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

  • Mr Zaymay, please state your full name for the record.

  • I am T Edward Zaymay.

  • And the T, what does it stand for?

  • The T means Teman. That's my country name.

  • How do you spell Teman?

  • How do you spell Teman?

  • When were you born?

  • I was born on 8 February 1958.

  • And where were you born?

  • I was born in Gborplay.

  • Besides the names Edward Teman Zaymay, were you or have you been known by any other names?

  • Yes, my name - my popular name is T Zaymay.

  • Any other name other than T Zaymay?

  • What nationality are you?

  • I am from Liberia.

  • And what tribe or ethnic group do you belong to?

  • I am a Gio tribesman and I hailed from Nimba County.

  • What languages do you speak?

  • Besides Gio do you speak any other languages?

  • Do you speak Liberian English?

  • Yes, I am a Liberian so I speak Liberian English.

  • Are you currently employed?

  • No.

  • And what do you do for a living?

  • I do farming to feed my family.

  • And do you have a family?

  • Tell us about your family. Are you married?

  • Yes, I have two wives.

  • And children? Do you have children?

  • What is your level of education?

  • I stopped in the 8th grade in 1979.

  • And when you stopped school, did you enter into any occupation?

  • What occupation did you go into?

  • My first job was in the army.

  • When did you join the army?

  • I joined the army in 1979.

  • Where did you join the army and what were you doing in the army when you joined?

  • I was recruited in Nimba County.

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

  • Mr Witness, you are going to have to speak a little slower than you normally would because whatever you are saying is being interpreted to us in English and it's being recorded. So you need to slow down. Now, you were asked a question. What was the question you asked the witness?

  • The question was when he joined the army, what did he do in the army.

  • Yes. Please repeat your answer slowly.

  • Yes. I said I joined the army in 1979.

  • Yes. Did you receive any training?

  • Where did you receive your training?

  • The 2nd Battalion, Todee.

  • Sorry, the name again?

  • 2nd Battalion, Camp Todee.

  • Camp Todee is spelled Camp T-O-D-E-E?

  • Sorry, would you be able to assist me with the spelling of Todee?

  • Yes. T-O-D-E-E.

  • Thank you. How long was the training for?

  • The training lasted for nine months.

  • And what was the nature of the training?

  • It was an infantry training.

  • And after training for nine months, where did you go from there?

  • After my graduation from Todee, I stayed on the base and the Military Police commander came and recruited me as a Military Police personnel.

  • Did you receive any training before you became a Military Police personnel?

  • Where did you get the training?

  • At the same camp, Todee.

  • And how long was the training as a Military Police personnel, as you put it?

  • The training did not last for long. And unknowingly there was a coup plot in the pipeline.

  • We'll come to the coup plot in a minute. For how long were you in training as a Military Police - as a Military Police personnel before the coup?

  • After my recruitment as Military Police personnel, the training did not even last for a month.

  • And what happened after that one month?

  • There was the 1980 coup plot that brought down Tolbert's government.

  • Was the coup successful? You mentioned a coup plot. Did the coup succeed?

  • Yes. That brought Samuel Kanyon Doe to power.

  • And which government was deposed, just to be clear?

  • They overthrew the Tolbert regime.

  • And when Samuel Doe came to power, did you remain at the training camp as a Military Police?

  • Immediately after the coup, we were called to town as the 2nd Battalion to report at the brigade headquarters.

  • And when you refer to town, which town are you referring to?

  • Does BTC stand for anything?

  • Barclay Training Centre.

  • And who called you to Barclay Training Centre?

  • The commanding general, General Quiwonkpa.

  • Was Quiwonkpa the commanding general of the army?

  • Quiwonkpa and Doe joined to overthrow the government. And when I went there, I met Quiwonkpa serving as commanding general of the army.

  • And what happened when you got to Barclay Training Centre?

  • When I got to the BTC, they called a formation and we were in formation, especially the 2nd Battalion element that had just graduated from the training, and the commanding general came to speak to us. I was surprised because Quiwonkpa was my tactical sergeant, the staff sergeant at the training base, and when we went to town, I was surprised to see him serve as brigadier general. So he told us that it was not strange, that there had been a great change in the army. So he said, "All soldiers will now take orders from me."

  • And were you given any specific instruction or assignment?

  • Yes. We were all briefed by the commanding general that no enlisted man will take orders from any other officer. He said, "You guys should go and patrol through the streets," and that, "If you guys saw any of the Congo people" - he said, "In fact, we have just executed 13 of them." And he said, "There are more that we needed. So if you guys came across any of them, you should arrest them and bring them to me at the brigade headquarters." He said, "No harassment, no looting," and those were the orders.

  • Now --

  • Mr Chekera, two matters for clarification. The first is on page 10 where he is telling us what happened when he went to formation and said, "So he said, 'All the soldiers will now take orders from me.'" Is he talking about himself or is he quoting Quiwonkpa?

  • That is one. The other was when he said "all illicit men". I don't know. Is that "enlisted men" or "illicit men"? There's a word I didn't understand.

  • I think that was later on corrected on the record. Initially it was illicit and then it was correct on the transcript to enlisted after the witness referred to the word again for the second time.

  • And also the - is it Congo people?

  • I was going to clarify that.

  • Firstly, you were telling us about Quiwonkpa addressing you at BTC. When you said he said that all the soldiers who were at BTC should take instructions from me, were you referring to taking instructions from Quiwonkpa or from yourself?

  • No. At that time I was just a private soldier. The instruction was given to the entire army by the commanding general of the army.

  • To take instructions from who?

  • That not to take orders from any other officer, starting from WO to general, from any other officer because the coup was headed by - from enlisted men from master sergeant down to private. Those were the enlisted men. So he said, "No enlisted man should take any orders from any officer." That was the order.

  • And who were you going to take instructions from then?

  • The order given to us by the commanding general that we should go to the field and implement the orders. The commanding general maybe did not want - maybe there were some officers who were in the corner that could have given us orders.

  • Mr Witness, stop. We want to know who you were supposed to take orders from. Who was this person you were supposed to take orders from.

  • From there the unit was broken into sections and the master sergeant was the head of the unit.

  • Perhaps something is lost in translation. I don't know. We just wanted a clarification. You were quoting to us something that Quiwonkpa said. He says, "From now on you will take orders from me." "Me" means who?

  • He was the commanding general that controlled the army. That all soldiers were now to report to the commanding general.

  • "He" means who?

  • General Thomas G Quiwonkpa.

  • Now, you mentioned people you referred to as the Congo people. Who were the Congo people?

  • The Congo people that I spoke about were members of the True Whig Party that was overthrown by the PRC. That was the group of Congo people.

  • Sorry, the name of the party again? What's the name of the party?

  • The True Whig Party.

  • Would you be able to spell the name of the party for us?

  • T-R-U-E. W-E [sic]. P-A-R-T-Y. That was the government that was headed by Tolbert and was overthrown by the PRC government.

  • And why were you rounding up the Congo people and arresting them?

  • Because I was a soldier and I implemented orders.

  • And do you know why the government was rounding up the Congo people and arresting them?

  • Yes.

  • Because the government was corrupt.

  • As a result, did you implement the order? Did you round up Congo people and arrest them?

  • Not me. The army arrested some of them.

  • And do you know what happened to those Congo people who were arrested?

  • What happened to some of them, if you know?

  • Those who were arrested were sentenced at the highest prison camp at Camp Belle Yella, 14 of them.

  • You said - did you say they were sentenced at the highest prison camp? Did you say sentenced?

  • Yes. They were sent.

  • Oh, they were sent to camp Belle Yella?

  • I think Belle Yella, the spelling is B-E-L-L-E, Y-E-L-L-A. Is that correct, Mr Witness?

  • Would you be able to help --

  • No, no, no. It's already on the record.

  • It's already on the record. Thank you.

  • And do you know what happened to those prisoners who were sent to Belle Yella?

  • What happened to them?

  • After 90 days they were released by the commanding general.

  • And, generally, how did the civilians react to the coup in 1980?

  • The civilians embraced the coup --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to go over that slowly.

  • Mr Witness, you were a little too fast. Please repeat your answer explaining how the civilians reacted to the coup, slowly.

  • The civilians were jubilating. "Native woman born soldier, native woman born soldier," and they were doing that all over the street.

  • Sorry, what was that about native women or native woman burn soldier? Was that a song?

  • Now, did you remain in the army after the coup?

  • For how long did you remain in the army after the coup?

  • After the coup I remained in the army until the '85 invasion.

  • What was the invasion in 1985?

  • In 1985 because of tribalism --

  • Yes, please continue.

  • Yes. I was one of the survivors during the '85 invasion. I was on my normal duty at the Military Police headquarters at the BTC, the Barclay Training Centre, under the brigade headquarters. One morning, and even before '85, Thomas G Quiwonkpa and Samuel Kanyon Doe, the President then, they were friends. They overthrew the True Whig Party government and Quiwonkpa was brought to take over as commanding general of the army and Master Sergeant Doe as President. Quiwonkpa - I mean Doe was advised --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to slow down again and go over that.

  • Mr Witness, please slow down again and go over your evidence where you were trying to tell us Doe was advised, et cetera. Repeat from there.

  • Before Quiwonkpa and Samuel Kanyon Doe were friends, but the advisers then to Samuel Kanyon Doe by then, people like Bar M-Balleh they started advising Samuel Doe wrongly.

  • Sorry, before you continue would you assist us with the spelling of Samuel Doe's adviser? The spelling of the adviser. You mentioned a name there?

  • B-A-R M dash B-A-L-L-E-H. That is how I spell it. Bar M-Balleh.

  • Please continue. What did M-Balleh advise Doe?

  • The elders then started advising Doe that you cannot remember when you were small there was a war between the Gio and the Krahn and that war was a great war. When the Gio people succeeded and they were victorious they captured some of the citizens from Grand Gedeh and they took them to Nimba. And the people settled there. They called them the Nimba County Krahn. And there is a big district there in Nimba. So this Quiwonkpa business, Quiwonkpa is seeking more popularity in the army than you, the President. This is a man you've got to be careful with. Doe was a good leader. Doe brought a lot of development. He was a soldier. But they continued brainwashing him. We did not know --

  • Just pause there a minute. Sorry. Who continued to brainwash Doe?

  • His advisers and his elders, his own country people.

  • And when you say his own country people, which people are you referring to?

