoning with reasoning, and dialogue with dialogue. Basic document of the RUF."

    Now, Mr Sesay, that basic document of the RUF, did that feature in ideology training at Camp Sokoto?

  • Yes, to say that the system should be changed from the politicians, yes.

  • Now, when we continue we see that the publication continues:

    "We entered Sierra Leone through Liberia and enjoyed the sympathy of Sierra Leonean migrant workers, some of whom joined us to cross the border to start our liberation campaign. This generation of Sierra Leoneans who have had to migrate to make a living in Liberia are now referred to as 'mercenaries and bandits' by the Freetown-based military junta. The military junta has also used this fact to gain support from Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana, the US and Britain in its avowed policy of war to rid Sierra Leone of 'alien rebels.'"

    Pause there. Were you a migrant worker in Ivory Coast when were you recruited, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, I travelled to the Ivory Coast. That was when Mr Sankoh contacted us. But I did not go to Liberia. I wasn't in Liberia before the war.

  • Now, why had you, a Sierra Leonean, migrated to Ivory Coast?

  • I said yesterday that there came a time when things were very difficult with my father to take care of our educational needs, my brothers and my sisters and myself, so that's why I left.

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

  • Please pause, Mr Witness. You were telling us about the difficulties with your family. You need to slow down a bit, for the interpreter's sake. Now start again with your family, please.

  • Yes, my Lord. I said when the lawyer asked me, I said I told the Court yesterday that I had difficulty with support from my father because my father was working with the Ministry of Works and there were times it could take up to three months or four months they will not pay them their salary, so that's why I decided to go to my sister. That's how I discontinued my education, because things were difficult with my father. I was not the only son there. I had my sisters and my brothers to take care of.

  • Now, bearing that in mind, your reason for going to Ivory Coast, when you returned to Sierra Leone with the RUF, did you consider yourself a mercenary and a bandit?

  • Well, no, I did not consider myself to be a mercenary because I'm a Sierra Leonean. A mercenary is a foreigner who comes from another country to fight in another country; that's a mercenary, and I was not a bandit. Because when the war started it was a civilian who lodged me. I was at SYB Rogers's house right up to the time we were pushed to Pendembu.

  • Mr Sesay, in light of what we've just read I'm asking you bluntly: Why did you, a Sierra Leonean, decide to invade your own country militarily? I'm not asking what was said to you by Foday Sankoh. I'm interested in why you, Issa Sesay, decided to take that step. Do you follow me?

  • Well, it was the system that caused that, because at the initial stage I did not know what Sankoh stood for, but when we came to Cuttington at Naama, that's when he explained that it was about to organise a revolution. And, when he explained, I saw myself in the picture that oh, no, what this Pa is saying, if my father was having his salary I don't think I would have abandoned my father's place for my sister's and discontinued my education, because if my father was able to sustain me and my siblings to further our education, there was no reason for me to have gone to my sister. But because my father could not pay for my educational needs that's why I had to leave him.

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

    "We do not deny the fact that some of those who volunteered to join our cause were veterans of the Liberian civil war but majority were of Sierra Leonean parentage. However, this minor 'alien' involvement in our just and human cause was curtailed as early as May 1992 when it became a nightmarish experience for our civil population. Ever since we have fought a self-reliant war, depending mainly on what we capture from the troops of the rebel NPRC of the regimes in Nigeria, Guinea and Ghana and of the United Liberation Movement For Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO).

    The RUF/SL is surrounded on all sides by hostile forces."

    Now, where in that first paragraph mention is made of a nightmarish experience for our civil population, what's that a reference to, Mr Sesay?

  • Please repeat the question.

  • Where at the top of that page reference is made to a nightmarish experience for our civil population, what is that a reference to? Maybe if we go back to the previous page to get the context:

    "We do not deny the fact that some of those who volunteered to join our cause were veterans of the Liberian civil war, but the majority were of Sierra Leonean parentage. However, this minor 'alien' involvement in our just and human cause was curtailed as early as May 1992, when it became a nightmarish experience for our civil population."

    What happened in May 1992?

  • May 1992, that was when the Liberians were withdrawn, and what I understood was that the NPRC used to tell people what the previous governments were saying, that it was the Liberians who had come to invade Sierra Leone, that they had brought the war to Sierra Leone. And, at the end of the day, even the Liberians, we had problems with them, so Foday Sankoh asked that the Liberians return and we would continue the war. And the Liberians who stayed, some of them had Sierra Leonean connections. Some of them were born at the border. Like, for example, there was some RUF who were vanguards and some of them were NPFL fighters from Foya right up to around - from Foya right up towards Mosquito's village. I've forgotten the name. Bockarie's village. All that area, it's the Sierra Leonean end. It's Kissi - but even when you cross over to Liberia end, that is Kissi as well, so some people - some people's mothers are Sierra Leoneans and their fathers are Liberians, so because they are all Kissi people. So if you continue towards that village, that is towards Nyandehun Mambaabu, right up to - these are Gbandi people, but you know Gbandi and Mende are mutually intelligible, so that's how the people were.

  • Let's go back to the text then: "So since May 1992 ever since we fought a self-reliant war." What do you understand by "a self-reliant war"?

  • Well, from May '92 the Liberians had been withdrawn, and those of us who stayed behind - and "self-reliant" means was what the RUF captured was what we used to sustain ourselves with; that is in terms of ammunition, food, the RUF did not get any support from anybody outside the borders of Sierra Leone.

  • Thank you. Let's continue then:

    "The RUF/SL is surrounded on all sides by hostile forces. To the north and west, Guinea exercises a strangle-hold on the common border. To the east and south the Liberian counties of Lofa, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount sharing a common border with Sierra Leone have been controlled by ECOMOG by way of ULIMO. The sea and air space are patrolled by ECOMOG. With the situation as it is, how do we get supplies from the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) or, for that matter, from anywhere else? The NPFL could not have lost those three strategic counties if it had sufficient arms to spare. Therefore, the theory and accusations that we receive weapons and ammunition from Libya, by way of Burkina Faso and the NPFL, and at the same time being a conduit for the supplies of materials to the NPFL are nonsense. These are calculated lies to justify the pursuit of a policy of military option by the Freetown-based military junta against our entreaties for peace through dialogue. It is an insult to every patriotic Sierra Leonean for the 'Libya card' to be played to confuse as well as betray the genuine democratic and equal opportunity demands of our people. In respect of the above, we, hereby, challenge the United States and Britain to support and see to the implementation and monitoring of our call for the UN Security Council to place a universal arms embargo on Sierra Leone, forthwith. We are tired of being demonised only to prolong the civil war which, left to themselves, the African people of Sierra Leone are capable of resolving through an enlightened process of dialogue. Now, for this process of dialogue to be successful it has to be entirely owned by the people as a vehicle for their empowerment. It has become quite clear now, even in Freetown, that the NPRC was 'introduced' to hijack the revolution and betray the cause of the uprising against a rotten plantation system which impoverished Sierra Leone while, at the same time, enriched its slave masters. Why is it therefore strange to the backers of the besieged NPRC that the historically neglected, used and abused countryside would rise up to the simple call that 'no more slave, no more master and arms to the people, power to the people and wealth to the people'. It is this rallying call that has been set to song as the RUF anthem which journalists are jailed for publishing and distributing this motivating anthem in Freetown. What is clear is that the patriotic and democratically minded Africans of Sierra Leone are waging a successful guerilla warfare using their feet and brains, footpaths and bypasses to surprise, disarm, and totally disorganise the offensive operations of the rebel NPRC. The rebel NPRC has made its priority the defeat and destruction of the RUF/SL. Why seek to defeat and as well as destroy your own brothers and sisters that you were forced into conflict with? Why inherit the destructive policies of the masters you overthrew if you mean peace when you say so? Where does the rebel NPRC want to drive us away to? Maybe this is why the regime in Guinea is fighting on the rebel NPRC side, to prevent an anticipated spillover which has never occurred because the RUF/SL has no quarrel with the people of Guinea and likewise Nigeria, Ghana and Britain.

    Our self-reliant revolution deserves a more objective study and analysis. We continue to be demonised by those who benefit by doing so. As Pan-Africanists, we are proud of our self-reliant struggle. Initially we fought a semi-conventional war relying heavily on vehicles for mobility. This method proved fatal against the combined firepower of Nigeria, Guinea and Ghana. By late 1993 we had been forced to beat a hasty retreat. A successful infiltration almost destroyed our ranks. We were pushed to the border with Liberia. Frankly, we were beaten and were on the run, but our pride and deep sense of calling would not let us face the disgrace of crossing into Liberia as refugees or prisoners of war. We dispersed into smaller units, whatever remained of our fighting force. The civilians were advised to abandon the towns and cities, which they did. We destroyed all our vehicles and heavy weapons that would retard our progress as well as expose our locations. We now relied on light weapons and on our feet, brains and knowledge of the countryside. We moved deeper into the comforting bosom of our mother earth - the forest.

    The forest welcomed us and gave us succour and sustenance. The forest continues to be our main source of survival and defence to date."

    Let me pause there, Mr Sesay. Where were the various jungles set up? In what kind of environment?

  • Well, the various jungles that were established after Mr Sankoh left Kailahun was the Zogoda Peyima Jungle. That is in Kenema District. They also established a Koribundu Jungle. They set up the Bo Highway Jungle, the Kangari Hills, the Malal Hills, which later moved to the Western Jungle. Those were the jungles. And also including the Pujehun flank. Those were the jungles. But those jungles, sometimes the people there will move from Kangari Hills, attack Kabala, and then return to Kangari Hills. And Gibril Massaquoi, he was in the Malal Hills. He would leave there, go, attack Kambia, Port Loko and then return. That was how it used to happen.

  • "We regained our composure and engaged ourselves in a sustained period of intensive self-examination and self-criticism. We moved forward with a clearly defined programme and liberation ideology. We learned from our mistakes and laboured hard to correct them. We continue to make mistakes but we are not overwhelmed by them. Our collective sense of discipline continues to mature, and the result is an effective command and control procedures and structures in our administrative territory.

    We have create settlements we call sowo bushes (ie sacred grove for the initiated). We endeavour to provide limited health care, schooling, housing and seedlings free. Our civilians receive no humanitarian assistance. Efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross to supply much-needed relief aid have been undermined by the rebel NPRC. The rebel NPRC behaves as if we are despicable aliens from another planet and not Sierra Leoneans. We bear all these deprivations with equanimity and a collective sense of purpose. We have not lost our sense of humanity. We have learnt the value of treating captives and prisoners of war with utmost civility. Our ranks keep swelling daily. We have no need to conscript by force. Forced conscription is an inferior method which tends to pose security risk in the long run. Those forcibly conscripted, when they manage to escape, lead enemy troops back to locations they are familiar with. Experience and honesty have been our best teacher.

    We do exercise limited martial rule in our liberated zone for the sake of internal security. We are religiously Godly in our bearings and beliefs. We enjoy communal prayers and communion twice daily and on all occasions prayers are said both in the Islamic and Christian ways. The people, through their own initiative, have removed doctrinal differences from their way of worship. They say if there is one God/Allah, then there ought to be one congregation. In respect of this awakening, there has emerged the Jungle United Christian Council and the Jungle United Muslim Council. The different divisions in Islam and Christianity respectively worship under one roof and under the guidance of a chief imam or priest and church mother."

    Now, that reference to religion, Mr Sesay, is that the truth?

  • Yes, it's the truth, sir.

  • "We survive by hunting, gathering and vigorous rice farming. We tend the cocoa, coffee and palm fruit and fruit farms, and we find ways to barter them for drugs, clothes, footwear, supplementary food items, schooling materials and, of course, radios, music cassettes and batteries. Sometimes we have the presence of mind to indulge our young ones with sweets and toys.

    It is our collective sense of purpose, the ideals and ideas we believe in and discipline that have brought us so close to Freetown. Oftentimes towns have fallen to our advancing troops without a single shot being fired. The rebel NPRC troops run away, leaving behind quantities of weapons and ammunition. We are blessed by God/Allah, because of our just cause. It has become crucial that the world knows that there is something happening in the Sierra Leone countryside. A change for the better has gripped Sierra Leone. A consciousness of ourselves as an enterprising people has developed because of the self-reliant struggle. We are daily diversifying our stock of food and eating habits. We are discovering new nutritional values in the flora and fauna that we have grown to respect as our embodiment. We have become proactive conservationists and we live close to and by the soil, rivers, streams, hills, valleys and mountains. In effect, we have come to know our country better and understand the potential of its pristine flora and fauna and the resources that lie underneath our soil. The developing consciousness is all-embracing and enriching. We continue to say that we are blessed and by God/Allah. We are therefore guided by a liberation theology consistent with our pride in ourselves as Africans.

    No more shall the rural countryside be reduced to hewers of wood and drawers of water for urban Freetown. That pattern of exploitation, degradation and denial has gone forever. No RUF/SL combatant or civilian will countenance the re-introduction of that pattern of raping the countryside to feed the greed and caprice of the Freetown elite and their masters abroad. In our simple and humble ways we say, 'no more slave and no more master.' That these very exploitative measures instituted by so-called central government that create the conditions for resistance and civil uprising. The importance of the 'apartheid dogs of war' Executive Outcomes, to strengthen the chosen policy of war by the rebel NPRC is a case in point."

    Let's pause there. Executive Outcomes, Mr Sesay, are you aware of that label?

  • Yes, I know that name.

  • Well, it was a mercenary company from South Africa.

  • It was the NPRC that brought them.

  • When did they bring them?

  • The witness said it was the NPRC.

  • And my question was when did they bring them?

  • The point I'm trying to make is that it shows NPFL.

  • It should be NPRC. That's what the witness said.

  • Is that right, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes. I said NPRC.