  • The elderly people, the Krahn people.

  • Yes. Please continue. You were saying that they continued to brainwash Doe. Please continue from there.

  • Then one morning when we went to watch around, we heard over air that Quiwonkpa had been released of his commanding general position and he's been transferred to the Senate as Secretary-General. And Quiwonkpa was our own native man in the army, especially the Gio and the Mano people from Nimba County, and we were in the majority in the army. So when Quiwonkpa went to the office, he was invited to go to the mansion. When he went, he refused to take up that assignment. He said, "No, I am a career soldier. I am not educated to go and serve as Secretary-General." So he refused to take up the assignment and he went back to the barracks.

    When he came, an alarm was blown and every one of us, the Gio group, we were sad. So some other kinsmen from Nimba started telling him that he shouldn't take up the assignment. They asked him to refuse that assignment. And Quiwonkpa said he will not take that assignment and he said he will not stay as commanding general. He's opted to leave the country. But other people told him to stay and resist and that we should put up a fight and who were ready to support him to bring down the Samuel Kanyon Doe government, Quiwonkpa being --

  • Sorry, just finish the sentence before I interpose.

  • Okay. So Quiwonkpa was relieved of his post and he left the barracks.

  • Where did Quiwonkpa go when he was released, or rather relieved of his post?

  • He said he would not continue to stay in the barracks and that the barracks was for soldiers and he was now a civilian, so he went to live with a Lebanese friend on Center Street in Monrovia. That was where he was living.

  • Now, when you gave this long explanation, you were trying to explain to us about the coup in 1985. Could you please go back and explain how this relates to the coup in 1985?

  • That is where I'm heading to. Quiwonkpa left and from his Center Street residence and left Liberia. Nobody knew his whereabouts. And we remained loyal to the state. That is the Nimba citizens. In fact, I met Quiwonkpa in the army as a staff sergeant.

  • Let me just stop you there. Do you remember the year that Quiwonkpa left the army?

  • What year was that?

  • In that year do you remember anything else of note happening in Liberia?

  • Yes, what happened in 1983?

  • In 1983 there was the Nimba --

  • Your Honours, the last word was not clear to the interpreter.

  • Please repeat your answer. In 1983 what happened?

  • There was the Nimba raid in 1983.

  • What was the Nimba raid?

  • Yes, I was assigned in Monrovia and within the 5th Battalion in Nimba, when I went to work by then I was assigned with Colonel Alfred Zeh, one of the PRC members at Capitol Building as a special bodyguard of the Military Police.

  • Just a minute. The name of the colonel, Alfred who?

  • Colonel Alfred Zeh.

  • How do you spell the second name Zeh?

  • Thank you. Please continue with your explanation?

  • So when I went to work in the morning at the Capitol Building I saw the Military Police who were assigned with the PRC members there. We were about 22. So I saw every one of them downstairs and they said that all Nimba citizens assigned within the MP unit should go on one side. So when I went they asked me to go on the other side to join the Nimba group. And then there was an order that all of us should report back to the MP headquarters. The Gio people - he said they had attacked the Charles Julu residence in LAMCO Nimba and they killed his children.

  • Who said the Gio people attacked Charles Julu's residence?

  • Colonel Alfred Zeh, my chief.

  • Yes, please continue. You told me about the attack on Charles Taylor's children in Nimba?

  • There's a location in Nimba, LAMCO or something?

  • LAMCO Yekepa. LAMCO Yekepa. That is where the attack took place. Yekepa is located in Nimba.

  • Mr Chekera, I think there's something else you ought to correct as well. You said the attack on Charles Taylor's children. That's not correct.

  • If I said Charles Taylor then --

  • My apology. I will come back to that and clarify:

  • Firstly did you say LAMCO in Yekepa?

  • LAMCO is L-A-M-C-O. Do you know what LAMCO stands for?

  • LAMCO stands for Liberian and American Mining Company.

  • Now, you said he told you that the Gio people had attacked Charles Julu's residence. Please continue from there.

  • Yes. My chief colonel, Alfred Zeh, was a nephew to Samuel Kanyon Doe, so when I went there that was what they told me. They said, "You, MP, join that group." He said, "You the Gio people have attacked the PPF director's residence in - at LAMCO, Yekepa, and have killed a lot of his children. So you will never continue with you the Gio people, so you have to report back to your mother unit at the BTC." So we left and it was an order, so we proceeded to the headquarters. And we were assigned --

  • Your Honours, the last word again was not clear to the --

  • You said you were assigned to where?

  • Back to the headquarters. Back to the MP headquarters for normal duties. And two days after, whilst we were there and even before the two days, there was a unit in a truck loaded moving towards Nimba. And when they got there, there was a complete war. They started killing people. They started killing. Those were the Krahn soldiers.

  • And what - which people were they killing, the Krahn soldiers?

  • The Nimbadians, the Gio and the Mano. They said, "You killed our people, we will also kill you." And Charles Julu himself led the troops and they started killing people. They killed one of the kinsman who was the only geologist from the Nimbadian side that was working with the company. One DK Wonselea. He was a Gio man.

  • Did you say one kinsman or one kinsmen?

  • One kinsman. One of our own people from Nimba County.

  • Yes, please continue. You were telling us about - let's just go back to the place in the transcript where you were telling us about the killing of the kinsman who was the only geologist because there is a word that's written on our transcript that doesn't look like what you said. Let's just go back there and please explain again. They killed one of your kinsman who was a geologist. Please continue from there and go slowly, if you may.

  • The witness said a geologist from the Nimbadian side.

  • Thank you, Madam President. It's something completely different on the transcript and I will not repeat it:

  • They killed one of your kinsmen who was the only geologist. Please continue from there.

  • Yes. He was called DK Wonselea, and they arrested so many others.

  • Help us with the spelling of DK Wonselea, the second name Wonselea.

  • W-O-N-S-E-L-E-A.

  • Thank you. Please continue with your narrative.

  • And they arrested a lot of people, along with 300 Nimba children from 7 years old down to babies. They put them in a truck, and at that time we were in Monrovia. We were the Monrovia group. They brought them to town and they took them to Schefflein.

  • Yes. What happened in Schefflein?

  • They killed them and dumped them in a hole.

  • All the 300 children?

  • Yes. Yes. And they said, "We killed their children, they we kill ours too." And it was 50/50. And some other older people who were arrested, they were taken to the BTC, the military highest confinement area, Post Stockade at the BTC and that included Colonel Samuel Varney, Yarsuo Dorlea, Edward Mineh.

  • I'm going to ask you to, if you may, spell the name immediately after you say it. Let's start with Yarsuo Dorlea. We already have the spelling of Edward Mineh. How do you spell Yarsuo Dorlea?

  • The same DK Wonselea, we used to call him Yarsuo Dorlea, but that was the same DK Wonselea.

  • And how do you spell Yarsuo, if you may?

  • I'm unable to spell that one. But it was the same DK Wonselea.

  • Madam President, I will just attempt Yarsuo and spell it Y-A-R-S-U:

  • The third name you mentioned was Edward. Did you say Edward Mineh?

  • Edward Mineh and General Varney.

  • Yes. And what happened to these gentlemen?

  • They were later released.

  • Who were these people, the three that you have mentioned? Did they belong to any particular group? Were they a member of any organisation?

  • Yes. Colonel Samuel Varney was in the AFL. He was a Nimba citizen. DK Wonselea was a Nimba citizen. Edward Mineh was a Nimba citizen assigned in Sanniquellie with the AFL. Those were few of the people that they brought to jail.

  • Do you know why they were arrested?

  • There was no reason. It was simply because they were Nimbadians. They said Nimba citizens killed their children in Yekepa, so they have to revenge. There was no reason.

  • So these arrests and the killings, is this what you referred to as the Nimba raid?

  • Yes. The incident is well-known in Liberia as the Nimba raid. Just when you say the Nimba raid, people's minds will reflect on that incident at that time, 1983.

  • And if you recall, we were discussing the 1985 coup. How does this Nimba raid relate to the coup in 1985?

  • At that time Quiwonkpa had left the country when the Nimba raid occurred and that was where the tribalism started. Tension started mounting between the Gio and the Krahn.

  • Do you know where Quiwonkpa went to when he left the country?

  • I don't know where Quiwonkpa went to.

  • Mr Chekera, before you leave it, I'm quite sure that I heard the witness say the incident is well-known in Liberia, and that's my note, and it's recorded "as in Sierra Leone".

  • Thank you for the observation. I had heard Liberia. I may just clarify:

  • Did you say the incident, the Nimba raid, is well-known in Liberia or did you say in Sierra Leone?

  • I am talking about my country, Liberia, the Nimba raid. Every citizen in Liberia, if you ask them about what is called the Nimba raid, they will tell you that the incident took place at LAMCO. I am talking about Liberia.

  • Now, you've told us about how Quiwonkpa left the country after the Nimba raid and went into exile. Quiwonkpa did come back. When did he come back?

  • Okay. Quiwonkpa had left and we all returned to normal duties. And unexpectedly, 5 o'clock one morning we heard a heavy sound of artillery shell, heavy bombardment, and that covered the whole of Monrovia. And at that time we were only using one station, the FM 89.9. That was the only station.

  • Just pause there. Let's just have the time frame. You've mentioned the time. You are very specific on the time, 5 o'clock. During the day, the month and the year, or either of those?

  • [Microphone not activated] of what day of the month of what year, if you remember? If not, just tell us what you remember.

  • 5 o'clock, 12 November 1985.

  • Yes. Please tell us what happened at 5 o'clock on that date.

  • After the artillery shelling and the bombardment, and at that time there was only one station in Liberia called the FM 89.9. We heard over the radio that, "Speaking to you now is Thomas G Quiwonkpa. Thomas G Quiwonkpa. I have entered with my men. I do not want any bloodshed. All AFL personnel should remain their respective areas. My men I brought in do not know you. There is no escape route for Samuel Kanyon Doe. I am in complete control of the country. That was the announcement.

  • And did you do anything following the announcement?

  • And from there we saw that the whole of Liberia burst out into jubilation, and then I watched as my charge's quarter at the BTC, there was entrance controlled by the Military Police into the brigade --

  • Sorry. You were at your what? We didn't get what you said you were. You said you were at your something quarter?