  • And when did the NPRC bring these "apartheid dogs of war" into Sierra Leone?

  • And in '95, that's when the external delegation were in Ivory Coast. Is that right?

  • Yes, at that time they were in Ivory Coast.

  • And that's when they were in Ivory Coast seeking to broker peace in Sierra Leone. Is that right?

  • Actually, that's leading and suggestive, and the witness had not testified to that.

  • Mr Griffiths, please avoid leading the witness.

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

    "The importation of the 'apartheid dogs of war', Executive Outcomes, to strengthen the chosen policy of war by the rebel NPRC is a case in point. What irks the population most is the fact that the mercenaries are businessmen to boot and they are mining away the nonrenewable resource of diamonds. If they came to fight the RUF/SL, that would not have bothered the population because they know that the 'apartheid dogs of war' will be handled the same way as the Gurkhas were disgraced to a man on the battlefield.

    As much as we continue to seek a peaceful solution to our internal civil conflict, we do not at the same time become a casualty of peace. We have every reason to mistrust military juntas, and particularly those waging war against us, even if they have mutated into mufti presidents. How they came to power and how they managed their countries are a matter for their own people. With Sierra Leone, our people continue to say no to the rotten system of the All People's Congress (APC) Party, which the rebel NPRC has inherited as a matter of course because they were the watchdogs of the APC government.

    We continue to appeal to Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana, and Britain not to interfere. We have put these concerns to song and sing them knowing that the people of these countries do not support the warring policies of the ruling elite. In this respect, we find it so reasonable to make a simple demand that all foreign troops, including military and intelligence advisers and trainers, leave the soil of Sierra Leone to give the required space for Sierra Leoneans to settle their own internal conflict. The presence of foreign troops and the importation of mercenaries indicates a continuation of a policy of war and the choice of the military option. It signals that all the declared intentions of the rebel NPRC for a negotiated settlement have been mere prattle. This also justifies our conviction that the hopes of our people for an enriching and enterprising democratic culture cannot be placed in the hands of a military junta.

    As a practical demonstration of our commitment to peace we call for a universal arms embargo to be placed on Sierra Leone forthwith. We herein appeal to the United Nations Security Council to seize itself of the grave matter" --

  • Your Honours, could counsel be advised to reduce his pace a little, please.

  • "We herein appeal to the United Nations Security Council to seize itself of the grave matter of the spread of small arms and the planting of anti-personnel mines. The constant use of heavy artillery and cluster bombs have devastated the countryside. We demand an arms embargo now in anticipation of the problems associated with disarmament and demobilisation. The RUF/SL is confident that it can disarm its freedom fighters as soon as it becomes necessary to do so. Our stringent discipline is such that every single bullet is recorded and accounted for.

    The RUF/SL is open to dialogue and has consistently demonstrated this fact by risking to meet with representatives of independent civic groups, peace movements, labour unions, teachers, students, professional bodies, religious leaders, and chiefs and elders. In late 1994 we risked to meet with a Freetown-based peace group at the Mano River Bridge, but a scouting jet bomber forced us to abandon that contact. In September 1995, we entertained the idea of trying another meeting and went ahead and spoke with some political leaders and peace activists. An independent delegation being put together was rudely interfered with by the rebel NPRC which objected to the inclusion of certain personalities. Such is the character of military juntas that seek to control every aspect of national life in order to feel secure.

    The RUF/SL seeks the path of peace. In this respect, our unilateral declaration of ceasefire announced in April 1992, as soon as the rebelling government troops seized power from their masters, still stands. We remain steadfast to this ceasefire declaration so far as we are not attacked and the civil society is allowed to determine its own future through a representative sovereign national conference leading to a people's constituent assembly which, in turn, would form a government of national unity.

    We recognise that, even in the event of a victory, the RUF/SL will have to sign a political, economic and social contract with the rest of society in keeping with the demands of democratic governance. We are democrats and we stand for progress through work and happiness. The new Sierra Leone we are striving for can only be built by the combined energy and industry of all Sierra Leoneans and others of goodwill in a programme of work and happiness drawn up by the empowered people to create that essential wealth vital to the elimination of the scourge of poverty and human degradation. Our liberation ideology and theology are therefore clear and unambiguous."

    Now, we see that is signed by Foday Saybana Sankoh at Zogoda, Sierra Leone. Taking things in stages, at the time of the publication of this book, where was Sankoh?

  • Well, Sankoh was at Zogoda. He left it - he went to Ivory Coast from Zogoda.

  • We'll come to his move to Ivory Coast in due course. But the narrative contained in that passage which I've taken a little time in going through, Mr Sesay, do you agree with the narrative as to the way in which the conflict in Sierra Leone unfolded from the time of the invasion up until the sending of the external delegation to the Ivory Coast?

  • Yes, I agree with it.

  • That during that period, from about May 1992 up until the time of this publication, the RUF struggle in Sierra Leone was a self-reliant struggle as described by you earlier; do you agree?

  • Yes, it was a self-reliant struggle.

  • We can put that document away now, please. Now, you mentioned earlier Mr Sankoh leaving Zogoda to go to the Ivory Coast. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor - sorry, Mr Sesay? Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I remember that.

  • When did Mr Sankoh go to the Ivory Coast?

  • Well, it was between February to March '96 that Mr Sankoh went to Ivory Coast. '96.

  • Secondly, why did Mr Sankoh go to the Ivory Coast?

  • After Strasser-King had been overthrown, when Maada Bio overthrew Strasser and he became Head of State and chairman of the NPRC, they then started a dialogue between the delegation and Maada Bio. So it was at that time that they start a delegation, spoke to Amara Essy that they wanted the Ivorian government to host a peace talk between the NPRC and the RUF. And then the external delegation told Mr Amara Essy that they would be able to speak to Mr Sankoh to come out and join the RUF people so that they meet with the NPRC because they showed the connections that some members of the external delegation had with Maada Bio.

  • I'll come back to Maada Bio in a moment. Why was it that when Sankoh left, he did not go to Liberia?

  • Well, I had told you that Mr Sankoh had said since '92 that at the time he was now in Kailahun, that moment he said since those people left Kailahun, he will never have any business to do with Mr Taylor. And since then he never had any business with Liberia.

  • I just want to press you a little further on that, please. You've just told me that Mr Sankoh travels to Ivory Coast in or about February/March 1996. How long did he stay in the Ivory Coast thereafter?

  • From that time he was in Ivory Coast, and in November he visited Kailahun for just two days. He came to Sierra Leone for just two days, and that was in Kailahun. And the day he arrived, he visited the Kangari Hills and the Western Jungle by helicopter. And he went back to Kailahun, he spent two days there, after which he returned to Ivory Coast until around March, when he travelled to Nigeria, where he was arrested later. And since then he did not return to Sierra Leone any more until October 1999.

  • During that period then, Mr Sesay, from February/March 1996 until October 1999, to your knowledge did Foday Sankoh ever go to Liberia?

  • No, he did not go to Liberia. I don't have any idea about that.

  • I now want to return to your mention of Maada Bio and him overthrowing Strasser. Do you remember mentioning that to us?

  • When did that occur?

  • Mmm, I think it was either November or December '95. Something like that. It was between that time, November to December '95, I think.

  • And thereafter, Mr Sesay, how long did Maada Bio, who then initiated these peace talks, how long did he stay in power?

  • Well, Maada Bio seized power from Strasser, and from then they had the meeting with Mr Sankoh around March in Yamoussoukro, and after that - because they, the armed forces, were saying in Freetown that - because I think they had a meeting that they called Bintumani I and Bintumani II. So they, the armed forces, were saying we should have peace before elections. But they said they had politicians who were the advisers to the NPRC. It was the same politicians who incited the civil society to launch a demonstration and to say that they should have election before peace. So in fact, those were the reasons why Maada Bio even went into an agreement with Mr Sankoh and said that if the politicians were forcing the election to come before peace, and he said on the day of the election the RUF should attack Bo, Kenema and Magburaka, and by then he will instruct the army to withdraw back to Freetown. And all those arrangements like they arranged with Mr Sankoh did them as they decided it --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be advised to slow down and repeat that area.

  • Please pause, Mr Sesay, you are going too quickly. The interpreter can't keep up with you. Pick up where you said, "All those arrangements that were made with Mr Sankoh did them as they decided it". Continue from there.

  • Yes, my Lord. Those arrangements with Maada Bio were undertaken by Maada Bio and the external delegation, because at that time Maada Bio, including Tom Nyuma himself, all of them were present at the Yamoussoukro talk. And by then I had also travelled to the Ivory Coast to have my medical attention, and Pa Sankoh met me at the Ivory Coast. And the meeting at Yamoussoukro, the NPRC delegation came there, including Kes Boya and the former chief of defence staff Carew, Tom Nyuma and some other officers. So it was at the reception at Hotel d'Ivoire that I, Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh and Tom Nyuma were discussing, when they said the people - the people of Freetown had a low mentality. He said they do not see things ahead. He said they are seeing things ahead. That was the reason why they were saying that we should have the peace first. They said the disarmament should go on before the election, but the politicians were looking in their own direction, just what they see.

  • Please, I don't know why you are running. Why? Why are you running with your testimony? Why can't you do what I ask, which is to slow down? It's not very difficult. If you listen to the way that the lawyer is talking to you, that is the speed at which you should speak, please.

  • Yes, my Lord. I will try.

  • Mr Sesay, just to give you some assistance, you were saying that the people - someone was saying peace before election, but the politicians were looking in their own direction, just what they see. Pick it up from there, please.

  • Yes, according to Tom Nyuma in Hotel d'Ivoire in Yamoussoukro in Abidjan, that is Cocody, myself, Fayia Musa, Tom Nyuma, Deen-Jalloh, we were discussing because they were trying to book rooms for us. That was when Tom Nyuma started talking about the peace. He said, "This peace that we have started, it would be good for us to disarm first before the elections in Sierra Leone." He said, "But the politicians, they don't want to listen to that." And those were the same politicians who sat as advisors or advisory committee to the NPRC, and they again turncoat and decided that there should be election before peace, and that was Pa Kabbah and others. And they incited people to demonstrate against the army in Freetown, and that was what led to Maada Bio to go and start up the arrangement with the external delegation, saying that if the politicians force that there should be election before peace, then he was saying that on the very day of the elections, the RUF should attack Bo, Kenema, and Freetown - I mean Bo, Kenema and Magburaka. And he said he at that time would instruct the army - the CDF and the army chief of staff to order the army to withdraw from Bo, Kenema, Magburaka and come back to Freetown.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, I just want to clarify a couple of -

  • I notice the LiveNote, one name appeared to be misspelled, and I don't know if we've had it before. Tom Nyuma. I think it's a well-known name in Sierra Leone. The interpreters could spell it.

  • It appears as "Tom Newman." Tom Nyuma is on the record before. Tom Nyuma, it's N-Y-U-M-A.

  • I'm grateful.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, let me clarify one point with you before I go back to the narrative, and it's this: You mentioned you travelling to the Ivory Coast and obtaining rooms at Hotel d'Ivoire. When did you travel to the Ivory Coast?

  • I travelled to Ivory Coast in November 1995. I went for a medical operation and they did my operation in January, so by March I could now walk. So when the delegation went there, I was there with the external delegation, Fayia Musa, Philip Palmer. In fact, I was staying in Philip Palmer's house in Danane. So all of us travelled to Yamoussoukro to see Mr Sankoh and we went on the delegation. So after that in April I was instructed to go back, so I went back to Kailahun.

  • So you were in the Ivory Coast from November 1995 until April 1996?

  • Two things. Firstly, this: That debate which you have narrated between the politicians and Maada Bio as to peace before elections or elections before peace - yes - in due course, was an election held?

  • Yes, the election was held.

  • When was the election held?

  • My Lord, I do not recall exactly because I cannot recall the exact month of the elections now, but it was something popular that took place in Sierra Leone, that day for the election - I think people should know that - and when it was pronounced later that Tejan Kabbah won the elections.

  • I can't provide you with the date, Mr Sesay, although it's a matter of public knowledge, because I've been told not to lead. So let's move on. When the election in fact took place, what did - if anything - the RUF do?

  • Well, that was what led to the amputations that took place when people's fingers were amputated during the Operation Stop Elections. Because when Foday Sankoh and Maada Bio had this agreement that if the politicians forced him in Freetown, then the RUF should attack. So it was like Maada Bio had been talking with the politicians in Freetown, but at the same time sympathetic to Mr Sankoh. Because the arrangement was that if the politicians were to put pressure on him, then the RUF should attack, and at this time the RUF was observing a ceasefire with the NPRC. So it was like what - the things he were saying were actually not being said with some faithfulness to Mr Sankoh. Because the plan was on the day of elections if the RUF attacked, he was not going to withdraw the army, and then the RUF would have been able to control Bo, Kenema, Magburaka, going towards Makeni, And then the election wouldn't have been possible.

  • Who gave the instruction --

  • Mr Griffiths, if you read your LiveNote, there's a plea from the recorders to the witness to go slow. Personally, I am tired of asking the witness to slow down. He's not listening. It's up to you now. It's your evidence. It's your witness.

  • Let's go back a little bit, Mr Sesay. If the RUF attacked, he was not going to withdraw the army and then the army would have been able to control what?

  • I said the agreement that Maada Bio had made promise of to Mr Sankoh was that if the politicians and the people in Freetown put pressure on his government, then Mr Sankoh should attack. The RUF should attack Bo, Kenema, Magburaka, and then he would then give directive to the chief of defence staff and the army chief of staff for the army to withdraw from those towns. So if the RUF were to control Bo, Kenema, Magburaka and Makeni, and then the election wouldn't have been successful, so the election wouldn't have taken place.

  • Now, did the army withdraw from Bo, Kenema, and Magburaka?

  • And when the RUF attacked, the army did not withdraw. They responded adequately. They responded to the fire power and they did not give chance to the RUF, and the army did not withdraw at all. So that was the reason that led to the amputations that took place.

  • Now, I'll come to the amputations in a moment, but I want to ask you this, first of all: Where were you at the time of the election?

  • Well, at this point in time I had travelled from Abidjan. I was now staying in Danane. And by the time I returned to Sierra Leone, it was then Pa Kabbah who was President.

  • So were you in Sierra Leone at the time of Operation Stop Elections?

  • No, I was not in Sierra Leone. I was in Danane in the Ivory Coast.

  • Who gave the order for Operation Stop Election?

  • It was Mr Sankoh who gave the order, based on the agreements that they had reached, he and Maada Bio.

  • Where was Mr Sankoh at the time that he gave that order?

  • Well, he was in Abidjan.

  • How did he transmit that order?

  • He had a radio set that he used to send messages. He would write the message, the operators will code - encode the message and then send it over, and the others there will receive it and then they will decode it.

  • How do you know about this?

  • Well, that was the system all of us used to send messages. When you wrote a message, or if your adjutant wrote a message, you will give that to your operator and the operator will encode the message and then when he send the message, the others will decode it and then hand it over to the commander for whom the message was meant.

  • Were you able to monitor the message sent by Foday Sankoh ordering Operation Stop Election?

  • Well, at that time, where I was in Danane, I could not monitor the message, but I later understood that it was Mr Sankoh who ordered the Operation Stop Elections. Because at that time when he had left and he was in Ivory Coast, he still had direct control over the RUF. Up to the time he went to Nigeria, even at the time he was arrested he still had control over the RUF. It was after he made the announcement that the RUF should join the AFRC in 1997, that was the time they stopped having communications with him. So by then he did not actually have direct grip over the RUF like the time he was in the Ivory Coast.

  • Now, what was the response of the leaders on the ground in Sierra Leone to that order Operation Stop Election?

  • Well, Mr Sankoh, from what I understood later, it was that he sent the instruction and explained to Mohamed Tarawalli. And at the time Mr Sankoh was going to the Ivory Coast, he left his satellite phone at Zogoda with Mohamed Tarawalli, and so he used to call Mohamed Tarawalli on the satellite phone and explain things to him. So he had explained to him all the development that had taken place between him and Maada Bio. So all the people who went on the different operations, they went with the confidence that if they opened fire, the army was going to withdraw, but when the army did not withdraw. So those were the things that happened during the various attacks.

  • Now, what I want to understand, Mr Sesay, and I'm seeking your assistance with, is this: There's an order to attack Bo, Kenema, Magburaka, yes? Is that right?

  • Yes.

  • With the agreement that the government troops would withdraw. Is that right?

  • In fact, when those locations were attacked, the government forces did not withdraw. Is that right?

  • And as a consequence, you've told us, the amputations began. Is that right?

  • Yes, I said it was during that operation that people's fingers were amputated. Yes, that happened.

  • Now, I've gone through that sequence for this reason. The order stop election, was that an order to attack those three locations, or was it an order to amputate people if those attacks failed; which is it?

  • Well, what I understood was that it was an order to attack those towns and after which the army would withdraw, but it was when the army failed to withdraw that they started doing the amputation.

  • But my question, Mr Sesay, is did the fact of those amputations arise spontaneously as a result of the plan not working, or was the fact of those amputations ordered by someone? Do you follow me?

  • Yes, I understand the question. Well, the way I understood it was that it was because the plan did not work as agreed on, and the fighters then decided to resort to those things.

  • So was there a direct order to amputate?

  • No, I did not know about that.

  • Was Operation Stop Elections a directive from Charles Taylor to Foday Sankoh?

  • No, at this time Mr Sankoh and Mr Taylor had no business. Mr Sankoh was leader of his own organisation. He was the CIC of the RUF. He gave the directive to the field commander to carry out the Operation Stop Elections.

  • Are you aware of any communication from Charles Taylor to Foday Sankoh at this time ordering Operation Stop Election?

  • No, not at all. Because by then I was with Mr Sankoh. When he came out I join them in Yamoussoukro and we all went to Abidjan. I was there up to the time Mr Sankoh went to Burkina Faso, and during that time I never heard that Mr Sankoh had any communications with Mr Taylor. No, they did not communicate at the time I was there. And even at the time I left there, I did not hear from anyone that Mr Sankoh had any communication with Mr Taylor whilst he was in Ivory Coast and even during the time of this attack, no.

  • What would you say about the testimony of any individual who would suggest that it was Charles Taylor who gave the order for Operation Stop Election? Would that person be telling the truth?

  • No, that person would not be telling the truth. It's not true at all.

  • Can I seek to clarify one matter before the short adjournment. Do you know of a location in Sierra Leone called Sierra Rutile?

  • Well, I heard the name, but I never went there. But I heard the name and I know about operations that the RUF undertook there. Yes, RUF attacked there.

  • As far as you're aware, when was the first time that the RUF attacked Sierra Rutile?

  • Can you help us with a month?

  • Well, I cannot be specific about that, because at this time I was in Giema and it has taken a long time. If it were an operation that I led myself, I would have been able to recall. But when they attacked there, the white people, the Americans, the British who were captured during that operation, they brought them. Those were staff - they were ex-pats working at Sierra Rutile. They brought them to Zogoda, and from there Mr Sankoh sent - in fact, he released them. He sent them to me at Giema, and from Giema I escorted them to the Guinean border and they were received by there by the ICRC. And in fact, when they got there --

  • Pause there, Mr Sesay. We'll come back to that, but I just want to break things up so that we can follow in sequence. Who led the attack on Sierra Rutile in 1995?

  • It was Mohamed Tarawalli and Superman. They led the attack from the Kangari Hills. They came and attacked Sierra Rutile, and Foday Sankoh instructed Sam Bockarie to mobilise troops from the Zogoda area from the Kambui Forest to proceed towards Matru Jong, when he went and took over command from Mohamed Tarawalli. And then Mohamed Tarawalli, Superman and their own troops, they moved ahead to go and create the Western Jungle. So by then Sam Bockarie was the battle group commander. He was a major. So he went over to Rutile and took over command from Mohamed. So after that, about a month or two, Sam Bockarie too killed some fighters there. I think they were about two in number. So Foday Sankoh became angry with him, so he withdrew him and change him and he later sent --

  • Your Honours, the last name that was --

  • What was the last name you mentioned, Mr Sesay?

  • I said it was then Morris Kallon who went and replaced Sam Bockarie because Foday Sankoh withdrew Sam Bockarie from there. Mr Sankoh then charged Sam Bockarie. He demoted him, in fact, from battle group commander to a staff sergeant and then sent him to a training base for advanced training.

  • Did the witness say Sam Bockarie killed some fighters?

  • Two RUF fighters. Is that right, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, ma'am - my Lord.

  • Because you are speaking so fast, that is not in the record and it's important. So as long as you keep running with your testimony, you might as well waste your time if things are not going to be picked up. That is why I keep interrupting and asking you to slow down, please. But you keep running.

  • Now - so how many fighters did Sam Bockarie kill, Mr Sesay?

  • Two fighters. He killed two fighters in Sierra Rutile.

  • Pause there. The ex-patriots who were captured at Sierra Rutile, who was the commander of the operation which led to their capture?

  • Mohamed Tarawalli.

  • Who ordered the attack on Sierra Rutile?

  • Did the order to attack Sierra Rutile come from Charles Taylor?

  • As far as you're aware, was Charles Taylor in contact with Foday Sankoh at the time of the attack on Sierra Rutile?

  • No, Mr Sankoh was not willing to talk to Mr Taylor at that time, because when things became rough with him he was very angry with Mr Taylor, let alone when things were now going maybe better with him at that time. He was very, very much angry with Mr Taylor because according to him, he said Mr Taylor thought that without him he will not be able to fight his war. So he cut off all communications with him.

  • Now, the hostages that were taken at Sierra Rutile, in due course you told us that you took them to the Guinean border to hand them over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Is that right?

  • Who organised the release of those hostages?

  • Well, what I understood it was the ICRC who contacted Mr Sankoh on the field radio, and Mr Sankoh responded to them and he decided to release the people. And he asked the ICRC to come to the Guinean border, that is Nongowa - that is on the Guinean side - and to come to the side of Sierra Leone, that is the Koindu-Nyanga area. He said he would send the people there so that the ICRC would be able to receive them.

  • In what year was it, Mr Sesay, that these hostages were released?

  • Can you help us with a month?

  • I recall it was during the dry season, sometime around maybe going towards May. I think it was sometime around May going towards June, because by then the river - the water level of the rivers was still low. Something like April, May, June or something like that. I cannot actually be very more specific about the month. Because I was the one who walked with them from Giema up to the Guinean border, which is about 34 miles - about 37 miles from Giema to the border. It's about 37 miles. And one of them, in fact, was an American. When he walked from Zogoda to Giema, when he got there he was, like, helpless and we had to put him in a hammock and --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to repeat that area and slow down.

  • You had to put him in a hammock and do what at Giema, the American?

  • Yes, because he could no longer walk because he had a swollen foot by then, so he was put in a hammock and my fighters had to tote him and take him to - as close to the border line, and we had to put him into the canoes because he could not walk at all. He could not even stand on his own.

  • Mr Sesay, I hate to sound like a stuck record, but I need to ask the same question again. Did Charles Taylor give the order to Foday Sankoh to release those hostages?

  • Not at all. During this time, I said since '92, Mr Sankoh was operating independently. He was operating as the leader of the RUF. He was not taking any instruction from Mr Taylor, nor were they having any communications at this point in time.

  • You appreciate, of course, why I need to sound like a stuck record, Mr Sesay. I'm dealing with allegations made by the Prosecution. Do you follow?

  • Mr Griffiths, this is a good time to take the midmorning break. We will take half an hour's break and reconvene at 11.30.

  • [Break taken at 11.00 a.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 11.32 a.m.]

  • Mr Griffiths, please continue.

  • Mr Sesay, before the short adjournment we were discussing the attack on Sierra Rutile and the taking of hostages and your involvement in their later release. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I recall that.

  • And you explained to us that the release took place sometime in the dry season, April/May 1995, yes?

  • Yes, that is what I recall.

  • Now, you had told us of your presence in the Ivory Coast. Do you remember? You'd gone for medical treatment. Just remind us, when had you gone?

  • I went in November '95.

  • So after your involvement in the release of these hostages, later that same year you went to the Ivory Coast. Is that right?

  • When you arrived in the Ivory Coast in November, what was actually going on so far as the external delegation was concerned?

  • Well, the external delegation got instructions from Mr Sankoh, and they too briefed Mr Sankoh. People used to come and talk to them like Dr Sebo, Omrie Golley. That was what was going on. And they were lodged at different houses that were rented. But when they were ready for meetings they would go to Deen-Jalloh, who was the head of the delegation.

  • And because of your presence there in the Ivory Coast, did you become involved at all in those discussions?

  • Well, yes, I attended one or two meetings with them before I went for my medical operation in Abidjan. And after the operation when I returned, I wasn't well until Foday Sankoh returned. When Foday Sankoh was going to Yamoussoukro, we travelled then to receive him.

  • Now Yamoussoukro, can you provide us with a date for that, Mr Sesay?

  • I cannot provide the date now for the arrival of Mr Sankoh, but when Mr Sankoh came from Zogoda - because it was the Ivorian Foreign Minister Mr Amara Essy, he was the one who received Mr Sankoh on board a helicopter from Camp Zogoda. The very day they left Kissidougou, they boarded the flight. It was that very evening that they arrived in Yamoussoukro.

  • I'm grateful. Now, did the talks in Yamoussoukro lead to any kind of agreement, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, the talks in Yamoussoukro, what I recall was that the Ivorian President at that time, His Excellency Konan Bedie, invited Mr Sankoh and Mr Bio, and they went to his residential palace and he had a private meeting with them. From that - it was from that night that the peace talks started, and they spoke about declaration of ceasefire, and the following day the talks continued. After about two days Maada Bio returned to Freetown, and Sankoh himself returned to Ivory Coast with the NPRC delegation. All of us went to the Ivory Coast, and they travelled the following day back to Freetown while we stayed in the Ivory Coast in Abidjan.

  • Now, we also spent a little time before the break discussing the elections which took place in Sierra Leone and its effect so far as the RUF was concerned. Now, after Yamoussoukro, how did things develop so far as the peace process is concerned?

  • Well, that peace process - after the declaration of the ceasefire, the ceasefire declaration was signed - yes, Mr Sankoh, at that initial stage he had good intentions for the peace process. But after the elections when Mr Kabbah was elected President of Sierra Leone, the Kamajors became stronger and they started attacking RUF positions.

  • Pause there, Mr Sesay.

  • And these attacks --

  • And I pause you for this reason: When you returned to Sierra Leone, you've told us in April 1996, where did you go to?