  • I was at my charge of quarters, the MP headquarters at the BTC, where if you entered, the first headquarters, you will meet the information booth, that is where the Military Police are assigned. And by then the gate was widely open. And it is at the BTC where you have the commanding general's office. When we went, we saw Quiwonkpa on top of a Mohawk that entered into the BTC. And all of our commanders who were supposed to be giving orders, every one of them started jubilating, embracing him, and people were climbing on top of the Mohawk and telling him, "You are welcome. You are welcome. We miss you. We miss you."

  • What is a Mohawk?

  • It is a war tank. A Mohawk is a war tank. In common terms we call it Mohawk.

  • On top of a war tank. So, you know, he said he had now entered. So our commanders from whom we were supposed to take orders to either fire guns or to do any other thing, all of them started crying over the man and all of us - all of them went to the brigade headquarters and Quiwonkpa asked where is the commanding general in charge. Morris T Zehzeh [phon] was the commanding general in charge. Morris T Zehzeh had been the deputy commanding general to Quiwonkpa and when Quiwonkpa left he took over. And the commanding general ran away when he saw Quiwonkpa coming. Instead of staying to take orders, he ran away. When Quiwonkpa entered there all of us followed him and Cooper - he said, "Cooper Teah, you stay here as acting commanding general with your men." And then he got on top of the Mohawk and he moved to Post Stockade and he asked, "Where is the Post Stockade commander?" He said, "Is there any soldier in jail?" They burst into the cells and freed the soldier prisoners and he asked every one of them to remain calm and stay in the barracks and he said, "You shouldn't get into the streets because you don't know the men I brought with me and they too do not know you, so I don't want anyone" --

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked to slow down and repeat from where I stopped.

  • Mr Witness, you are running again with your testimony. Please slow down. Now you have to repeat your answer where you said he told the prisoners who were released from Stockade to stay off the street because his men didn't know them. Now continue from there.

  • Sorry, Madam President, before he continues:

  • Did you say Quiwonkpa was told to act as commanding general or did you say another name?

  • When Quiwonkpa got to the barracks he asked for the commanding general and they said the commanding general had run away.

  • Who did he appoint to act as commanding general? That was my question.

  • He appointed Cooper Teah who came with him. Cooper Teah. He was in the army before. Cooper Teah came with him to the barracks.

  • Teah is spelt T-E-A-H?

  • Yes, please continue from where Madam President had directed you to continue from. Sorry for the interruption.

  • When they broke open the Post Stockade cells and set everybody free he said every one of them should go back to their respective places in the barracks and relax. He said he did not want any soldiers to get to the streets. He said, "The men I brought with me do not know you and you too do not know them and I do not want any blood shed. You should remain calm." From there he got on top of his Mohawk again and proceeded to an unknown destination.

    So all of us in the soldiers including our commanders, we were all jubilating. We were all happy for his return. We left and went to the MP headquarters. Whilst we were sitting down at the MP headquarters there was a land phone. There was one land phone on the desk, on the MP's desk. The phone rang and when the phone rang, our Military Police commander at that time Colonel Bingo from Lofa - Colonel Joseph Bingo from Lofa, he came outside and when the telephone started ringing all of us who were there were afraid to touch the telephone and Colonel Bingo went and picked up the telephone and answered and he said yes. He said, "Who am I speaking with?" And then Samuel Kanyon Doe called his name and he said, "I am the President. I am talking to you Colonel Bingo, MP commander." He said, "Which of the Presidents?" And Doe said, "What do you mean by that?" And he said, "Yes, sir." He said, "Quiwonkpa is in the country. He announced that he is here. And tell me who is the President talking?" He said, "I, Samuel Kanyon Doe." He said, "I want you to move the troops now to the brigade headquarters."

    And at that time before Quiwonkpa could even come to the barracks, most of the PRC members who were there with Doe at that time were arrested and they were confined at the Post Stockade. All of his cabinet members - all of Doe's cabinet members were arrested and locked up in Post Stockade. And Quiwonkpa said he did not want any of Doe's people executed. He did not want any bloodshed. So at that time people were still bringing in prisoners - prisoners to the Post Stockade.

    And then the MP commander told Doe that, "You see - you said I should move the troops to the brigade headquarters to arrest the people. How could I go? I am not armed. I am not armed. How do I get there? And these men, they are well armed. They have artillery pieces, RPGs, rocket propelled grenades, grenade launchers, GMGs, calibres. They have all the heavy weapons and how do I get there to these people?"

    And it was right away that the phone cut off. And then the MP commander told us, he said, "Look, something is happening." He said, "Doe is in power. Doe is static. Doe gave me orders to conduct arrests. I cannot endanger the lives of you people now, so you sit down. You stop dancing. Sit down." And all of us sat down.

    And in less than three hours the 1st Battalion that was loyal to Samuel Kanyon Doe headed by Colonel Wright, Moses Wright, he was a Krahn man - we did not know how Doe got to Schefflein I mean - and from Monrovia to Schefflein is a long distance. How did Doe get there? The troops moved to the FM where Quiwonkpa and Prince Johnson's men were.

  • Just pause there. Which troops moved to the FM?

  • The 1st Battalion from Schefflein.

  • And those were government forces?

  • Yes. That unit was a prepared unit on stand-by for the protection of the President. They were all Krahn men. The battalion commander himself was a Krahn man. They were all Doe people, the 1st Battalion.

  • And the place where they went to FM, what was that place FM?

  • The FM station. It's close to the ELWA Junction. It's not much distance from the ELWA Junction. That was the only station operational at that time in Liberia.

  • And is that in Monrovia?

  • Yes, it is in Monrovia close to the ELWA Junction.

  • Okay. Please continue from where the troops moved to the FM radio - to the FM station. Sorry, maybe let me just clarify. FM station, what station is it?

  • That was the only Liberian broadcasting station.

  • Now, please continue. And you said that was where Quiwonkpa was and you mentioned - did you say Prince Johnson?

  • Yes. Please continue from where you were telling us about when the troops moved to the radio station FM?

  • When the troops moved there, we were still at the BTC. We were at the BTC. We the MPs knew about the communication, but the other soldiers did not know about the state of the issue and they were still conducting arrests. So we were at BTC. When the troops moved from Schefflein they passed through the Zena Hill. There is a hill at the back of the station by the side of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex and they launched an attack at them and at that time Quiwonkpa was at the radio station. Prince Johnson too was there. They got there. They dislodged them.

  • The name of the hill again? You mentioned a hill. What's the name of the hill?

  • The hill is called Zena Hill. There is a high hill called the Zena Hill close to the radio station.

  • Do you know how to spell Zena?

  • Please continue with your narrative.

  • And the people moved in there, they disorganised them and they took a cassette that was recorded by Doe at Schefflein and they slotted in the cassette and the cassette was playing.

  • [Microphone not activated] it would be easier when you refer to your particular group to refer to them by name rather than to say "the people" if you can. You said the people moved there and they dislodged them. Who moved there and dislodged who? If you could say who moved over and dislodged who. If you could just start again and say so and so moved and dislodged so and so and continue, please.

  • The loyal troops from the 1st Battalion moved to the radio station and they dislodged Quiwonkpa and his men from the radio station. And there was a cassette that Doe had recorded at Schefflein. They went there and they played that cassette and that provided maximum security and they deployed heavy troops at the radio station and they announced over the air and he said, "I am Samuel Kanyon Doe. I am still in power. There is no escape route for any rebel." And he said Quiwonkpa, who said - he said, "Quiwonkpa's coup has failed." He said, "I am Samuel Kanyon Doe, President of Liberia." And he said, "Every Liberian citizen who knows or who is aware of the rebels, you should kill them, you should bring their bodies and we will put them - you should report them to us and if you kept them under cover and they were discovered by us, you too will be treated like a rebel."

    And they started playing the national anthem of Liberia and right up there the situation changed and we were still sitting at the MP headquarters when we saw a group of SATU. SATU was the special bodyguard unit assigned with the President at that time, the SATU troops who were trained at Camp Israel. They saw the SATU troops. They came in with trucks straight to the Post Stockade where all the cabinet ministers had been confined for the ministers of the PRC government. They went there, they broke open the cells, they brought the prisoners outside.

  • Your Honours, could the witness be asked again to slow down and repeat from where he stopped.

  • Mr Witness, please slow down again. You are running.

  • You said at Post Stockade they broke the prison cells open and brought the prisoners outside. Continue from there slowly.

  • They went and broke the prisons open. They took all the prisoners who had been confined by Quiwonkpa, his National Patriotic Front - the national patriotic forces, rather, and they took the prisoners to the President. And they were released by the President and he gave them orders that the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, General Henry S Dubar, was arrested by Quiwonkpa himself in BTC in our presence.

  • Do you know how to spell Dubar?

  • D-U-B-A-R, Dubar.

  • Yes. Please continue.

  • Doe again empowered them and gave them orders. And when the chief of staff got back to town and went to his defence office, the Krahn guys started reporting to the chief of staff and he started giving orders. Whilst we were at the BTC, we saw a Death Squad coming from the mansion and it was headed by Captain Tailey.

  • Mr Witness, you said something that doesn't appear to make sense. You said, "The prisoners were released by the President himself. He gave order that the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, General Henry S Dubar," and then what happened after that? What were the orders?

  • The order that was given to the chief of staff was that, "You are the chief of staff of the army. You will go and arrest every rebel forces that came in and every supporter of Quiwonkpa. Anybody that you hear that was jubilating in favour of Quiwonkpa, those are declared enemies," and that was the order. The order was passed to the soldiers. And whilst at the BTC, there was a fellow called Captain Tailey. He was the Death Squad leader for Samuel Kanyon Doe at the mansion. Captain Tailey --

  • Just pause there a minute. Captain Tailey, I think the spelling is T-A-I-L-E-Y.

  • You said he was leader of the Death Squad. What Death Squad are you talking about?

  • I am talking about Samuel Kanyon Doe's Death Squad. Captain Tailey was a Krahn man. He worked and came to the barracks with two pick-ups.

  • The Death Squad that you are talking about, were they officers of any organisation in the government of Samuel Doe?

  • They were AFL personnel, AFL personnel assigned at the Executive Mansion from the SATU unit. The SATU unit. They came to the barracks and they went straight to the MP headquarters and they asked, "Where is Colonel Bingo? Where is Colonel Bingo? Won't anybody talk?" And the first man who stood up to talk, he was shot straight from his head up into his leg and he was killed from all sides by an automatic by one Sergeant Bati [phon], a Gio boy. And they asked, "Why did you delay to talk? All of you here have been declared rebels. Your commander too is a rebel because he refused to execute an order from the President."