  • I - from Yamoussoukro Mr Sankoh informed me, he said, "Issa," and I said "Yes, sir". He said, "The two of us something to resolve". He said, "After the signing of the ceasefire you have to return, because I have instructed Captain PS Binda to set up a commission of inquiry". He said, "The money that I was sending to you in Kailahun, Peter Vandi and others have complained that you were not utilising the money the way I instructed you to do, so you have to give account". So I said, "Okay, no problem, sir". So after the signing of the ceasefire we went to Abidjan, and Mr Sankoh and others left us at Hotel d'Ivoire, that is, myself, late SYB Rogers, Dr Barrie, Mr Sankoh's wife, Deen-Jalloh's wife and Fayia Musa's wife, all of us were at the hotel. Then Foday Sankoh, Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh, Philip Palmer, Pa Kallon, Jonathan Kposowa, they travelled to Burkina Faso. They wanted to go to Libya, but when they got to Burkina Faso - you know, they all went together with Peter Vandi, because Peter Vandi went with Mr Sankoh in his delegation. So when they got to Burkina Faso, that was when Mr Sankoh sent Peter Vandi back to Ivory Coast. He said he should return to Kailahun to his posting as area commander, but he told him that when he would reach in Abidjan, he should go with Issa because Issa should --

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

  • Pause there, Mr Sesay. I've actually been listening to you quite carefully and you are speaking very slowly, but it's quite clear that the interpreters are having difficulty following you. So what I think we need to do, Mr Sesay, is for us to break things up a little bit. Do you follow me? Because I can see you making an effort to speak slowly, and I'm listening to the Krio. And you are actually speaking very slowly, but it's quite clear that the interpreters can't keep up. So let's try and break it up, okay? Now, you speak of Peter Vandi coming back from Burkina Faso to Ivory Coast, yes?

  • Just pick things up from there.

  • Yes, Peter Vandi returned and met us at the hotel. That was when he delivered the message to me that Mr Sankoh said I should go together with him and I should answer to the board of inquiry, and I said "okay".

  • Then from that Mr Sankoh himself on that very day called Dr Barrie and told him - he instructed him to give transportation to me and Peter Vandi so we should travel to Guinea and to Sierra Leone in Kailahun.

  • And did you go back to Kailahun with Peter Vandi?

  • Yes, I went to Kailahun and to Giema. When I went to Giema, after 48 hours was when Captain PS Binda met me at my house and he showed me a document that was from Mr Sankoh, an instruction that I was to report at any time Mr Binda called me to answer to questions regarding the money that was being sent to me in Kailahun. So when Mr Binda showed the letter to me and I said, "Okay." So I asked Mr Binda, I said, "When would it be?" I said, "Whenever you need me, I'll be available. Just send for me, I'll be there." He said, "Okay." So Mr Binda - in the next two days the commission of inquiry was formed that comprised IDU, MP representative - IDU, MP, G5, combat medics and some paramount chiefs, civilian chiefs in the Kailahun District. And I went to the court barri where I was invited, and the investigation started until around two weeks when Mohamed Tarawalli sent instructions to Peter Vandi - sorry - yeah, to Peter Vandi, yeah, that the board of investigation was to be moved to Zogoda instead of Kailahun. So Pa Binda told me and I said, "Okay." So after 72 hours Pa Binda told me to move to Zogoda. We moved to Zogoda. When we went to Zogoda, the panel sat there again and the investigations continued. I was investigated and I explained - I called out the people whom I had distributed the money amongst, that is, like the contractor - because, like, the money was sent to me in different instalments. Whenever the money would come to me, I'll explain the instruction that was given to me by Mr Sankoh, the amount that I gave to the external delegation, the amount that I was to use for medicine, the amount that I was to use for rice and condiments, and the other money, the amount that I was to use to buy rice for the family of the civilians. I called the contractor who did the import from Guinea. He brought the records, and from then the board said - and I named the G5s who distributed the rice to the civilians. And I named the combat medics who received the medicine that the contractor bought, because they signed for all of those stuff. But the board said their finding was that I distributed the money and I bought the items, but I did not follow up on the distribution. So they reported to Mr Sankoh, and Mr Sankoh in turn demoted me to captain. So when I was demoted to captain, he said I was to be at Zogoda, and I was there. I wasn't doing anything, because I had not recovered fully yet. I was there up to September - up until September. Foday Sankoh instructed Mohamed that I was to return to Kailahun, and in late September --

  • Pause there. So in late September, where did you go?

  • I returned to Giema in Kailahun from Camp Zogoda.

  • Now, just so that we can clarify that period, please. So from what date - when did you go to Zogoda when the inquiry was transferred from Kailahun?

  • Well, it was in May that I went to Zogoda, and I returned to Kailahun in September.

  • So from May of which year?

  • So from May 1996 until September 1996 you were in Zogoda. Is that right?

  • Then you returned to Kailahun?

  • Now, during that time, Mr Sesay, 1996, were peace talks going on in the Ivory Coast?

  • Well, at that time, yes, I understood that Mr Kabbah's government used to meet with Mr Sankoh - Mr Sankoh's delegation in the Ivory Coast. They had two or three meetings where they concluded that they were to - they were to sign the peace accord in November. But during this period there were negotiations going on but the Kamajors were attacking the RUF positions, the Kamajors and the army. Because I can recall while I was at Zogoda they used to attack Koribundu Jungle because at that time Monica Pearson was at Koribundu Jungle. That was where she had a training base. They were attacked there many times, and they were dislodged from that area and they came to Zogoda. They came to Zogoda in September and they met me there. At the same time, the men like Kallon in the Bo Jungle, he too was being attacked many times, and he moved around September. He moved from Bo Jungle, and he joined up with Isaac Mongor and others in the Kangari Hills. And even Zogoda itself, like that Blama area towards Bandawor, they used to attack there frequently until they left Zogoda.

  • Now, you mentioned earlier a ceasefire, Mr Sesay. When had that ceasefire been signed?

  • Between the NPRC and the RUF?

  • I cannot recall the date, but that was the first meeting between Maada Bio and Foday Sankoh, Yamoussoukro. That was when the declaration of the ceasefire mandated. And even when I was at Zogoda, I saw actions of the implementation of the ceasefire. Because, for instance, Sam Bockarie off-loaded a truck that had food, rice and condiments that was travelling from Kenema to Tongo Field. At that time he was battalion commander under Matthew Kennedy Sesay at Peyima. So Sam Bockarie set ambush and he off-loaded that truck. So Mohamed Tarawalli called him to Zogoda to answer questions about why he did that, and he was warned strongly that he should not repeat what he had done. That was the same thing that was done when --

  • Your Honours, can the witness slow down and repeat the name of the person who did this?

  • Can you just go back over that part? There was a truck stopped between Blama and where?

  • Blama Junction and Kenema Town, by --

  • And who stopped the truck?

  • It was the battalion commander who was at Bandawor called Base Marine.

  • And what was Mohamed Tarawalli's response to that?

  • Mohamed Tarawalli invited him, and he was detained at the MP, and a statement was obtained from him. He spent about a week there, and he was warned not to repeat that and he was sent back to his place, Bandawor.

  • So were the RUF taking steps to maintain that ceasefire during that period when you were at Zogoda from May through to September?

  • Yes. Especially from May to June, July, Mohamed Tarawalli took actions. But when he saw that the government troops and the Kamajors were attacking RUF positions continuously, he stopped.

  • So were the government troops and the CDF respecting the ceasefire?

  • No, they did not respect the ceasefire. Especially the CDF, they never respected the ceasefire.

  • And then you described how, during this period, the various jungles which had been established were being attacked by the government forces and the CDF. What in due course happened at Zogoda?

  • Well, when I left Zogoda, Foday Sankoh instructed Mohamed that I was to go back to Kailahun. While I was going, Mohamed told me, he said, "Jack, when you'll be going, please make sure you make contact to get some ammunition." He said, "I will talk to the leader for us to get some money so you'll buy the ammunition and you'll send it to me at Zogoda. You see, when the people are attacking us and we don't have ammunition on the ground." And I said, "Okay." So when I came, upon my arrival in Kailahun and in Giema, I went to the Guinean border and I met Abdul Rahman at Dia. I spoke to Abdul Rahman at the border and I said, "Well, we're in need of ammunition, so talk to your business partners, that is, the Guinean soldiers, for them to assist us."

  • Pause there, Mr Sesay. What were you going to use to pay for this?

  • Well, Mohamed told me that he will talk to Mr Sankoh in Abidjan to send money - for somebody to bring money through Guinea to come to Kailahun, because the woman who used to buy ammunition at this time had been arrested. That is Isatu Kallon, Mamie I. She had been arrested and had been brought to Freetown at that time. So I went and spoke to Abdul Rahman, and he told me that the officer who used to assist him wasn't there, that he had gone to Conakry. So I waited for about a week, and I came back to the border and I said, "Okay." So then I returned to Giema. When I returned to Giema, I went to the G4 store. When I went there, I saw about six boxes of AK rounds and I said, "Oh, these guys have ammunition here and we are in lack of it," and I came and told Peter Vandi. I explained to him - and I explained to him about what Mohamed had told me. And I told him if he could send three boxes of ammunition, say, AK and G3 rounds, then later when we would have got our ammunition for the one that I'm waiting for, then we will give back his. And Mohamed said no. He said because if anything goes wrong in Kailahun, he was the commander there.

  • Pause there. I had heard the witness say, "Peter Vandi said no", and it appears on the record as "Mohamed said no." Which did you say, "Peter Vandi said no", or "Mohamed said no"?

  • No, I was talking to Peter Vandi. He was the one who had the ammunition that I was talking to. Peter Vandi said no. Because if anything went wrong in Kailahun, it was him that Mr Sankoh was to ask. It was not me, because I wasn't the commander. So I sent a message to Mr - sorry, to Mohamed Tarawalli and informed him. And Mohamed Tarawalli sent orders to Peter Vandi to send two boxes of the AK rounds for him and a box of G3 rounds. And Peter Vandi put armed men together as escort to go with the ammunition in Peyima where Kennedy was as area commander.

    So at that time the Kamajors - this is October. The Kamajors - the attack of the Kamajors was now becoming serious between Peyima and Zogoda, so the ammunition could not get to the place and the men returned. They continued attacking Zogoda, and the targets were dissolved. The CDF attacked and dissolved the targets around Zogoda. So all the groups had come and assembled in the Zogoda headquarters, and Mohamed communicated with Mr Sankoh in Abidjan, and Mr Sankoh gave Mohamed instructions to divide the group into two. Mohamed was to head the group that was to withdraw from Zogoda to Kailahun, while Mike Lamin was to head the group that was to withdraw from Zogoda to Pujehun. This was in October 1996.

  • And the group led by Mohamed Tarawalli, what happened to that group?

  • When they left Zogoda, they got to a village called --

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat the name of the village?

  • Could you give the name of the village again, please? They left Zogoda and they got to a village called?

  • On the way to Kenema District, the village is called Basala. There was a big Kamajor force that they could not - and they were destabilised. So at that time the Kamajors had occupied right up to Bunumbu. They were there in those villages. So they captured some of the fighters' wives and some civilians who were administrators in Zogoda, the combat medic, Mr Sankoh's secretary, and a lot of RUF men were killed. Even Mohamed Tarawalli himself, later we understood that he was killed between Bunumbu and --

  • Your Honours, can the witness repeat the name of the last village?

  • He was killed between Bunumbu and where?

  • The village is called Makababebu.

  • I wonder if one of the translators could assist with a spelling of that, please.

  • Phonetically it is M-A-K-A-B-A-B-E-B-U.

  • I am grateful. So he was killed there. Did any of Mohamed's Tarawalli group survive, Mr Sesay?

  • Yes, some of them survived, like Daniel Wankay, who was Mr Sankoh's bodyguard commander at that time. He was called Rambo. Then the other Rambo Flomo, Boston Flomo, he too survived. FOC, Osman Tolo and one other lady, she was a secretary, one of the secretaries to Mr Sankoh at Zogoda. It was Gibril who captured that lady and her colleagues. She was called Zainab. They were not many. They were not even up to then, those that got to Giema.

  • Pause there. Now you mentioned FOC. Who is that?

  • FOC was one of Mr Sankoh's bodyguards.

  • What was his proper name?

  • I think Francis O Charles. Something like that.

  • And you mentioned, when you were talking about your dealings on the Guinea border with a view to purchasing arms, an individual called Abdul Rahman. Who is that?

  • Abdul Rahman was a businessman. He was based in Gueckedou. He was the head of the Guinean business people. He was a Guinean. He was doing business with the RUF at the border.

  • Now returning to the destabilisation of Zogoda. You mentioned a group led by Mohamed Tarawalli following the order by Foday Sankoh that the men should be split in two. Now the second group was led by Mike Lamin. What happened to that group?

  • Mike Lamin moved, they were being attacked but they fought their way through and they got to Pujehun and they joined the other RUF in Pujehun. So they were in Pujehun up to around November and the CDF, the Kamajors had a stronger power against our men, so they attacked our men continuously. So at that time Mr Sankoh had sent Jonathan Kposowa and Joseph Brown from Abidjan for Kposowa and Brown - for Kposowa to come to Monrovia to be in contact with ECOMOG, to buy ammunition from ECOMOG so we would be able to take it to the border and Mike and others would receive the ammunition to defend Pujehun. So the money that Mr Sankoh sent, I think it was about $50,000, Kposowa came to Monrovia but ECOMOG used the money and the deal did not go through. So under that pressure Mike Lamin and others crossed and they surrendered in November 1996 to December.

  • Surrendered to whom?

  • Surrendered to ULIMO-K. It was the ULIMO-K forces that disarmed them.

  • Now another detail, please, Mr Sesay. How do you know about this supposed deal between Jonathan Kposowa, Joseph Brown and ECOMOG? Where do you know that from?

  • Well, Mr Sankoh came to Kailahun in November for him to consult with the RUF and the civilians, the civilian administrators in the RUF, about the signing of the Abidjan Accord in November. So he came with Amara Essy and some members of the external delegation like Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh and Philip Palmer. So they came with the helicopter and he sent a message to Bockarie, so we came and received him Balahun. The helicopter came and it landed. Mr Sankoh disembarked and greeted us and we greeted the external delegation and he said he was going first to Kangari Hills and the Western Area, the Western Jungle. So he left - he left Deen-Jalloh and Fayia Musa in Balahun with us and he travelled with Philip Palmer. He took the MP commander Kaisuku in Kailahun and he went with him to Kangari Hills. He held a meeting with the RUF and they came to the Western Jungle and they had a meeting with Superman and others, Isaac and others in the Northern Jungle, and he returned - around 3 to 4 he returned to Kailahun and the helicopter returned while Mr Sankoh and the external delegation walked from Balahun to Giema.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, I'm grateful for all of that and I'll come back to that visit by Mr Sankoh in due course. But my question was: How did you, Issa Sesay, come to learn about this deal for the purchase of arms worth - or ammunition worth $50,000 from ECOMOG in Monrovia? How did you find out about that?

  • When Mr Sankoh came it was that time that he told us because when he came he told us that he had given money to Kposowa for him to buy ammunition from the ECOMOG and that the ammunitions should be escorted to Mike and others, but Kposowa could not - in fact, he said he did not hear anything from Kposowa. It was like Kposowa had misused the money. It was later in '99 when Kposowa returned after the Lome Accord when he came to rejoin the RUF, that was when he explained what had happened. But at the initial stage Mr Sankoh said he had sent Kposowa and Brown to buy ammunition but up to that time he had not heard anything from Kposowa, and Brown had told him that Kposowa - the money had been seized from him.

  • Thank you, Mr Sesay. Now, Mr Sesay, another detail on that and it's this: You've told me a moment ago that the second group led by Mike Lamin surrendered to ULIMO-K in Liberia. Can you help us as to why Mike Lamin and that group did not go to NPFL territory?

  • Well, at that time the NPFL wasn't close to Bomi Hills or Lofa. It was ULIMO that controlled Bomi Hills right up to - right down to Lofa. So I can say from this sea coast, that is where Liberia and Sierra Leone meet on the border, that is south of Sierra Leone, right up to between Guinea and Sierra Leone, it was ULIMO that was controlling the border. It was ULIMO that controlled those countries, Bomi Hills and Lofa. So there was no means of contacting the NPFL.

  • I'm grateful.

  • Except the ULIMO.

  • Now another detail, Mr Sesay, and it's this: You've told us now in detail about the fall of Zogoda and the retreat from that location led by Mohamed Tarawalli and Mike Lamin. Help me with this, please: After the fall of Zogoda in late October 1996 what areas did the RUF control at that point?

  • Well, after the fall of Zogoda in October '96 the only areas now - because Peyima itself was attacked and Mosquito and the area commander withdrew to Kailahun. So the only area that was under the RUF's control was Western Jungle under the command of Superman, and Kangari Hills that was under the command of Isaac Mongor, and Kailahun. Those were the places that RUF were now in the entire Sierra Leone, and even --

  • So it was the Western Jungle under the command of Superman, Kangari Hills under the command of Isaac Mongor and who was in command in Kailahun?

  • Well, before the arrival of Mr Sankoh it was Peter Vandi who commanded as the area commander, but when Bockarie and Kennedy withdrew in late October to Giema, Kennedy was an area commander before, so that was how the command was like, but Peter was the commander on the ground, but when Foday Sankoh came in - when Foday Sankoh visited for consultations regarding the signing of the accord in November that was when he reinstated Sam Bockarie as battle group commander and promoted him to major and I also was promoted to major but without assignment.

    So Kailahun was now like - from November it was Sam Bockarie that was the senior man on the ground and the area commander was there, that was Peter Vandi. Sorry, I was there. I was the major and Peter Vandi was staff captain, but he was the area commander but I was a major. So in terms of rank I was senior to him. But from that November now the administration in Kailahun, after Mosquito it was me in rank, then Peter Vandi the area commander.

  • Thank you. Now you spoke in that answer of when Bockarie and Kennedy withdrew in late October to Giema, withdrew from where?

  • They did not just withdraw like that. They were under attack from Peyima Jungle, they were being attacked. The CDF, the Kamajors chased them and they killed up to 80 to 100 people around that Moa River when the Kamajors attacked them. When they attacked the retreating RUF and their family members, they were massacred at the riverbank.

  • Thank you. Now whilst all of this is going on in Sierra Leone, RUF reduced to controlling only three areas, Western Jungle, Kangari Hills and Kailahun, meanwhile you've told us there were peace discussions going on in Ivory Coast. Is that right?

  • Which resulted in the Abidjan Accord which you've just mentioned, yes?

  • Yes.

  • And following the Abidjan Accord, Foday Sankoh came to Sierra Leone for consultations. Is that right?

  • And when he came for consultations he came by helicopter bringing members of the external delegation, as you've explained. Is that right?

  • And when he came did he visit the three areas still controlled by the RUF, those being the Western Jungle, Kangari Hills and Kailahun?

  • Yes, he went there.

  • Now you've mentioned already, Mr Sesay, one matter which you discussed with Mr Sankoh when he arrived. That is the issue of the $50,000 for the purchase of ammunition from ECOMOG. What else did Mr Sankoh say to you - well, let me start again. When Foday Sankoh arrived by helicopter in Kailahun for that consultation where were you at that time?

  • Myself, Sam Bockarie, including Peter Vandi, were all in Giema, Kennedy. So when Mr Sankoh came, we received him at Balahun. And he left us there and he went to the north and west, and he returned to Balahun. And we walked, and the helicopter returned with Mr Amara Essy, the Foreign Minister there for Ivory Coast. So we walked from Balahun to Giema, and Mr Sankoh passed the night there. And the following morning he went to the parade and addressed the fighters and explained the Abidjan Peace Accord. And the fighters told Mr Sankoh - they said, "You are talking about going to sign the accord. Look at the men attacking us in these areas. Even when you are here you can hear the sound of the launching. So why are you going to sign the accord when these people are attacking us incessantly and they have dissolved our areas?" Mr Sankoh's response was that he would in turn go and tell the negotiators what now if he said he was not going to sign the accord, the international community would think that he was the problem. So we told him to explain to the external delegation, because they were members of the Ceasefire Monitoring Committee in Freetown. That is Deen-Jalloh, Fayia Musa, Philip Palmer, they were members of the RUF, they were representing the RUF on that committee. So before the visit they were in Freetown. I think they came to Kenema and to Bo and they returned, even before they joined Mr Sankoh in Abidjan when they came to Kailahun. So Mr Sankoh referred some of the issues that were put to him that - to those people. He told them that you know, you are - you are with these people in the communities. Have you heard what they're saying? So refer the issues to them, the delegates. So after that Mr Sankoh held a meeting with the civilians, the civilian chiefs, and he explained to them about the accord. And the following day we went to Buedu. We walked from Giema to Buedu. When we got to Buedu in the evening hours - because we arrived there around 4 o'clock. So around 6 o'clock, going to 7, was when Mr Sankoh invited Sam Bockarie, and I too was sent for and Peter Vandi was sent for. Mr Sankoh opened his briefcase. He took out money that amounted to $7,000, and he said, "Now that Kposowa has misused that money, so Bockarie, you can try it. Let me give you this money. When I return to Abidjan, I'll try hard to send some other money for you." He said, "You should be brave because now the way these people are attacking us, I'm going to sign the accord, but it will be necessary for us to defend ourselves, so try to establish contacts with ULIMO. So when you establish these contacts with ULIMO, you can use this money to buy ammunition from them. If the deal goes through, you send to me - send a message to me so I'll be able to send someone with some money that you will use to continue to buy ammunition from them that you will use to defend Kailahun." So he gave Sam Bockarie $7,000 in my presence and Peter Vandi's presence, including Lawrence Womandia. He told us that we should hold the ground firm and that we should encourage the fighters and the civilians that he was going to sign the accord. And the following morning the helicopter came back. Mr Sankoh - because before this time Gibril Massaquoi had not been in Kailahun. Because Gibril was in the Western Jungle, but he got injured in his throat during the attack on Lumpa, because he and Mohamed attacked there in '95. So in late '95 the wound was disturbing him, the injury, and so Mr Sankoh had told him to come to Kailahun. So he had been in Kailahun since July, because he left me in Zogoda in July and he came to Kailahun. So from July Mr Sankoh had told him to wait in Kailahun until that November, when Mr Sankoh came. So Mr Sankoh said he should travel with Gibril. So Massaquoi and Massaquoi's wife, that is Baby T, and Mr Sankoh himself and Philip Palmer, Fayia Musa, Deen-Jalloh, they all travelled to together back with the helicopter back to Kissidougou and they went to Abidjan. That was November '96.

  • All right. Now, I want to go over that now, Mr Sesay, please, and seek some assistance with one or two matters. When Mr Sankoh arrived on that consultation, you tell us that you walked from Giema to Balahun to meet him, yes?

  • Yes, from Giema to Balahun.

  • When you met him in Balahun, did you have time for a discussion with him at that point?

  • No. At that time he just disembarked from the helicopter, he greeted us, he waved to the civilians, and he said he was going first to the Western Jungle, and from there he'll go to the north. But when he returned to Kailahun, he could not talk to us. He only greeted us and he returned. He left Fayia Musa and Deen-Jalloh behind and he went with Philip Palmer.

  • To the Western Jungle and Kangari Hills, yes?

  • Objection. Counsel continues to lead the witness and suggest answers.

  • Please desist from leading the witness, Mr Griffiths.

  • [Overlapping speakers] lead the witness. The witness has already said he left Balahun, went to the Western Jungle and Kangari Hills.

  • Why can't you simply ask returned where? Returned to where? Why can't you ask that?

  • I'll ask a simple question:

  • Mr Sesay, when Foday Sankoh left Balahun, where did he go?

  • Mr Sankoh left Balahun and he went to Western Jungle to meet Superman and others, and he came to Kangari Hills to meet Isaac and others.

  • So did he go to both the Western Jungle and Kangari Hills, yes or no?

  • And after he went to the Kangari Hills, where did he go after that?

  • From there he returned to Kailahun.

  • Thank you very much. Now, now that he's back in Kailahun, help us. That night, did you have a chance to speak to him?

  • Yes. That night, in fact, he came to Balahun. All of us walked, we were talking. He was talking to us while we were walking, and we came to Giema. From there we went to the house where he was lodged - where we lodged him. Because the house where he was lodged was the house where ICRC was occupying initially. During that time, ICRC used to come to the place to look around. So that was the house Mr Sankoh was lodged. We were there talking to him. You know, he too was talking about the disappointment in the government, that the government was forcing him to sign the Abidjan Accord. But look at how the RUF was losing ground. They had lost Koribundu, they had lost Pujehun, they had lost Peyima, they had lost in Zogoda, and they had lost Kailahun. Even Kailahun, the RUF was attacked there. They lost the Bo Jungle as well --

  • [Overlapping speakers]

  • Excuse me, I didn't hear the rest of the interpretation. Counsel's question interrupted it.

  • Could I please say this: Could we try and keep some order in this Court so that you do not speak over each other. There's absolutely no point in speaking over each other, because what you say is not captured. Surely you all know that.

  • Mr Sesay:

    "We were there talking to him," you said, "and he was talking about his disappointment in the government, that the government was forcing him to sign the Abidjan Accord, but look at how the RUF was losing ground. They'd lost Koribundu, they'd lost Pujehun, they'd lost Peyima, and they lost Zogoda and they'd lost Kailahun. Even Kailahun, the RUF was being attacked there. They lost the Bo Jungle as well."

    Pick it up from there, please.

  • Yes, that was what we were discussing that night, and Mr Sankoh himself was not happy. He was unhappy with the whole situation, and he told us, he said, "Now, if I don't sign the accord the international community will feel that I am the one who doesn't want peace in Sierra Leone." He said, "But even the SLPP government is not honest with the whole process and that indeed the SLPP government, before signing the Abidjan Accord, they were on serious offensive, and even after signing the - after signing the accord, they never respected it, they never recognised it," because I can recall before Mr Sankoh left --

  • Yes?

  • No. When Mr Sankoh returned from Western Jungle and Northern Jungle and came to Balahun, he got those reports from the - about the attacks on Western Jungle and the borders and Kangari Hills, they had explained to him about the withdrawals, that many RUF brothers had been killed in the jungle, so when he came to Balahun he had a satellite phone, he decided to call the President of Sierra Leone at that time, that was Alhaji Tejan Kabbah.

    On that day, myself, Bockarie, Peter Vandi and Philip Palmer and Deen-Jalloh were all sitting together at the veranda, and Mr Sankoh called from the house where we were. He called on the satellite phone. He told Mr Kabbah, he said, "I have come and I have visited the west and the north and now I am in Kailahun to consult with my people about the peace accord that I am to sign with you." He said, "But even when I'm in Kailahun, I could hear launching sound, my men are attacked on the ground, they are being attacked from the north and the western jungles, and it is the CDF and the Kamajors that are doing these attacks." And Mr Kabbah said he hadn't any control over the CDF and the Kamajors. He said he hadn't any control over the people. He said the people wanted to go back to their homes. And Mr Sankoh said, "Oh, you are the President. You are the ones who - you are the person who armed these people. Why would you say you don't have control over them?" So Mr Sankoh wanted to get angry during the conversation, so he stopped the conversation. So he said he was going back to Abidjan to explain to the government that had hosted the talks. So he packed the satellite phone and we returned to Giema.

  • Now, you mentioned also another meeting that took place at which Sam Bockarie was present and in that meeting Mr Sankoh gave Bockarie some money. Is that right?

  • Yes, he gave him $7,000.

  • Were you present, Mr Sesay, when Foday Sankoh handed over that $7,000 to --

  • Yes, I was present.

  • And remind us, for what reason did Foday Sankoh give Sam Bockarie that money?

  • Foday Sankoh gave the money to Sam Bockarie, and he told Sam Bockarie that he was to make contact with the ULIMOs so that he would be able to buy ammunition to defend Kailahun, and he said, "Because you have monitored the - you monitored the conversation between myself and Mr Kabbah these few days, so you know what to do," so Bockarie should try very hard to contact the ULIMOs to buy ammunition to defend Kailahun.