  • Sorry, just pause there a minute. We just want to understand. When you say he was shot straight from his head up to his leg, can you describe how the officer was shot again? Describe for us how he was shot.

  • Yes. The man opened an AK-47 automatic rifle at the man and he killed him straight down. That is what I refer to as spray. He killed him on site with an automatic. And they broke the windows open and they jumped into the office of Colonel Bingo, the commander. He was a Gissi man. They took him away and they killed him. And straight from there, we were like chickens in a basket. When you kill the mother, there is nowhere to go. We never had any commander again. So we were just - all of us were just sitting at the side of the MP headquarters because we knew any one of us would die at any time. And they caught Captain Man Tonah and killed him. They killed the police depot commander that was assigned at the MP headquarters. There was a national police depot at --

  • Again, if - when you mention a name, if you could either give us a chance to spell the name or help us with the spelling.

  • Your Honours, the interpreter with like to make correction. It was Colonel Bati who was killed. Colonel Bati. There is somewhere - it goes the opposite. The interpreter said it in the opposite form. But actually it was Colonel Bati who was killed.

  • I heard of a captain somebody.

  • Your Honours, rightly so, a Captain Bati was killed.

  • Yes, I heard a captain Tonah. Maybe, Madam President, I could just ask the question.

  • Let there be some order. Mr Chekera, could you clarify what the witness said.

  • Mr Zaymay, who was killed by who? Just give us the names of who was killed and who killed that person.

  • The same Death Squad that was headed by Tailey who came to the MP headquarters arrested Captain Man Tonah, a Gio man.

  • Could we have the spelling of Captain Man Tonah?

  • M-A-N, T-O-N-A-H.

  • Yes. Please continue from there.

  • And from there, there was one other police officer whose name I've forgotten now - oh, yes. There was one Major Toweh, a police officer. T-O-W-E-H. One Major Toweh, he was the depot commander. The MP headquarters had a police section there that treated the civilians. And there was a depot there and he was the depot commander, Major Toweh, a Gio man. He was also taken away by this same captain, Man Tonah - no, I mean, Captain Tailey, and he executed them. From there --

  • Sorry. Again, who executed who?

  • The Death Squad commander, when he came, those were the people he arrested and he took them along with him and executed them right at the football field at BTC.

  • And you are referring to Major Toweh as one of the people who was executed?

  • Yes, sir. Yes, sir, Major Toweh - we call him Major Toweh - he was the depot commander assigned at the MP headquarters and he was the police depot commander assigned at the MP headquarters. He was a Gio man from Nimba County.

  • And why was - why were - these two people that you have mentioned, why were they executed?

  • Captain Toweh and the --

  • Yes, because they were Nimbadians. They were Gio. They said all of them were rebels and the MP commander refused the President's orders. And when they were killed, they will just throw your body away and they walked away. There was nobody to ask. So from there they left and they went. And at that time the commanding general was - I will get the general's name later. There was another commanding general in charge.

  • Which forces? Commanding general of what forces?

  • Yes. Please continue.

  • Okay. I will call the name. So at that time at any time the commanding general said, "Look, if I call for formation, you guys are soldiers, you should stay in the barracks. The Krahn guys should not have gone into disarray into the streets. They are killing people. So if anyone of you went out and if you met with your own death, that is your business. I am the commanding general. I'm saying everybody should stay here. Nobody should go anywhere." And that did not suffice. When the commanding general spoke, he went back to his office. And in the evening, about 10, 11 at night, the same squad headed by Captain Tailey, they will just come in their jeeps and they stopped the cars, they will get down from the cars and they will start looking around.

    You know, when we joined the army - when I joined the army, many guys from Grand Gedeh, I joined together with them. So when those guys got there, they knew exactly who was Gio and who was Mano. And when they got down they will just look around and they will just grab people like chickens, send them into the cars, into the pick-ups, and then they will move with a group. And before you could know, then you will just see a "pow, pow, pow" and kill people. And the commanding general too became angry and he went to the President straightaway.

    He told Samuel Kanyon Doe that, "You should advise" - that, "You should get advice from Harrison Penaud." Harrison Penaud was Doe's brother. He is one of the PRC men. He was one of the "I don't care" men in the government. Everybody knew that. Everybody knew about Harrison Penaud's behaviours. So he said, "You should advise your Harrison Penaud. I am the commanding general of the army. It is not everybody here in the army that are rebels. These guys were on duty under my command when the rebels invaded this country. And should we declare everybody enemy, who would we command?" He said, "Harrison Penaud and his Tailey are constantly going to invade my brigade, arrest my soldiers and execute them over and again." So he said, "I will not like this, and if you don't want me to continue serving as your commanding general, you should tell me that and I will resign."

    Doe sent for Penaud and that was on the TV. Everybody saw it on the TV. And he said, "Penaud, you --

  • Your Honours, the word was not very clear to the interpreter.

  • Pause. Please pause, Mr Witness. Now, you are describing what everybody saw on TV. Please repeat what people saw on TV.

  • Samuel Kanyon Doe, the President at that time, was advising Harrison Penaud and he said, "You, Harrison Penaud, this should be the end of it." And we saw Penaud get on to his knees and he said, "Yes, sir." And he said, "The commanding general has given you a complaint on several occasions." And he said, "You have been doing things that are not good and now I have given the commanding general the order that next time you go there they should arrest you and the commanding general is capable of arresting you. You just leave here, you go there to the camp with 10, 15 men and the commanding general controls the whole brigade. And in case he commanded men to get at you, will you be able to shoot at them all?" And he said, "Yes, sir." And at that time he used to come to the barracks and after the advice he no longer came to the barracks. He will now stay outside the barracks and send Tailey and his men and they will grab people and take them away.

    But we stayed on until I think it was about after three days when they announced over the radio that Thomas G Quiwonkpa had been captured and killed by Edward Slinger. So all soldiers should parade to the barracks to the commanding general's office and he said they were bringing the body there.

  • The name again of the man who they said had killed Quiwonkpa? You said there was an announcement that Quiwonkpa had been captured and killed by Edward. The second name, we didn't catch it.

  • By Edward Slinger, S-L-I-N-G-E-R. And he said in fact those bodies were now at the mansion. So we said, "Oh, God, thank you. The man who brought his problem into this country has been captured and killed," so we hoped that the problem was to an end and that there will be total peace for us. We did not know that it was a lie and that in fact that was now going to be the worst time than even before.

    So we paraded to the commanding general's office at the BTC. All units. And when we went and watched, we saw a pick-up coming in with a lot of men on board and they were jubilating. And they stopped by with the muzzle of the arms and they got down and they took the body from the car and they threw the body down.

    I knew Quiwonkpa. He trained me in '79. He was the staff sergeant and he was the one that they killed. He was wearing a jeans trousers with an African shirt. They drove the body all over the place on the tarmac road and he was cut into pieces and he was beheaded and the head was thrown to all the soldiers and they told them that, "This was your commanding general that you were jubilating for. So now you have to use it to play football today." And when they threw the head over to you, you needed to kick it. If you refused doing so you'll be shot at. And they even killed nine soldiers on that scene for refusing to kick the head as a football. And from there --

  • Sorry. The soldiers that were being asked to kick the head, did they belong to any particular ethnic group?

  • No, they were generally soldiers who were assigned under the brigade. And the brigade was the office of the commanding general. Those were soldiers who were assigned under the brigade and who lived on the barracks. Because the rebels entered to the barracks and all soldiers at the barracks jubilated and they welcomed Quiwonkpa. So for that reason they said those of us who were on the barracks were for Quiwonkpa and they said we should kick our football. That was what they said. So from there the man was cut into pieces and they ate him raw. There was no pieces of it left on the ground. And from there they left.

  • Who cut the body into pieces and ate it all? Who cut the body into pieces and who ate the body, or the pieces?

  • The Krahn people who were loyal to Samuel Kanyon Does, the ones who came in with the body. I knew one of the commanders, Colonel Manjay, who was the commander for the arsenal unit. I saw him.

  • Colonel who? Did you say Manjay?

  • Colonel Alfred Manjay.

  • Are you able to help us with the spelling of the second name?

  • Okay. Yes, you were telling us about how Quiwonkpa's body was cut into pieces and eaten by soldiers of the Krahn tribe. Please continue.

  • And then from there they moved and whilst they were moving out of the gate they arrested five soldiers and threw them into the pick-up. Amongst those, none survived. They left and went. And thinking that we, the AFL who were at the barracks, we were now free, because the man who had invaded the country had been killed, and thinking that the trouble was now over, normalcy would return for all of us, and we did not know that it was going to be worse than before and that was going to lead people to go into exile.

    And from there even those who were loyal to Samuel Kanyon Doe - even those who were loyal to Samuel Kanyon Doe in the army, by then the entire Nimba citizenry was declared enemies and even some of those who were renting - letting people's houses in town, they started pushing them out of their houses because they said they did not want them to be killed and they said if you - they were telling them, "If you are from Nimba you should go back to your country, because we did not want our children to be killed."

    Even some of the women who were cooking rice and selling for their survival and who were from Nimba, all of them were declared enemies so they were being pushed out of houses. It was not easy for the Nimbadians. Everybody knew that in Liberia. And especially for those of us who were in the army, it was not easy. Only the strongest survived.

    So because I went to school in Careysburg from '79 to '59 before I joined the army, so my family was at Careysburg and it was about a 12 kilometres distance off Monrovia and my wife too was from there. When I escaped it was at Careysburg that I went to and when I went to Careysburg I was in hiding. And after most of the tension, it was from there that Samuel Kanyon Doe introduced complete tribalism in the army. If you were not Krahn, you will not be admitted in fact into the army. And even the Gio tribes were reduced in the army. And when I went to the barracks they said there was a double pay and per diem for all soldiers in the barracks and they said all soldiers should report to their commanders for their salaries.

  • You said there was double pay and what when you went to the barracks?

  • No, I was in hiding in Careysburg.

  • You said, Mr Witness, that there was double pay. Did you say and per diem? There was double pay and per diem when you went to the barracks, is that what you said?

  • No. I repeat, I said when I escaped I was in hiding at Careysburg and at that time the government designed a strategy to arrest more Gio people. So they brought up a plan in which they said there is going to be a double pay and a per diem for the November 12, 1985 operation added to the double pay and they asked that all soldiers report to their mother unit and to their commanders for pay.