  • Pause there. Could the witness please be shown exhibit D-9, please? Now, you'll see, Mr Sesay, that this document is headed, "Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, RUF, Defence Headquarters" and you'll see it's dated 26 September 1999. It's addressed to the leader of the revolution from Major General Sam Bockarie, and it's described as a salute report: "The leader, sir, before leaving the ground in November 1996 ..." That's the point we're discussing now, Mr Sesay, do you follow? The visit by Mr Sankoh to Sierra Leone at the end of November 1996 that you've just been describing, yes?

    "... you placed me in command as the battlefield commander of the RUF/SL and instructed me to take command in your absence and to maintain the ground by any means necessary. In that light, I have acted in the capacity you saw fit to entrust me with and done all in my power and wisdom to maintain the ground until your return to Sierra Leone.

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

    Now the reference there, Mr Sesay, to $7,000, which $7,000 is that?

  • This is the $7,000 that I was talking to you about when I was explaining to the Court that Mr Sankoh gave to Bockarie when he came in November to Kailahun. That is the money that Mr Sankoh gave to Bockarie and gave him instructions to make contact with ULIMO to buy ammunition.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, I would like us to dwell on this paragraph for a moment and I seek your assistance with regard to a number of matters. First of all, looking at the first paragraph on the page, "Before leaving the ground in November you placed me in command as the battlefield commander of the RUF." Is that true?

  • No, in November Bockarie was appointed battle group commander by Mr Sankoh. It was in March that Mr Sankoh, after he had been finally convinced that Mohamed wasn't there, that was when Bockarie was appointed battlefield commander and I was appointed battle group. That's March 1997. But in this November Bockarie was reinstated by Foday Sankoh as battle group commander, major. So by that time when we are talking about high command it was only Bockarie that was there.

  • So in November 1996 Bockarie becomes battle group commander. Is that right?

  • Yes, for the second time because he had once become a battle group from December '93 to early '95. Then he was suspended and now he was then reinstated by Mr Sankoh in November.

  • Now at the time that Bockarie, in November 1996, was made battle group commander where was Mohamed Tarawalli?

  • At this time Mohamed was missing in action, but Foday Sankoh was not convinced that - Foday Sankoh was not convinced that Mohamed had died, but going up to January and February, March '97 he was not seen so he concluded Mohamed was really not alive. So he sent a promotion list. Bockarie was promoted to colonel and appointed battlefield commander and he promoted Isaac Mongor to colonel - from major to colonel. He promoted Mike Lamin from major to colonel, adviser to Bockarie, and he promoted --

  • Can we just pause for a minute. The reason being, looking at my LiveNote, "At this time Mohamed was missing in action but Foday Sankoh was not convinced." Now I distinctly heard "he thought he would turn up", but that doesn't appear on the transcript. Did you say Sankoh thought he would turn up?

  • Yes, that's what I said. I said at that time Sankoh was not convinced that Mohamed was finally missing in action. He was still going with the idea that Mohamed will show up in Kailahun, but up to March he did not see him, so that was when he --

  • Pause there. I'm listening to the Krio and I distinctly heard that said but it wasn't translated.

  • Mr Griffiths, I don't know whose fault it is. Perhaps it could be that the witness is speaking too fast, the interpreter either can't catch up with him or the transcriber can't catch up with him. You just have to keep on keeping an ear to the Krio version as you are doing.

  • I have no difficulty following what the witness is saying, your Honour.

  • What is important is what is recorded. We are following the English translation, we don't understand Krio, and that's what matters to us.

  • Now, Mr Sesay, you were going on - no, let's look at it in this way: Let's go back to that document in front of you, please. When in November 1996 Foday Sankoh appointed Bockarie as battle group commander, was that a promotion?

  • Yes, it was a promotion because at that time Bockarie was a captain and battalion commander from Peyima Jungle under Matthew Kennedy Sesay.

  • Now at the time of the promotion of Bockarie was anybody else promoted?

  • Well, I was the only one that was re-promoted from captain to major. Apart from that, no other person was promoted.

  • Now in March you tell us that Bockarie was appointed as battlefield commander, yes?

  • Yes, that's what I said.

  • And you were going on to describe some other promotions at that time. Could I ask you to start right at the beginning, please, and assist us with who was promoted at that time in March 1997?

  • Mr Sankoh promoted Sam Bockarie to colonel, battlefield commander, from major.

  • He promoted Mike Lamin from major to colonel. Although he was in Monrovia, he was promoted in absentia.

  • He promoted Superman from major to colonel.

  • Anybody else?

  • He promoted Isaac Mongor from major to colonel.

  • He promoted me from major to lieutenant colonel, battle group commander.

  • Peter Vandi from staff captain to lieutenant colonel.

  • Gibril Massaquoi from staff captain to lieutenant colonel.

  • And Alfred Brown was reinstated as signal commander.

  • Now, where was Sankoh when in March 1997 he authorised these promotions?

  • After he sent this promotion he was in Abidjan and, after a few days, he travelled to Nigeria and he was arrested there.

  • Now, I want us to be quite clear about this, Mr Sesay. Who was it who ordered these promotions; was it Mr Sankoh or was it in fact Charles Taylor?

  • No, this one had nothing to do with Mr Taylor. It was an RUF business and Foday Sankoh was the CIC for the RUF, so he was the one who thought it to himself that he should give out promotions before he travelled to Nigeria, together with Steve Bio.

  • At the time of these promotions, as far as you're aware, March 1997, was there any contact between Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor?

  • No, I never heard of that.

  • Let's go back to the sheet, please. Paragraph 2: "Upon your departure I initiated contact with ULIMO." Now, help us. How was that contact initiated, Mr Sesay?

  • Well, at this time we were living in Giema, we were staying in Giema, after we had escorted Mr Sankoh to Buedu and he had gone, that is myself, Peter Vandi --

  • Your Honours, could the witness call the last name.

  • Pause there, Mr Sesay. The interpreter missed something. So let's start again. At that time "we were living in Giema, we were staying in Giema, after we had escorted Mr Sankoh to Buedu and he had gone, that is myself, Peter Vandi" and who?

  • Sam Bockarie, and the others like Kennedy, Matthew Kennedy Sesay, and Lawrence Womandia. All of us went. So we returned, all of us, back to Giema. So after two days Sam Bockarie said he was going to the border to try and meet the ULIMO to make contact at Foya.

  • Pause there. And did he go to Foya? Did he go to the borderline?

  • Yes. He went there, along with Matthew Kennedy Sesay, his bodyguards, Sam Bockarie's bodyguards, Matthew Kennedy Sesay and one other vanguard Big Daddy, and CO Sellay, all of them went.

  • Pause there. By what means did they go to the borderline from Giema?

  • Well, they walked because at that time we hadn't any vehicle. They walked.

  • Pause there. So they walked?

  • Yes, they were armed.

  • At the time that they went to the borderline who controlled that borderline?

  • At this time it was the ULIMO that was in control of the borderline. For Liberia and Sierra Leone it was the RUF. So they walked from Giema to Buedu, from Buedu through Kangama to Koindu. Then from Koindu they walked to Bendu and they contacted the ULIMO across the border in Mendekoma. So they met them, they greeted them, and they told the ULIMOs, those who were at the border, that they had come to see their commanders at Foya. So the ULIMOs who were at the border, the lieutenant, said, "Okay, go." So all of them walked, because Bockarie went with a group of about, a platoon of men. So when they arrived in Foya the ULIMO were going with the idea that Bockarie and the RUF in Kailahun wanted to surrender like what had happened in the Pujehun District.

  • And so what happened?

  • So upon Sam Bockarie's arrival, together with his delegation in Foya, the commanders there sent a message to their headquarters, the ULIMO headquarters, at Voinjama and some ULIMO generals came, but at that time I didn't know them, I only heard their names, but later I knew them.

  • Pause there. Before we lose sight of this I just want to clarify a couple of matters. Firstly, you said this a few moments ago:

    "A platoon of them went, so when they arrived in Foya, the ULIMO were going with the idea that Bockarie and the RUF in Kailahun wanted to surrender like what happened in the Pujehun District."

    What are you referring to when you refer to what happened in the Pujehun District?

  • Well, they were thinking that the way Mike Lamin had gone there to surrender with the RUF was the same way Bockarie had gone there with his men to surrender.

  • Pause there. Now, when you further refer to, "In Foya, the commander there sent a message to their headquarters, the ULIMO headquarters at Voinjama, and some ULIMO generals came but at that time I didn't know them, I only heard their names, but later I knew them", first of all, who was the ULIMO commander in Foya?

  • Well, the ULIMO commander who was in Foya, I cannot recall his name. One colonel was in Foya but I cannot recall his name now. But he sent the message to Voinjama when the generals came together with their bodyguards.

  • And who did these generals turn out to be?

  • One was General Abu Keita and the second one was --

  • Your Honour, can he repeat the name of the other general?

  • What was the second general's name?

  • Varmuyan Sherif. Varmuyan Sherif.

  • So the two ULIMO generals who came were Abu Keita and Varmuyan Sherif, yes? Is that right?

  • Yes, sir. They came together with some of their staff and bodyguards. They came to know Bockarie's purpose of coming to Foya from the message their commander on the ground had sent to them.

  • Mr Griffiths, the witness has given evidence of Bockarie and others going to meet ULIMO, and then later he says, "I did not know them then, I did not know their names." I find it unclear whether the witness was with the group and did not hear the names but came to hear them later, or he is reciting what he has been told of what happened.

  • I will clarify that:

  • First of all, Mr Sesay, on this trip by Bockarie and others whom you've named to Foya to make contact with ULIMO, did you travel with them?

  • No, I did not go with them. I was at Giema on the ground.

  • What you've since gone on to tell us about two ULIMO generals, Abu Keita and Varmuyan Sherif, when did you find out their names?

  • Well, when Bockarie came he briefed me, Lawrence Womandia and the other officers on the ground. It was then that I knew their names. But the commander who was in Foya - in fact, he came with Bockarie but I have forgotten his name because after their meeting, after Bockarie had told them about his intention of going to Foya, that is not to surrender but to make a friendly relationship that would benefit ULIMO and the RUF, they too sat down and decided that, oh, this is something we cannot let slip by, so they accepted. The ULIMO - the commanders in the ULIMO said they were going to give Bockarie 20 to 25 armed men who would escort Bockarie for them to come and know Giema and how the RUF-controlled areas were, so they too would feel safe with the RUF. That is, they would know that the RUF meant what they said. So when Bockarie came, he brought them and they spent four to five days in Giema before returning to Foya.

  • Pause, please, Mr Sesay. So Bockarie goes to Foya?

  • In due course he meets with some ULIMO generals?

  • When Bockarie returned, he returned with members of ULIMO, did he?

  • Did you physically see these ULIMO members?

  • Where did you see them?

  • At this time, I and Bockarie were sharing the same house together with Lawrence in Giema, so when he brought them, they were staying to the next house where our other family members and bodyguards were. That was where we lodged the men. In the morning we would eat together and we would go to the parade grounds and we would discuss together. So they were our guests. It was not a secret. Everybody in Kailahun knew about this.

  • How many of those ULIMO came?

  • I said they were up to 25. They too were armed.

  • Who were they led by?

  • Sam Bockarie. He brought them to build confidence.

  • Did they come with a senior ULIMO officer?

  • Well, the senior men did not come at this stage. It was the commander on the ground, the colonel in Foya, he came along with the men. Because he was the commander that was near us, he came into Sierra Leone.

  • For how long did they stay in Giema?

  • They were in Giema for about five days and they returned.

  • And what did they do whilst in Giema?

  • Well, we used to take them to the parade grounds, introduce them to our RUF people, and we just interacted for the rest of the day. The whole thing was just a confidence-building measure, for them to know that the relationship that had been requested by Bockarie was appreciated by the RUF and that they had accepted the relationship. That was the goodwill that we too were showing them.

  • When they came on this occasion, did they bring with them any arms and/or ammunition?

  • No. It was when they were returning, when Bockarie was - when Bockarie accompanied them and when he was returning, he brought ammunition - RPG rockets and ammunition that he had bought from Abu Keita and others.

  • So just to be clear, when these ULIMO members returned to Liberia, who went with them?

  • I said Bockarie returned with them.

  • Did anybody go with Bockarie back to Liberia with these ULIMO members?

  • Yes. Kennedy Sesay went and Bockarie's bodyguards, all of them went to accompany those men.

  • How long did Bockarie stay in Liberia on this return journey?

  • He was in Foya for about three days, for three days. He was in Foya for three days. Then he explained the whole thing to the men, that he was interested in buying ammunition and they too were willing to sell ammunition to Bockarie. Then Abu Keita and Sherif brought ammunition that was bought by Bockarie. That is 45 RPG rockets and boxes of AK rounds, G3 rounds, GMG rounds.

  • How many boxes of AK rounds were bought?

  • Well, some were in sardine tins. Some were open. The sardine tins, the first one that came was 15 sardine tins and there were open ones that were in empty bags of rice. Those were the AK rounds. The G3 rounds were about ten sardine tins.

  • And what about the GMG rounds?

  • Yes, it was the same, eight to ten sardine tins. They brought them.

  • When Bockarie returns to Kailahun, having purchased these items, did any members of ULIMO return to Kailahun with him?

  • No. At that stage they did not come. When the men turned up, Keita and Sherif, when they brought the ammunition from Voinjama, then the commander on the ground told Mosquito that he too had some ammunition. Then Mosquito told him - but he did not want the other commanders to know, but he said he had his own separately that he would like to sell. Then Bockarie told him to wait and that he would transport that later to Koindu and he would come to buy them. He said because he was going to leave Kennedy in Koindu. So he introduced Matthew Kennedy Sesay to Sherif, Keita and to the commander who was in Foya and all the other men and told them whoever had a consignment that he wanted to sell, he would bring them to Koindu, and if he meets Kennedy there, Kennedy would send a message to him. So even the - when Bockarie had returned, even the other ranks used to put ammunition in wheelbarrows from Kailahun, they would pass through Foya, and they would come to Koindu to sell to Kennedy Sesay.