  • There was going to be a double pay and per diem for the November 12, 1985 operation. What was the November 12, 1985 operation for which there was going to be a double pay and per diem?

  • The Quiwonkpa invasion. Quiwonkpa had been killed. So the AFL were loyal to the government and they said there will be a per diem that will be added to their salaries and they said everybody should report to their mother units to their commanders and for the payment. That was for the soldiers.

  • And did you go to collect payment?

  • No. At that time I was in hiding at Careysburg, so I took my ID card and I gave it to my wife to go and get my salary. When the woman went they arrested her and they kept her for 72 hours, three days, and they told her that she knew my location and that if she did not show where I was, she will be confined for a lifetime in prison and she will be charged for aiding a rebel. And he said they knew her husband to be T Zaymay and he hailed from Nimba County and my wife said, "Oh, my husband and I divorced ever since. It is only sometimes at the end of the month that he gives me some money to feed the children." And she said, "I do not even know the location of T Zaymay at this time." And luckily her brother was also a captain - was also a lieutenant in the army he was called Francis Yassieh.

  • Can you spell Yassieh?

  • He was a Mende boy. Not a Gio, a Mende. So, you know, the other tribes were free in the army and Francis too was assigned with one of the ministers. So Francis was free in the army. And when Francis heard that his sister had - my wife had been arrested, Francis went there. And then - and Francis and my wife, they spoke their ethnic - their tribe, Mende. They spoke it to each other. And then Francis said, "Oh, why did you arrest my wife - no, I mean my sister?" My sister and her husband had divorced ever since.

    There was a case between the two of them about the support for the children in the presence of the late Colonel Bingo, the MP commander. And that only the wife should report to Colonel Bingo for the children's support. And that she and T Zaymay are no longer together and that I can prove that. Because Yassieh too was an MP, and at that time another man had taken over as the MP commander. He was a Krahn man. He was called Captain Amos Garlo. He was the MP commander, a Krahn man, at that time.

  • Sorry, again, the name of Captain Amos Garlo.

  • G-A-R-L-O, Garlo.

  • So Amos Garlo at that time was not MP commander. But when they came, when Krahn people took over and the MP commander had been killed, when they came, he took over as MP commander. So God could have it first clearly that Amos Garlo did not know the story that my wife and her brother were talking about and he did not know the story.

  • Mr Witness, you must slow down. Okay? Otherwise the interpreter just can't keep up with you and we can't understand what you are saying.

  • Yes, sir.

  • So please repeat - you've just told us about this Captain Amos Garlo and you said he took over as MP commander. Now, continue your story from there.

  • Yes. Captain Amos Garlo was assigned before as the - at the Post Stockade, the prison compound, at the BTC. Colonel Bingo was our MP commander. And when Colonel Bingo was killed on the spot, and because Amos Garlo was a Krahn man, he moved. He moved straight to the MP headquarters and took over as the MP commander and he now remained. So the topic that my wife and her brother Yassieh were discussing about the divorce between my wife and I and that the case had gone before the MP commander, Amos Garlo was convinced because by then he was not in command and he did not know the story. And being that Yassieh was a different tribe, and he was also a Military Police personnel, when Yassieh explained, he believed it.

    So they said, "Okay, what we're going to do, we'll not just release you. We will see what you can do tomorrow." And then Yassieh, my brother-in-law, he got into his car and he drove straight to Careysburg where I was, at his aunt's residence where I was. And when he got there he said, "Old mom, where is T Zaymay?" Because he was a soldier well dressed, so the people were afraid to tell him my location. And they said, "No." He said, "No, T Zaymay is my friend. Massa, his wife, is in jail at the MP headquarters."

    And so when I came and he told - he told my mom that "If T Zaymay is here, I want it talk to him." It was not easy for the mother to turn me over to them. She swore and she later showed where I was. They came there and he told me, he said, "Oh, man, you are blessed by God. Even my sister has been arrested and I knew they were going to come here with MPs together with her, and if they saw you here they were going to arrest you. So I want you leave this place." And I moved from there. I said, "Okay. No problem."

    And then I said, "But what happened with the salary issue?" And they said it was no salary issue. It was an idea designed by the government. And they said, "In fact, many of your brothers were arrested. They were arrested. So I am going back. I have to be on duty tonight. You have to leave this place and go further into the bush." And I said, "Okay." And then I left.

  • Those who were arrested, those who he referred to as your brothers, who were your brothers that had been arrested that he was referring to?

  • He was talking about the citizens from Nimba County. He said it was an idea only designed to arrest the Nimbadians, because we had been already declared rebels. And those who did not have much idea and who would appear to collect those pays they spoke about were going to be arrested and they will be treated as the rebels they referred to. So I left that place.

  • Before you continue, did he tell you what happened to your brothers who had been arrested?

  • They were arrested and they were taken to Schefflein. Camp Schefflein was declared a killing zone. And when they took you there, no mercy for you. So I said okay.

  • Do you know whether any of those soldiers were actually killed when they were taken - sorry. Do you know whether any of those brothers of yours were actually killed when they were taken to Camp Schefflein?

  • He never called the names. He said "many of your brothers from Nimba", but he never called the names. I said okay.

  • My question was: Do you know whether any of them were actually killed when they were taken to Camp Schefflein?

  • I heard that they were killed, but I was not at the scene. And later another MP came with my wife, he was the one who told my wife's mother. I will get to that later.

  • So I left and went to the bush. And the same day Yassieh left, it was that very day in the evening around 6 to 7, a boss arrived in the yard with some MPs on board and they were headed by one Corporal Clay. C-L-A-Y.

    And when they got to the compound, there was one - there were - I'm talking about a two-buildings, twin residence, right at the back of Careysburg when you are heading towards Kakata. And when they got into the compound, they rushed into the two houses and they started conducting searches all over. All over. In the ceilings, under the beds, all over the place. But they could not find me.

    And then my wife told them that, "I told you people that I had separated with that man ever since and I do not know his location." And the duty commander with the manpower who went there, their commander was a corporal, and then it was then Corporal Clay said, "Old mom, your daughter has a long living person because she was blessed by God, because the way we captured her, if we had brought her here and if we had seen T Zaymay here, we would have taken him to the President. It was an instruction given to us that if we came here and saw him here, he was declared a rebel, we were to kill him. Because - but now your daughter is free. All she told us was true."

    And then we are now leaving. But the thing that we will do wouldn't have been small. Those rebels who came --

  • Just pause there. The last part of your answer has not been recorded. Would you like to repeat the last part of your answer where you said what she told us is true and your daughter is free, what did you say after that?

  • "God bless - that God bless your daughter, she will live long. But if we were to see T Zaymay here, we were going to decapitate the both of them and take their heads to the President. And that if we were to see T Zaymay here, we were going to kill him on the spot. We will take T Zaymay's head, your daughter's head and we will take them to the President. So now your daughter is free. She can go."

    But he said, "The things we are doing now are not small. Those Nimba County rebels, they think they are clever. We fooled them. We asked them to come for double pay. But when they came, there was a whole force of Doe's rebels from Nimba County, the Gio and the Mano. We collected them and took them to Camp Schefflein. We buried them alive - many of them alive in the same hole. So it's not easy." And they left. So I stayed in the bush.

    That very night, at about 1 to 2 o'clock, my wife came to me crying. She explained everything. She said, "I suffered and I really suffered," but I told her, "Forget about it." And by then I was now deciding to leave the country. But how could I get to Nimba? So I stayed there and I did not know much because I was thinking that this guy could come back at any time. I didn't know. I did not want to put my family's life in danger, so I decided to stay in the bush for a while.

    I was there. They will cook at home and bring my food. I stayed there until I grew beards and I was still there. And I sent Yassieh, my brother-in-law, I sent for him. He came. He went and prepared some kind of false ID card that I was a PPF security. I had grown so much beards and I was now planning to leave the area and go into exile.

  • PPF security. What is PPF security?

  • PPF, that was the security that was based in Yekepa called PPF, a Planned Protection Force. PPF, Planned Protection Force.

  • Was it a private company - was it a private force or a force in the government?

  • No. It was a security created for the LAMCO company at Yekepa.

  • Okay. Please continue.

  • So my brother-in-law prepared my ID card and brought it, and I had now spent a long time in the bush and I grew beard. So I sent for my wife. She came and I told her to look for 500 for me because I said I wanted to leave that place. And she told me if I went, I will be killed. But then she went and brought the 500 - $500 Liberian. At that time the transportation was less. Things were not costly by then. So she brought the 500 and I told her to go for my food. When she left to go for the food, while she was going I started making my way. I went and I got a car on the highway. I took the car to go to Kakata. And when I got to Kakata, I got into another car to go to Gbarnga. And at Gbarnga, I got - I found another car for Sanniquellie Nimba. And from Nimba I found a car for Karnplay. And from Karnplay I took a car to Gborplay. And when I got to Gborplay - no, I first found a car to Gbailay because Gbailay was the border point with Ivory Coast and from that town to the Waterside was a short distance, and from there you enter into Ivory Coast.

  • Sorry, what was the name of the last town on the border with Ivory Coast?

  • The last town I got to before I crossed to Vai, the town was called Gbailay.

  • Can you help us with the spelling of that town?

  • No, I don't know that one.

  • Would you like to repeat the name again and I will probably attempt a spelling after the break?

  • Gbailay. Gbailay. It was a Gio town. It's a Gio town at the border called Gbailay.

  • Mr Chekera, we'll have to pick up those spellings. There's another name as well, the town after Sanniquellie Nimba. He got a car from somewhere and went to somewhere. All of these are not clear. We'll take it up after the break. We'll reconvene at 4.30.

  • [Break taken at 4.00 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 4.30 p.m.]

  • Mr Chekera, please proceed. And don't forget the spelling of those locations.

  • Yes, Madam President. Thank you. Just before I proceed, to note that Mr Munyard just left the Defence side of the Bench.

    I'll probably just ask the question so that I don't appear to be leading evidence. I suspect we all know what the name of the town is:

  • After Gbarnga, which town did you go to on your way out?

  • After Gbarnga I went to Ganta.

  • And from Ganta where did you go?

  • From Ganta, because I couldn't find a car that could take me directly, so I was taking one and dropping on the way. So from Ganta I booked a car for Sanniquellie.

  • I don't know whether we need a spelling.

  • Sanniquellie is on the record.

  • And from Sanniquellie where did you go?

  • From Sanniquellie I booked a car for Karnplay.

  • And you said the last place you were at the border is Gbailay?

  • Karnplay, I think it's on the record but I could spell it again. Karnplay is K-A-R-N-P-L-A-Y.

  • No, Karnplay is K-A-R-N-P-L-A-Y.

  • And you said the last place - the last town was at the border. The name of the town, just say the name and then I'll attempt a spelling?

  • The last town - the name of the last town is Gbailay.

  • Madam President, phonetically I will spell it G-B-A-I-L-A-Y.

  • And from Gbailay where did you go?

  • I was in a car. From Gbailay - when I disembarked at Gbailay, I walked to the Waterside to the river between Ivory Coast and Liberia. That was where I crossed and got into and got into the Ivory Coast.

  • And which part of Ivory Coast did you proceed to?

  • The first town that you get to is Donglay in the Ivory Coast.

  • Are you able to help us with a spelling of Donglay?

  • No.

  • I apologise, Madam President, I had not anticipated that spelling. I will go by Donglay as it is spelt in the transcript, which is as close it could be phonetically. I will attempt to get a spelling later.

    And where did you eventually end up when you went to Ivory Coast?

  • From Donglay I proceeded to the district headquarters called Zongwe.

  • I think Zongwe has been spelled before. Yes. And did you settle in Zongwe?

  • Yes. When I got to Zongwe that was where I met a lot of my brothers, the AFL who had escaped from Doe, and a lot of civilians. I came across over 35,000 displaced people in the Ivory Coast, and the headquarters was in Zongwe.

  • Sorry, did you say the number was 35,000 displaced people?

  • Over 35,000 displaced people, those who were staying at the riverbank, those who had escaped. Women and men.

  • Just for the record to be clear, where had they escaped from?

  • When I got there, I found many - I met many civilians, old women, pregnant women, of the Gio ethnic group. We were from the same area. I met many of them there and I asked them why they were there and they said, Oh, we learnt that you too were - you were not coming to exile, so why are you here? And I said, It's not easy. When Quiwonkpa spoke, we heard Quiwonkpa over the radio. Those of us who were here were jubilating. But later when the English changed, when Doe spoke, all of us went into our shells. Now the Krahn soldiers came here and they were patrolling in a truck, in a pick-up full of armed men, and at night they would come to the town and start beating up people and killing people. Even some of the towns were burnt down, the villages. Even many of the villages were burnt down. Everybody here was a rebel. That was what caused us to run away to go into exile. That was what they told me.

  • And while you - how long did you stay in exile in Ivory Coast?

  • I entered into exile in February 1986 and I stayed there until 1987, February.

  • And while you were in exile in Ivory Coast, what were you doing?

  • When I went into exile, I met Prince Johnson and a lot of my colleagues in the army who had escaped. We met there - in fact, when I went there, there was a group there. There was a plan to --

  • A group of who, if you can describe before you proceed with the explanation. You met a group there. What group did you meet?

  • I met a group of former AFL personnel who had escaped into exile and a lot of civilians. Those were the men that I met there. And a group was organised by Prince Johnson and - by Prince Johnson. By Prince Johnson.

  • Yes. And what was the group organised for?

  • The group was organised by Prince Johnson, Augustine Wright, Augustine D Zammay, that is, the soldiers, we cannot die, because at that time there were no refugee activities at that time. There were no relief supplies at that time. We brushed people's coffee arms and harvested palm nuts for survival. So we said that the suffering was too much. "Gentlemen, our people who had come from Nimba were all here suffering. We should retreat to consolidate. We should stay right here and go back to Liberia to attack Doe and his forces." So it was our plan to stay there and go back to Liberia with a war to fight. If we were to die, it was better for us to die in Liberia than to die on a different soil. That was our plan.

  • And when you were resolving to go back to Liberia to fight, what was your objective in fighting Doe?

  • It was for us to go there and unseat the government, to redeem the Nimbadians. Even if we were only to capture Nimba County and declare it independent, that was what should have been. But there was no way we could have all died there.

  • There was no way you could have died there, where do you do mean? When you say there was no way we could die there, where do you mean by "there"?

  • Because we were fed up with the misery in exile, so we were going to force our way - so if we were going to die in Liberia, let Doe kill all of us there, because without going there would be no money. Look at all our people suffering for food.

  • Now, did you carry out that plan?

  • There was no supporter at that time. We had some groups in Abidjan. We called them our heads. Like Cooper Miller and the late deputy vice Head of State for Doe, General Podier. He was also in exile in Abidjan. So these - we depended on these people to come and lead us. There was no way. That was how Mr Charles G Taylor came in, because of humanitarian feelings. We did not know where he was. We were expecting anybody to lead us. Luckily for us he recruited us and that was how he came in to redeem the Nimbadians.

  • Did Mr Taylor actually come to recruit you in Zongwe?

  • He did not come --

  • Wait, wait, wait. Ms Howarth?

  • Yes, I'm on my feet. I believe that's a leading question. I believe it could have been put in a more open form.

  • Certainly. Certainly. You could ask differently.

  • It's very leading, whichever way you look at it.

  • I'm just trying to follow-up. Yes:

  • Now, you've mentioned - you've said in your answer that is how Mr Charles Taylor came in, because of humanitarian feelings. Where did - how did Mr Charles Taylor come in? When you say that is how Mr Charles Taylor came in, can you explain what you mean?

  • Yes. I said this because when we were suffering in exile, Nimba County was in tears. A lot of citizens from Nimba County had gone into exile. There were no refugee activities. There were no relief supplies. Our area --

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

  • Yes, Mr Witness, the interpreter didn't get what you said. You said there were no relief supplies. Our area. Continue from there.

  • There were no relief supplies at that time. Our area was deserted. All our families fled from there because they had been declared rebels. So Nimba County was in tears.

  • Sorry, I am just going to restrict you and direct you directly to my question. How did Mr Taylor come in?

  • Because of all these activities, Mr Taylor --

  • Please pause, Mr Witness. Ms Howarth?

  • Yes, I'm objecting again because there's some ambiguity about what he means by come in. I think Mr Chekera certainly put, when he rephrased his question the second time, what's meant by come in. In my submission, that's a more appropriate basis to start this line of questioning than assuming a place that he came into.

  • I think the witness used the words "this is how Mr Taylor came in" and if the lawyer - if Mr Chekera asks, "So how did Mr Taylor come in," it's appropriate. It's an appropriate question to ask.

  • The words were the witness's words, not Mr Chekera. So the objection is overruled.

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • Do you still remember the question, Mr Zaymay?

  • Repeat the question. It's easier.

  • The question was: How did Mr Taylor come in?

  • Mr Taylor came in by recruiting us and taking us for training. Before Mr Taylor could come in, there was problem already in Liberia.

  • When you were in Zongwe, was Mr Taylor in Zongwe?

  • No, I do not know.

  • Please pause. Mr Chekera, you're going to have to pull your act together. You keep leading this witness. And I don't expect the Prosecution to stand up with every question that you ask to object.

  • Indeed, Madam President. I will rephrase:

  • Mr Zaymay, how were you recruited in Zongwe?

  • I was recruited by Godfather, by Godfather.

  • Where was that that Godfather recruited you?

  • Godfather recruited me in Zongwe.

  • Yes. And when he recruited you, did he tell you for what purpose he was recruiting you?

  • We were already on stand-by expecting to come and wage war in Liberia. We were expecting anybody from Abidjan, like all our heads, to come and take us anywhere for training. So when Godfather came, I knew that he had come for training; that I was prepared for.

  • Do you know whether Godfather is known by any other name?

  • Yes. They called him Alfred Mehn.

  • What happened when Godfather approached you?

  • When - Zongwe is a big city where we lived, so we left. And when we came back, they said our friends have gone, the first group has gone. Whilst we were waiting, Godfather came and he said he had come for the second group. He said, "Go and collect all your friends."

  • Sorry, you said when we left and when we came back, they said our friends have gone, the first group has gone. Who are you referring to as "when we left" and which group are you referring to? Would you like to explain a bit further on that? Because there is a lot that is not clear. You are now talking in plural, so just go back and explain to us what exactly happened.

  • We were leaving in groups in Zongwe. We used to go in groups to hustle. I and the group went hustling, and when we returned in the evening, they told us that the first group of recruits - in fact, they told us that these people - that there was an Ivorian. They did not know why these people were going. They only said that our friends have gone. We did not know where they had gone, but we should wait because the man who had taken them along was going to come back. So we did not go anywhere. We stayed and the next day Godfather came. That, "Zaymay, I would want you to go and contact your friends. The movement has started. You guys are going to Israel for training. You've been long crying to go. It's time now to go. You would go. The first group has gone. I would come for the second group." That was how I started going from place to place. That was how the second group was organised, a group of 43 men.

    Godfather came and gave us each 10,000 CFA, which is equal to 1,500 LD. We put that in our pockets. "Here is your bus ticket. Get on board the bus and move." Everybody was happy. Everybody was in high spirits because we had long been waiting for that movement. So for - the 43 men left and we went to Abidjan. Before we could get to Abidjan, our train ticket had already been prepared. We were given our train ticket and we got on board the train for Burkina Faso.

  • Who prepared and gave you the train tickets?

  • The train ticket was given to me by Godfather. There was a team that was recruiting. So when Godfather came for us, there was another gentleman in Abidjan who was in possession of the tickets. As you got there, they will give you your ticket and you get on board the bus.

  • Are you aware of the other members of the team that was recruiting? Do you know who they were?

  • The team that recruited was, one, Godfather; two, Yegbeh Degbon. These comprised the recruiting team.

  • And do you remember who gave you the train tickets?

  • It was William Obai.

  • Now, you were telling us about when you got the train tickets. Please continue from there?

  • When they gave you your train ticket, you got on board the train and you were to be careful, because there were other groups in Abidjan and they did not want to know about your movement because they would sabotage it, so you had to be smart. When you got your train ticket you got on board the train, the 43-man group --

  • Sorry, just pause there. You said there were other groups in Abidjan that would sabotage you. Which other groups are you talking about?