  • When you say --

  • Could I interrupt, Mr Griffiths, to seek two time frames. One is a time frame when the ULIMO team came to visit, and the other is the time frame for when the actual arms or ammunition was brought back into Sierra Leone by Bockarie.

  • Mr Sesay, you've already told us that the idea to trade with ULIMO was put to Sam Bockarie by Foday Sankoh during his visit in late November. Is that right?

  • How long after Foday Sankoh left did Bockarie make that first visit to Liberia to meet with ULIMO?

  • I said when Mr Sankoh left, on that day we returned to Giema. After two days, Bockarie, Kennedy, Big Daddy, all of them left to go to Foya.

  • In which month was that?

  • Well, that was in late November. Then Bockarie was in Foya. He was in Foya for the first visit for about a week. So when he returned, that was in December that he came along with those men. From that, he went back - the time that he brought the ammunition, that was at the end of December. From then on, the business - the ammunition business from ULIMO started from December ending and it continued up to May of the AFRC overthrow.

  • So this dealings between the RUF and ULIMO, that continued from late December 1996 down to the AFRC coup in May 1997. Is that right?

  • I believe that's asked and answered. He just said that.

  • The year was not given, so please answer the question.

    Go ahead, Mr Griffiths, and restate your question.

  • So this trade began in late December 1996 and continued until the AFRC coup in May 1997. Is that correct?

  • Yes, it's correct. It continued to after the AFRC took over power, and it continued up to '98. But when we get to '98, I'll explain that.

  • Very well. Now, just concentrating on this period between late December 1996 and May 1997, you mentioned Kennedy being based in where?

  • In Koindu. He was posted by Sam Bockarie to Koindu because Koindu was close to the border, so that he would be able to receive the men and be paying for the ammunition and stocking them. When it has accumulated, they would transport them to Buedu.

  • Now, this Kennedy, could you give us his full name or title?

  • Your Honour, can he repeat the name slowly.

  • What's the name, Mr Sesay? What's the name of this Kennedy?

  • Matthew Kennedy Sesay.

  • Next question: When was Matthew Kennedy Sesay first based in Koindu for this purpose?

  • From December of 1996 he was there up to after the overthrow of the AFRC in May '97.

  • And during that period of seven or so months, how regular were ammunition or any other materials being obtained from ULIMO?

  • Well, when the process started in December it continued. In fact, there came a time when even the ULIMO, who were in Foya Tinkia, towards Masabulahun, they too were bringing ammunition to Buedu. They will carry them to Buedu. Some will bring them in wheelbarrows to Buedu and Bockarie would buy them. And even in Koindu, General Abu Keita, Sherif and others, they came there for about two to three occasions, they were bringing ammunition in their pick-ups. And Kennedy would send a message to Bockarie, and Bockarie would go to Buedu and they would purchase the ammunition. But the money that was left by Mr Sankoh was not enough and at this time, because from December 1996 the government troops were attacking - the Kamajors were attacking our positions in Giema Town, Kailahun, Bandajuma, Boubu Gao, Sembehun, they were attacking us frequently, so fighting was going on in Kailahun at this time. So the civilians too, the chiefs decided to call a meeting with the War Council. They had this meeting and at this meeting the civilians decided that before the Kamajors and soldiers could come and take their produce that they had harvested, they deemed it necessary to hand over that produce to the RUF command in Kailahun so that the RUF command would sell this produce and buy more ammunition to defend them in Kailahun.

  • Pause there. Go back to the page, end of the second paragraph:

    "The efforts of the civilians must be highlighted as they provided agricultural produce which I traded for materials during the same period."

    What is that a reference to? What does that refer to?

  • Well, what I'm saying is what is being confirmed here. That was what happened, because it was the War Council chairman who chaired the meeting, the late SYB Rogers, and all of the chiefs said that instead of the Kamajors taking the produce and drive them to Liberia as refugees, they decided that the RUF should use the produce to defend them, that would be better rather than them becoming refugees in Liberia.

  • Pause there. I want to clarify something whilst it's still fresh in your mind. What was the War Council?

  • Well, the War Council was the committee that was created by Foday Sankoh and they were working directly with Mr Sankoh. I can say members of the War Council were well recognised people, administrative people in the RUF. They used to advise Mr Sankoh about the war and they used to talk to Mr Sankoh, or any RUF commander, about the welfare of civilians or anything that was happening within the RUF. So it was like a decision-making body set up by the leader.

  • And were the people on that War Council, were they military personnel, civilian personnel or what?

  • Well, the council was dominated by civilians. It was the civilians who were in the majority. The military men, like Mr Sankoh - even Pa Kallon was not a military man. Mr Sankoh - this council was created in 1992 and by then the only military personnel who were there - who were there as members of the council were Mr Sankoh, Rashid Mansaray and Mohamed Tarawalli.

  • Thank you. Now going back to the details of what you told us, now you've mentioned the two names Abu Keita and Varmuyan Sherif on more than one occasion. When did you first meet them?

  • Well, at one time when Sherif brought some ammunition, because at that time the ECOMOG had deployed at Mendekoma, so there was no way of doing transaction in Mendekoma, so he brought this ammunition to - some AA rounds, G3 rounds, AK rounds, to Masabulahun. From Masabulahun I can say is almost opposite Gbandiwulo. Gbandiwulo was Mosquito's village that I was testifying about when I said I had forgotten its name. Gbandiwulo. So Mosquito said, "Now that this man has come to Masabulahun it's better for us to go there." Then I left Giema and came to Buedu. So all of us went. And I met - that was the time I knew Sherif - and the money that Bockarie had was not enough, so he paid half, received the ammunition and Bockarie told him to return in a week's time. The other time he used Foya because he came to Foya Tinkia and received the money at Dawa. That was the time that I knew him. But Keita, for me to meet with him in person, it was in December 1998 because it was only Mike Lamin who knew him in person. I only heard his name. And that's December '98 that I met with him.

  • Pause there. Now I need to deal with some spellings and I may need the assistance of the interpreters. Masabulahun, how do you spell that, Mr Sesay, do you know?

  • I think it is M-A-S-A-B-U-L-A-H-U-N.

  • And then there was Gbandiwulo. How do you spell that?

  • Gbandiwulo, it's difficult to spell.

  • I wonder if the interpreters can help.

  • Mr Interpreter, could you help us with that latter spelling, please?

  • Your Honour, I can only do it phonetically and it is G-B-A-N-D-I-W-U-L-O.

  • Now this meeting - let's forget Abu Keita for now, whom you say you didn't meet until '98. That meeting with Varmuyan Sherif, when did that meeting with you take place?

  • Well, this was around April of '97, because it was in April that he brought the ammunition, because at that time they were unable to come through the Liberian main road because there was a main road from Foya to the Sierra Leonean border, that is Mendekoma, because at that time the Malian troops had deployed in Mendekoma. They were unable to come there - through there when they were bringing ammunition to the RUF so they had to go up the border to Masabulahun. That was in April of '97.

  • Now thereafter did you personally see Varmuyan Sherif again?

  • After those two times, from that to up to the overthrow I was in Giema. It was after the overthrow that I came to Freetown. I did not see him until '98 when I heard that he was working with Mr Taylor's government. That was in 2000 I saw him again going to Monrovia.

  • Now when between December - late December 1996 and May 1997 this trade was going on with ULIMO, were Varmuyan Sherif and Abu Keita working for the Liberian government?

  • Well, at that time, no, they were there as ULIMO generals because this was before the Liberian election. It was after the election in August, September that there was a government.

  • Now the arms and ammunition that the RUF were purchasing at this time, what was the source of those arms and ammunition; were they coming from Charles Taylor or were they coming from ULIMO?

  • No, this was an ULIMO ammunition. They were owned by ULIMO. And at that time ULIMO were armed and they were an independent group on their own. It was an organisation on its own. This was before the disarmament in Liberia.

  • That was the next question I was going to ask you. What was happening in Liberia at the time when this trade was going on between the RUF and ULIMO between December 1996 and May 1997? What was going on in Liberia?

  • At this time - at this time in Liberia ECOMOG was deploying in order to carry out the disarmament and, from that, after the disarmament, demobilisation, they were to go into elections.

  • Apart from these purchases from ULIMO was the RUF, during this period down to May 1997, receiving ammunition from any other source?

  • No, at that time it was only - it was - we were getting ammunition more from ULIMO. We can only buy two to three boxes, but to get 10 to 15 boxes, you could get that from ULIMO. You could only get large quantities from ULIMO. A good number of the RPG rockets we were only able to get from the ULIMO.

  • And what was being used to pay for these purchases from ULIMO?

  • Well, at first we used money, the one that Mr Sankoh left. So when the civilians provided the produce, Bockarie instructed Peter Vandi, as area commander, for him to mobilise people to transport the produce to the trading areas and the contractor would be able to sell that and Peter Vandi would bring the money to Bockarie, which Bockarie would use to send to Kennedy in Koindu, and some would stay with him in Buedu, because he too would be buying from the Dawa customs area while Kennedy would purchase from the Mendekoma border area. So this was what was going on until there came a time when the men came with ammunition and they were asking for single barrels and Bockarie too used to collect single barrels and giving them to the people.

  • Which people?

  • I mean the ULIMO, the ULIMO fighters, because it came to a time when it became rampant. People were coming from Kolahun, others were coming from Foya Tinkia, Masabulahun, everybody was asking for ammunition, and they would bring the ammunition to RUF, sell and get what they request for.

  • Who were these people who were bringing the ammunition to the RUF?

  • The ULIMO, the ULIMO fighters and their commanders.

  • And you've told us that some of the ranks would also bring material to Kennedy. Is that right?

  • When you say the ranks, who are you referring to?

  • I mean - like when I talk about the ranks I mean the majors, the lieutenants, they used to bring ammunition. The other ranks are sergeants, corporals, all of them used to come. Even the private soldiers used to bring ammunition, together with the lieutenants.

  • So this trade with ULIMO, Mr Sesay, was it controlled by Abu Keita and Varmuyan Sherif or was it a free-for-all where any number of ULIMO could come to sell arms to the RUF? Which was it?

  • Honestly, it was not a controlled thing. Keita and others used to sell theirs from the headquarters, but even the soldiers who were deployed at the border, the fighters in the villages used to bring theirs. There would be majors - like the major, for example, who was in Foya Tinkia, he too used to bring his own ammunition to Buedu for sale, and that would be unknown to his commanders. They were not selling arms. But the ammunition, different types, grenades, they used to bring them for sale.

  • Mr Griffiths - Mr Sesay, are you saying that the ULIMO would bring AK-47 ammunition and other types of ammunition in exchange for single-barrel guns?

  • Yes, my Lord. Some of them, when they come with the ammunition, they would say they want single-barrel guns. And when they pay them the money, they would say, "I want a single-barrel gun", and they would give them the single-barrel guns. Because the single-barrel guns were used for hunting.

  • Where were the RUF getting these single-barrel guns from?

  • We used to capture the single-barreled guns from the Kamajors. Four to five rounds single-barrel guns. It was the government who used to distribute them to the Kamajors all over the country.

  • And were these purchases made just with single-barrel guns, or were they also made with money and other times of payments?

  • They would ask for money. They would also ask for generators, tape recorders. It came to a time when it became rampant. Even if you had a tape they would come, and if you tell them, "I don't have money, but I have a tape recorder", they would take it. That was how it was. That was during the overthrow.

  • Now, during this period, Mr Sesay, were the RUF - and I'm talking about late December 1996 down to May 1997 - were the RUF receiving arms and/or ammunition from Charles Taylor?

  • No. At that time we had no communication with Mr Taylor. We did not receive anything from him. At this time ULIMO was controlling from St Paul's River up to Mendekoma. That's a very long distance.

  • Was it possible to have contact with Charles Taylor at this time?

  • Impossible. It was not possible. It was not possible at all, because ULIMO was controlling the entire Lofa and they entered parts of Bong County. In fact, the whole of Lofa was under their control, because from St Paul River to Mendekoma it's all Lofa and the entire Bomi Hills, so there was no means. There was no way to contact Mr Taylor or the NPFL. It was not possible.

  • Did you, for example, have radio contact with Mr Taylor at this time during this same period? Just to be clear, late December 1996 down to May 1997 was there radio contact with Charles Taylor?

  • No, we hadn't any radio contact with Mr Taylor.

  • Now, during this same period, late December 1996 down to May 1997, where was Mr Sankoh?

  • I had earlier said that Mr Sankoh left Abidjan together with Steve Bio and Gibril Massaquoi. They left Abidjan around March and they travelled to Nigeria. That was where Mr Sankoh was arrested. Since then up to the overthrow of the AFRC, Mr Sankoh was in Nigeria up to the end of '97 up to '98.

  • Pause there. After Mr Sankoh's arrest - no, let me start again. Between November 1996, when Mr Sankoh came to Sierra Leone for consultations, up to the time of Mr Sankoh's arrest in Nigeria, were you in contact with him?

  • Well, he was not sending direct messages to me, but he used to send message to the commander in charge. That is Bockarie.

  • What messages did he send during that period?

  • I want you to repeat the time frame. I missed the question.

  • Between November 1996, when Mr Sankoh returned following his short visit to Sierra Leone when he returned to Ivory Coast, until his arrest in Nigeria what contact did Mr Bockarie have with him?