  • Godfather, he speaks French well. He was a sailor. So Godfather was staying in Abidjan. He told us that Podier - General Podier was also fighting over the recruitment. So General Podier has his men in Abidjan. They knew that the movement has started. So if they see a group of you Liberians here, they would report that to the police to sabotage the movement. So you had to be careful. That was why as we were leaving, nobody was to stay in Abidjan. Yes.

  • Mr Chekera, clarification again. The witness earlier, I think at page 63, line 17, he spoke of three men that left to Abidjan. Is it really three men that left to Abidjan? What was the number of the men who left for Abidjan?

  • Thank you, Madam President:

  • You mentioned about men who left to go to Abidjan. What was the number of the men who left for Abidjan?

  • In the first group?

  • Yes, let's talk of the first group.

  • Yes, but I never talked about three men going to Abidjan. The first group that left that went to the base, I was not in the first group so I did not know their total.

  • And the second group, what was the number in the second group?

  • I was in the 43-man group.

  • Madam President, does that assist? Thank you:

  • Now, when you got the train tickets, what did you do?

  • I booked the train, the 43 men, and we headed for Ouagadougou.

  • Sorry, you did what the train? Repeat the answer again.

  • I said after you had gotten your ticket, you got on board the train in Abidjan at the train station. 43 men, we boarded the train that was heading for Burkina Faso.

  • And did you reach Burkina Faso?

  • Yes, I got to Burkina Faso safely, passed the night at the train station.

  • Yes, after that did you go anywhere else?

  • From there we went straight, boarded a plane that was flying - our main destination was to be Israel, because I was told by the recruiting team that we were heading for Israel.

  • And did you go to Israel?

  • We went and we disembarked at a strange place and I was told that was Tripoli, Libya.

  • And were you taken to any particular part of Tripoli when you landed in Tripoli, Libya?

  • Yes, when we got there, there was a bus that took us to the military barracks called Tajura.

  • Yes, and what happened when you got to Tajura?

  • When I got to Tajura in a big camp that was fenced with barbed wire and everything was electrified - it was a decent camp - we got to the camp and we saw a lot of people. They took us to the Liberian building.

  • The people you saw at Tajura, do you know which countries they came from?

  • Yes, there were a lot of nationals there for training. There was Bansa Moro, Aceh Sumatra, Latin America. Bansa Moros are the Filipinos. There were Sierra Leoneans on the base.

  • Just pause there. We just want to get the spellings right. The first people --

  • The Filipinos, you said they were known as what?

  • The Bansa Moro. The Filipinos.

  • Are you able to help us with the spelling of Bansa Moro?

  • No, but they said that they were the Bansa Moro, but they were from the Philippines.

  • I will attempt the spelling B-A-N-S-A, M-O-N-R-O-U. I will try to verify the spelling.

  • It's Moro. It's M-O-R-O.

  • Thank you, my Lord.

  • It's the same Philippines.

  • Yes, and which other nationalities did you say?

  • And which other tribe - sorry, which other nationalities?

  • The Latin Americans, the Senagambia.

  • Sierra Leoneans.

  • Few men from Ghana. Ghanaians.

  • Do you know what all those people were doing at Tajura?

  • What were they doing?

  • All of us were training to liberate our various countries to make a change.

  • Mr Chekera, it would be helpful if we had some time frames. For example, the last time frame we have on the record is where the witness says he entered exile in February 1986 and stayed there until February 1987. Now, this could be referring to Ivory Coast; I don't know. It's vague. But a lot has happened since February 1986. If you could lead evidence relating to certain time frames.

  • Yes, Madam President:

  • Now, did you recall the time or the date that you arrived in Libya - or at least the year that you got to Libya?

  • When did you get to Libya?

  • I left the Ivory Coast in February 1987. I spent almost a year in the Ivory Coast, and I left the Ivory Coast in February 1987 for my destination.

  • And how long did it take you to get to Libya from the time that you left Ivory Coast?

  • I cannot remember.

  • Did it take you days to get to Libya from Ivory Coast, or did it take you more than days?

  • In the train - it took me roughly three days in the train. From Burkina to Libya it took me one day. The following morning I was there.

  • Would it therefore be fair to say that you arrived in Libya sometime around February 1987?

  • That same February month. I travelled within the same February month.

  • Now, you've talked about the different nationalities that you found at --

  • Sorry, Mr Chekera, you seem to be glossing over this. The witness was in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He was also at Ouagadougou somewhere at a certain time.

  • Let me just clarify:

  • When you left Ivory Coast you said you went to Ouagadougou, and it took you three days to travel to Ouagadougou. When you got to Ouagadougou, did you stay in Ouagadougou?

  • I got there in the evening and I passed the night there, and the following morning I travelled to Libya.

  • Thank you. You said when you got to Tajura there were a number of nationalities that were present in Tajura. You've mentioned the Sierra Leoneans, a few Ghanaians, Latin Americans and the Gambians, among others, and you said they were training there. When you got to Tajura, did you yourself take training?

  • When I got to Tajura, at that time no training was going on. Everybody was on movement. Groups were coming in continuously. The training? Yes, I did training in Tajura. The training commenced in general. They assembled us, and the instructors spoke to us that the training would start on so and so date and that everybody was to prepare for the training. They didn't want to train countries individually. They trained generally. The training started on the 10th - if the training was to start of the 10th of this month, everybody was to be aware that it was to be started on the 10th. It was a general training for all recruits, not by countries.

  • And you said that groups were coming in. Groups of which nationalities were coming in?

  • The recruitment was still going on. I was in the second group. The third group had to come. The fourth group was still to come. So other people - when they were up to strength, they would say, okay, and recruitment would stop. Others were still recruiting. So if you say you were up to your number, they will say, "You've got to wait for the other people." So everybody was to go to up to strength before this training could commence. The training was to start generally.

  • And your group, what was the total number of your group eventually?

  • Our group was 168 men. 69, and one died during the training and we remained 168.

  • And do you recall when, after you arrived, training commenced?

  • No. It took long before the training could start.

  • Approximately how many months or weeks did it take before you commenced training, if you recall?

  • I cannot tell how many months it took before the training commenced, but I know that the training started generally.

  • Your group, the Liberians, did you have a name when you were at Tajura?

  • Yes, we had a name that the instructors - the Libyans used to call us and it's an Arab word, but I cannot remember it. But we used to call Liberian, Liberian.

  • And was that the name that you called yourself? Did you call yourself Liberian or did you call yourself by another name?

  • I am a Liberian. If the instructor was calling me Liberian, that was the name that they called us. I know that you and I are Liberian, I will call you by your name. But that was the name that the instructor used to call us.

  • You talked about the few Ghanaians --

  • Just before you go to another question, Mr Chekera, I find this confusing. "I will call you by your name, but that was the instructors used to call us." Did they call them Liberian, you, Mr Liberian, or what does he mean by this?

  • When the instructors would refer to you, who would they refer to you as, if they didn't call your name?

  • How would they call you if they did not call your name? They did not know your name. We were using numbers.

  • Collectively as a group, how would they refer you to as, collectively as a group?

  • As a group together they called us - we all were living in individual buildings. There was a special building for Liberians that was occupied by all Liberians. There was a building for Sumatrans, when Sumatrans stayed. So they called us Liberian. They called us Liberians. They had a name for us in Arabic, but I can't get it. They were speaking Arabic. But they called us Liberian. If they said Liberian, that meant that they were talking to us in general.

  • You mentioned that - initially when I asked you about your recruitment, you said that you were recruited by Mr Charles G Taylor. You've told us about how Godfather recruited you and took you to Libya. How does Mr Taylor come into the picture?

  • Okay. After the recruitment, some of our friends who were not in the army whom we had met in exile, you know, there was argument going on that Quiwonkpa was our leader and that he was coming to us, and I told them, "Gentlemen, that's a lie. Quiwonkpa had been killed in the army. I saw his body. There was no more Quiwonkpa. There must be a different man that was going to take us."

    So one day Cooper Teah and Augustine Wright, they were our heads at the base and they summoned us and told us that our leader was coming. Someone was coming to introduce himself to us. The man who had brought us there was coming to introduce himself to us. So when he comes we will see him. Cooper and others knew who the person was that they were hiding from us.

    One morning they called for a formation. The building that we were living in, it was a big building, about eight-storeyed building. That was the building that we occupied.

  • Your Honours, can he kindly repeat what they had.

  • Please stop, Mr Witness. Pause. You have to repeat your evidence a little bit more slowly where you say, "The building that we occupied." Continue from there.

  • There was a special building for every nationality at that time. That was the largest base. There was one building that was occupied by all Liberians and this building had an auditorium. It's an eight-storey building that had a big auditorium. There was a basketball area in that building.

    Our heads at that time, when they rang the bell and said, "Auditorium," everybody would go to the auditorium. We would go there and take our seats. We sat down silently and they said the leader was coming. And when we looked, it was Charles G Taylor who arrived. They brought him on stage. They had an area that had been prepared where they sat whilst we sat on the other side. He spoke to us. Cooper Miller made the introduction.

    He said, "Gentlemen, we've long been crying for a leader to lead us. Now I will introduce Mr Charles G Taylor to you people. He will be our leader to lead us to Liberia." That was how Charles G Taylor came in as a leader. He told us, "Gentlemen, listen. All of you put your hands up one after the other to tell me what you were doing in the Ivory Coast." And we all did that.

    He said, "Okay, I have heard your cries. I have heard the cries of Nimba County. My wife is from Nimba County. Quiwonkpa was my friend from Nimba County. Quiwonkpa never listened to my advice. That was why he took untrained people to Liberia to Doe. So today - from today, I am your leader. You call me Mr Charles G Taylor. I am your brother-in-law. I would lead you to Liberia to make a change. Nimba County is one of the populated counties within Liberia. The whole of the county cannot be deserted like this and the citizens are dying in exile like that. I have heard that and that's why I am here to lead you people. I am your leader and I don't want you people to carry any organisation's name. Only that same name that Thomas G Quiwonkpa took to Liberia when he was killed. It is that same organisation that is continuing and it is that same organisation that we'll take along. So our organisation's name would be" --

  • Sorry, please, yes, continue.

  • "The name of our organisation would be NPFL. Only one letter would be added. Quiwonkpa's own was NPFF, National Patriotic" --

  • Yes, sorry, please continue. That's what I was going to ask you to explain. What does NPFF stand for, if you know?