  • Well, when Mr Sankoh returned to Abidjan, I mean - Sam Bockarie used to send the reports, situation reports, about, like, this contact - this ULIMO contact. He sent a message to Mr Sankoh that it has gone through and that he had met ULIMOs. He had also sent messages of attacks from SLPP government, violations of the accord, and how RUF was repelling the attacks. Mr Sankoh too used to send instructions to Bockarie that he should continue defending Kailahun. These were the types of messages that were going on up to the time he left Ivory Coast for Nigeria. That communication was going on on the field radio, the Thompson radio sets.

  • And that included, did it, the promotions in March of 1997?

  • Yes, that was what I said just now.

  • Thank you. Now, following Mr Sankoh's arrest in Nigeria, did contact between him and Bockarie continue?

  • Yes, Mr Sankoh used to communicate from Abidjan - I mean, from Nigeria to Abidjan through telephone lines. Then from Abidjan they used to send the message to Mr Sankoh through radio - through radio messages. That continued up to after the overthrow of the AFRC. Bockarie was still receiving messages from Mr Sankoh.

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat this last answer.

  • Pause there, Mr Sesay. We've missed something, so let's start again. Mr Sankoh used to communicate from Nigeria to where?

  • To Abidjan. The house where he was in Abidjan in Cocody, they had a radio set there. So he left Pa Kallon there, radio operators, and some wounded soldiers and their securities there. So through telephone conversations, whatever message that was meant for Bockarie, he will send the message on telephone, and the radio operator would decode it and - would code it and send it to the radio station in Buedu, and they would decode it and give it to Bockarie.

  • I know this might appear boring, Mr Sesay, but I have to get the details down, so I need to go over that with a little care, okay? Let's start a little bit earlier. The first time frame I want to ask you about now is November 1996 down to Mr Sankoh's arrest in Nigeria, okay?

  • During that period, where in the Ivory Coast was Mr Sankoh located?

  • Mr Sankoh was in Abidjan in an area called Cocody. In fact, that was where most of the important people in Abidjan lived. The President, the embassies, the ambassadors, that was where they were.

  • Did Mr Sankoh have a radio operator or operators at that address in Cocody?

  • Yes, he had radio operators whom he left there.

  • Who were these radio operators?

  • Well, at this time Mr Sankoh had three radio operators with him in Abidjan. One was in Danane at the base of the external delegation. Those who were in Abidjan, one Martin, he travelled with Mr Sankoh. Martin, he went with Mr Sankoh. Memunatu Deen and another lady, but I have forgotten her name, the two of them were there, Memunatu and another lady. The two of them stayed. Mr Sankoh left them in the house when he went to Nigeria. They were there as radio operators.

  • All right. Thank you. Now, thereafter, after his arrest in Nigeria, when Sankoh wanted to contact Bockarie what would he do?

  • Well, Foday Sankoh called to Abidjan --

  • Pause there. And how was that call made? By what means?

  • And who would he telephone in Abidjan?

  • At this time Jungle was in Abidjan at Mr Sankoh's house. Because in 1996 Mr Sankoh called Jungle, and Jungle was with him as one of his security guards in Abidjan. Because Jungle, he came to become an RUF member. He became part of the RUF in 1992 when ULIMO pushed them from Foya, because Jungle was a native of Foya Tinkia. Most of the NPL fighters then crossed into Guinea. So Jungle --

  • Mr Sesay, can I stop you there and can we - I note the time - after lunch come back to how Jungle came to be involved with the RUF. I just want to try and finish lines of contact with Mr Sankoh before lunch, okay? We've only got five minutes. So a telephone call to who in Abidjan?

  • He used to call in the house where Jungle was. And sometimes Jungle would answer the call, and sometimes it is Pa Kallon who would answer the call. And after receiving - sometimes it is Memunatu Deen who would receive the call. If it was Jungle or Pa Kallon who received the call, he would give them a message for Bockarie. Memunatu Deen would write out the message, code it and send it to Bockarie. That was how the communication was going on.

  • Thank you. And for how long were those lines of communication maintained? Nigeria to Abidjan, Abidjan to Bockarie, for how long did that continue?

  • Well, this started after Mr Sankoh had travelled and when he got to Nigeria. From the time that he got to Nigeria, that was the time the communication started. It continued, because they detained him in a hotel and they had access to a telephone. So this continued until after the overthrow of the SLPP by the AFRC. It continued. But when Mr Sankoh spoke, when he had an interview with the BBC and implored the RUF to join the AFRC, it was at that time that the Nigerian authorities blocked Mr Sankoh's line. Since then the communication stopped after he had instructed the RUF to join the AFRC, because he said it over the BBC. And he also had a conversation with Johnny Paul Koroma on telephone, and that interview was also played over the SLBS where Foday Sankoh instructed the RUF and that Mosquito was to take orders from Johnny Paul and that the RUF should join the AFRC and that the RUF should stop attacks against the AFRC. Also that the army was not an enemy of the RUF, and we should join the army to form the People's Army. But at the same time he had also sent a radio message to Bockarie while these interviews were going on. From that time they stopped him from communicating. At that time communication stopped between Bockarie and Mr Sankoh through Abidjan.

  • Thank you. Now, again before we adjourn for lunch I want your assistance with two important matters. After Sankoh's arrest in Nigeria, did Sankoh tell Bockarie that thenceforth he should take instructions and orders from Charles Taylor?

  • No, no, no. It was from Johnny Paul. The message that I saw, it was from Johnny Paul. And the broadcast on the SLBS, Bockarie was to take orders from Johnny Paul. He never mentioned Charles Taylor there.

  • Who gave the order for the RUF to join the AFRC in Freetown?

  • It was Mr Sankoh who gave the order to Sam Bockarie on BBC radio, on national radio and through field communication. It was Mr Sankoh who gave the order to Bockarie. Then Bockarie turned around and gave the instruction to Superman to move and join from the Western Area to join the AFRC in Freetown, and Isaac Mongor from the Kangari Hills was to move and join the AFRC. He was to move with his troops to join the AFRC in Makeni.

  • Did that order to join the AFRC come from Charles Taylor?

  • No, no. No, it did not come from him.

  • After lunch we'll return to Jungle, okay.

  • Very well. We'll take the luncheon break and reconvene at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.30 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.35 p.m.]

  • Good afternoon. Mr Griffiths, please continue.

  • Madam President, can I first of all announce a change in representation, that we've now been joined by the Principal Defender.

  • That is noted, thank you.

  • Mr Sesay, before the luncheon adjournment, we were dealing with contact between the RUF and ULIMO consequent upon an instruction given by Foday Sankoh in late November 1996. Do you recall that?

  • Now, in the context of that discussion, you mentioned a name Jungle. Do you recall that?

  • Yes, I recall that.

  • Now, Jungle, does Jungle have a different name?

  • Yes, he has his real name. That is --

  • And what is his real name?

  • His real name is Daniel Tamba.

  • Mr Sesay, how well do you know Daniel Tamba?

  • Well, I came to know Daniel Tamba in 1992 when ULIMO took control of Lofa, because Daniel Tamba was an NPFL. He himself, late Major Brown, they were NPFL members in Foya. So when ULIMO attacked Foya, they crossed. Their commander by then - they crossed by Guinea and came to Sierra Leone. Jungle, that is Daniel Tamba, and the late Major Brown and some of their men, they came to the Sierra Leonean side by Bendu. They were there with the RUF up to the time we retreated. So they stayed with us at Galehun in that Koindu area. So we were there up to the time Foday Sankoh left. We were still there until around June '94 when Mr Sankoh said I should come to Giema. Daniel Tamba, Jungle, the late Major Brown and some of their men, all of us came to Giema and we lived in Giema. So from '94, '95, we were all staying in Giema. '96, when Mr Sankoh went to Abidjan, he called him.

  • He called who?

  • He called Daniel Tamba. He went with some of the people who had come from Kailahun, like Pa Rogers, the late paramount chief Pa Ganawa, they went with Daniel Tamba through Guinea to the Ivory Coast and to Danane, and they went and met Mr Sankoh in Abidjan.

  • Pause there. Firstly, why did Daniel Tamba, also known as Jungle, go to the Ivory Coast at that time?

  • Well, before Mr Sankoh left Kailahun, he had met Daniel Tamba, and he knew him. So he's the leader. When he goes, whoever he wanted to call, he will call him. So he said he should be an additional member of the security guards who were with him. So he went with Pa Rogers.

  • But was Daniel Tamba at this time still a member of the NPFL?

  • No, no. From '92, he was now with the RUF up to this time.

  • And so what was he a member of?

  • Please excuse me. I think the witness said from 1992 he was now with the RUF.

  • So which group was he a member of?

  • He was a member of the RUF. When he left to go to Abidjan, he was a member of the RUF.

  • Between 1992, when you first met Jungle, until he went to Abidjan - first of all, in which year did he go to Abidjan?

  • It was in 1996. After Mr Sankoh had gone to Abidjan, it was at that time - it was later that he called him. They too went to Abidjan, because Mr Sankoh was changing his security guards. When some had stayed with him for some time, he will change them and call for another set. Jungle and others were in Giema from 1994, '95, and all the RUF men had recognised him as being part of the RUF officers. I was with him with the late Major Brown in Giema.

  • Now, during that period from when you first met Jungle in 1992 until '96 when he went to Ivory Coast, to your knowledge did Jungle go to Liberia?

  • No, Jungle did not go to Liberia. From the Koindu border, '94, we were staying in Giema. From '94, '95, I left him in Giema and I went to the Ivory Coast. When I left the Ivory Coast and when we were in Zogoda, it was then that Pa Sankoh called them and they went to the Ivory Coast in Abidjan.

  • How long did Jungle remain in the Ivory Coast?

  • Well, Jungle was in the Ivory Coast, because I recall he came to Freetown with Ibrahim Bah, but that was - that is a 1997 issue. He was in Ivory Coast until 1998. Then he returned. So he and Bockarie, both of them were Kissi people, so Bockarie used to send him to buy medicines at Baiwala.

  • Correction from the interpreter: Not "at Baiwala." "They used to buy medicines and other items."

    Your Honour, can he kindly repeat the last bit of his answer slowly?

  • Please pause, Mr Sesay. The interpreter was trying to explain something that you had said to us and then you were continuing. Now, start again with your recent testimony.

  • You said Bockarie used to send him to buy medicines where?

  • Yes. To buy medicines from Liberia, and sometimes he would meet the Lebanese men who were doing business with Bockarie in Monrovia, and he would return. Sometimes he used to come with the Lebanese men, up to the time Bockarie left the RUF. That was the time he too left the RUF. That was in December '99.

  • Mr Sesay, did you know Jungle to be an agent for Charles Taylor?

  • No. Jungle, I knew him for Sam Bockarie. In fact, at that time, I knew him as a member of RUF.

  • Sorry, what does the witness mean by "I knew him for Sam Bockarie"? What does that mean?

  • That Sam Bockarie used to send him to meet his Lebanese business people with whom he was doing business. Sam Bockarie used to send him to buy medicines to bring back. And even when they were in Abidjan during the AFRC time, Pa Kallon sent him to come and take supplies - take food money from Sam Bockarie. They had said that the money that Pa Sankoh had left had finished. So that was how I knew him for Sam Bockarie.

  • Mr Sesay, at an earlier stage, when dealing with Mr Tamba, did you describe him as a runner for Sam Bockarie?

  • Because that was not translated. When you earlier said that he was a runner for Sam Bockarie, what did you mean?

  • That Sam Bockarie used to send him - after the intervention, Sam Bockarie used to send him to meet his Lebanese partners, like Fayard, Mohamed and Fayard. They are Sierra Leonean-born Lebanese, but they were buying produce in part of 1998 and they used to buy from Sam Bockarie in Kailahun. Jungle used to come to Buedu. He would stay in Buedu for three weeks, one month, and Bockarie would say, "Go and meet those men, and they will give you so-and-so amount of rice and medicines." He would go and tell the Lebanese, and all of them would come with Jungle. That's what I mean.

  • Could the witness repeat the names of these Lebanese partners, please?

  • One was Mohamed and the other Fayard.

  • Could you spell Fayard for us?

  • I think it's F-A-Y-A-R-D.

  • Now, I want to come back to those two Lebanese men in a moment, but before doing that, you told us earlier about Jungle, on Sankoh's orders, moving to the Ivory Coast and remaining there for some time. To your knowledge, whilst Jungle was in the Ivory Coast, do you know if Sankoh ever sent him to Liberia to meet Charles Taylor?

  • No, I never heard that. I never heard that, and Jungle never told me that.

  • How close were you to Jungle?

  • Jungle was my friend. In fact, the two of us became very close before Sam Bockarie, because the two of us were in Kailahun from November 1993. We were at the border, you know, up to 1994. We were together in Giema, '95. Then I left him and went to Ivory Coast. So when I was in Giema, we were together on a daily basis. When we were going on patrol at the targets, we would go together. So we were together.

  • Just help us, Mr Sesay, because this is important. How close were you? Were you best friends, or what? Just comrades in arms, or what?

  • He was my friend.

  • Sorry, what does the witness mean when he says "the two of us became very close before Sam Bockarie"? That means what exactly?

  • What I mean, my Lord, Sam Bockarie was not in Kailahun in 1994, 1995. I was in Giema with Jungle. Sam Bockarie was in Kenema, then part of Rutile, so he was not close with anybody who was in Kailahun then. I was in Giema with Jungle. Then we were together in the same village.

  • Your Honours, they are doing some repair works in the building that is giving us some trouble.

  • Madam Court Manager, can something be done, maybe through the head of the sub-office, to deliver some sort of message so that at least the proceedings can continue uninterrupted.

  • Your Honours, I'll liaise with him.

  • Mr Griffiths, I think you better take a seat momentarily so we can sort this out.

  • Your Honours, he's going to follow up and will get back to us.