  • "The name of our organisation would be NPFL, National Patriotic Front of Liberia. That would be the name of our organisation. It was that same organisation that Quiwonkpa took along, so we could carry the same motto. We are going to revenge for Quiwonkpa. We are going to redeem Nimba County. We are going to bring change to Liberia. So I am your leader, Charles G Taylor."

  • Just pause there. Two issues I'm going to raise with you. You said initially that the name of Quiwonkpa's organisation was NPFF. Do you know what NPFF stands for?

  • Please tell us.

  • NPFL. Can you give me a pencil and pen?

  • Certainly. Madam Court Officer?

  • Yes. Quiwonkpa's organisation NPFF, National Patriotic Front Forces. National Patriotic Front Forces. NPFL, National Patriotic Front of Liberia. These are the meanings of the letters.

  • Yes. And you explained that one of the purposes why you were going to go back to Liberia was to revenge Quiwonkpa's death. Can you explain what you mean by revenge Quiwonkpa's death?

  • The reason was for a cause. The mission to go to Liberia was to make a change in general, to make a change, to redeem Nimba County from the hands of the wicked, to make a change.

  • When you use the words "revenge Quiwonkpa's death", who were you going to take revenge against or what did you exactly mean? That's what I want you to just explain to the Court.

  • Isn't the English term "avenge"?

  • He had used the word "revenge".

  • The interpreter used the word "revenge", I think. The English word is "avenge" someone's death.

  • Indeed, Madam President.

  • Mr Interpreter, would you argue with me on that?

  • No, your Honour. I just used the word the witness used. I won't argue with you, but that was what the witness used, "revenge".

  • The witness said "revenge"?

  • Yes, he did.

  • Madam President, through you, if I could just ask whether that literally translates to revenge in English from Liberian English, because I would have heard in the context the same word you had used.

  • Mr Interpreter, in Liberian English does "revenge" translate into revenge in English, or avenge.

  • Yes, your Honour, in order to be able to determine the meaning you need to know the background from which the witness is speaking from.

  • In which case, Mr Chekera, I think you ask for clarification from the witness what he meant.

  • When you said one of your purposes was - when you were going back to go to Liberia was to revenge Quiwonkpa's death, what exactly did you mean?

  • It meant to fight Samuel Kanyon Doe who had killed Quiwonkpa, to kill him too. To unseat his government and to kill him as well. Because he had killed Quiwonkpa, we were to kill him too. A tooth for a tooth. An eye for an eye. You kill my brother and I'll kill you.

  • Yes, and you also explained that you also wanted to do something else. Was that the only object that you had, to kill Doe?

  • Yes, the only objective was to kill Doe and unseat his government in order to bring change. When Doe dies, a new government would come and Nimba County would never suffer.

  • And what change did you want to bring?

  • A democratic change to install a democratic form of government for everybody to get freedom.

  • Yes, now let's go back. You were telling us about the meeting you had when Mr Taylor was introduced to you, and you were telling us the objectives that you set out. Could you please just continue from there?

  • After we've had - he has had that meeting with us, he advised us that the training was not going to be easy. Those of us, the Liberian soldiers, we might forget about Liberian training. We cannot compare the training there. You cannot say that you were an old soldier. The old soldier would be put on one side. I learnt that there were a lot of civilians there who had not been trained. But I told Godfather that the recruitment should be AFL so that the training would not last long, but now you've brought a lot of civilians. So the training was going to last for two years because so many people are now in the group that were not soldiers. The war was not going to be easy. We cannot just go and hit and run.

  • Mr Interpreter, did you say for two years or for three years?

  • Two years. The training was to last for two years, so you were to commit yourself to the training. The training that you were going to get here would not be the same training that you got in Liberia. Whatever comes your way, you should withstand it. You should do the endurance. We said yes, sir, chief, we will do it. Then from there he said we should obey and obey the instructors. The instructors do not understand English. They will speaking a different language, so you were to learn ABC in a different language. So I wish you guys good luck. Then he left.

  • Now, when Mr Taylor came to the base, do you know where he was coming from?

  • I did not know where he was coming from. That was my very first time of seeing him on the base. We did not know where he was actually coming from.

  • Was that inside Libya or outside Libya, if you know that, at least?

  • Was what inside or outside Liberia?

  • Where he was coming from, was he coming from outside Libya or from outside Libya [sic]?

  • I did not know where he was coming from. That was my very first time of seeing him. I did not know where he was coming from.

  • When he came for this first meeting did you stay at Tajura, or you left to go somewhere else?

  • After the briefing, he left that same day and he said he would come another day to spend two days with us.

  • Do you know where he went to when he left the base?

  • At that moment I did not know.

  • Did Mr Taylor ever come back after the first meeting?

  • Yes, several times. He used to visit the base. He would spend a day with us and return.

  • Do you know where he would return to when he came to visit the base?

  • Later I got to know where he was.

  • He was at Mathaba.

  • Mathaba is the headquarters - was the headquarters for the training. It is a camp that is called Mathaba where the staff live.

  • And in which country and in which city, if you know, is Mathaba?

  • And do you know what Mr Taylor was doing at Mathaba?

  • That was where he was living.

  • Now, you have mentioned other groups that were at Tajura, including the Sierra Leoneans and the Gambians. Were you able to interact with these two groups when you were at Tajura?

  • Yes, we were living there as revolutionary brothers. The Sierra Leoneans - the Gambians, the Senagambians could only speak French, so I was not familiar with them because I couldn't speak French. But we were all living in the camp: We were eating at the same mess; we drank at the same mess; and we played basketball at the same mess.

  • Were you familiar with any African group besides the Gambians, who spoke French?

  • I was not too close to them because I went there with my own problem. I was not close to them. The training sometimes is rough, and after the training you wouldn't even have time to go anywhere else. But we would only meet at the mess house.

  • Did you get to know any of the Gambians who were training at Tajura?

  • I did not know any Gambian who was training in Tajura, but I knew that there was a Gambian group. They used to call them Gambians.

  • And did you get to know anyone who was training in the Sierra Leonean group?

  • Who did you come to know?

  • I knew Foday Sankoh and I knew one Mohamed.

  • How do you know Foday Sankoh?

  • Foday Sankoh was a corporal, a recruit with whom we were training at the same Tajura. We were sleeping in the same Tajura. And later he was cooking, he was making tea.

  • Where was he making tea and where was he cooking?

  • In the mess house. In the mess house.

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat his answer slowly.

  • Please pause, Mr Witness. You are going to repeat your answer. The interpreter didn't get you. You were asked where was he making his tea and where was he cooking from? What is your answer?

  • Answer: He was cooking in the mess house in Tajura.

  • Mr Chekera, again could we have a time frame for the address of Mr Taylor to the recruits, if possible.

  • Indeed, Madam President, yes:

  • Mr Zaymay, if you recall, how long after you arrived at Tajura did Mr Taylor come to the base for the first time?

  • I cannot be exact. I cannot remember the time, but I know it was before the training could start. He came and briefed us before the training started, but I cannot estimate how long it took.

  • Maybe you could just help us. Was it a matter of months or weeks after you came to the base that Mr Taylor came to the base for the first time?

  • Approximately about one month, but I cannot be exact. I don't know. I cannot tell. But all I know is that he came and briefed us before the training started.

  • Do we have a time frame for when the training started?

  • And do you recall when it was that you started training?

  • Yes, the training started in 1987. 1987. The training started in 1987. Closed to 1999 - it ended in 1999.

  • Sorry, when did it close?

  • It closed in 1999.

  • Yes. I cannot tell the exact month.

  • And how long was the training for?

  • The training lasted for roughly two months. Not exactly two months. Roughly two years. Not exactly two years. Maybe one year, eight months or one year, seven or one year, nine months.

  • We have your answer. You said the training started in 1987, that's when the training started, and you said your training closed in 1999, and now you are saying that the training lasted two years. Can you help us clarify that?

  • In other words, that's a total of over ten years. From '87 to '99 is well over 18 years.

  • I thought I heard the witness say the training lasted for roughly two months. Not exactly two month.

  • 1987.

  • Just a minute, Mr Witness.

  • Mr Witness, can you please hold your words. The judge is saying something.

  • If you go to page 83 at line 14 on my computer, the witness started saying that the training lasted for roughly two months, not exactly two months. He then goes on to say, "Roughly two years. Not exactly two years." So which one of those, if any, was a slip of the tongue?

  • Thank you, my Lord:

  • Mr Zaymay, how long did you start your training - sorry, when did you start your training?

  • The training started in 1987. I can remember that I left Liberia in 1986 after the '85 invasion. 1986. I travelled from Liberia in February. I travelled from Ivory Coast in February 1987 and I went to Libya. That same year, 1987, the training started. The training ended in 1989. Excuse me. 1987 the training started; the training ended 1989. 1989, that's the exact date. Roughly two years, from 1987 to 1989. First, it was a slip of tongue, sorry.

  • You were telling us about the two Sierra Leoneans that you knew and you were telling us about Foday Sankoh. Do you know what Foday Sankoh's position was among the Sierra Leoneans in Tajura?

  • Foday Sankoh was a floor man, a corporal.

  • He was just an element within a unit. He was not a commander.

  • And you mentioned someone by the name Mohamed, yes? Mohamed. How did you come to know Mohamed?

  • Mohamed used to create fun. When we go to the mess house, Mohamed would say that he can eat more than anybody else. Mohamed would say he would eat ten apples, ten eggs, ten tomatoes, he will put all together, ten, ten, on the table and he will eat everything. So we used to have eating competition just for fun at the base in the auditorium. The winner's gift - the trophy that we gave to the winner would be a crate of canned soft drinks because there was no alcohol there. The canned soft drinks that we would give, we would contribute one each, canned soft drink, until it sums up to a crate and we would put that on the table. Any winner would take that as a trophy. So Mohamed always won. He would eat the ten apple, the ten eggs and the ten raw tomatoes. He used to create fun. That was how I knew him.

  • Now, when Mr Taylor was visiting Tajura, was he in a position to interact with the other groups that were at Tajura besides your group?

  • Why do you say zero and what does zero mean?

  • Zero means negative. No.

  • How can you be so certain?

  • Because I was providing security for him. I was a Military Police commander on the base. Whenever - and I had the unit. We installed a form of discipline on the base. I had - there was a small room that I used to control as a cell, a confinement room, for rude, indisciplined soldiers. Then I had a small office at the entrance off the house close to the step that I took as my Military Police headquarters. I had men with me. I was the Military Police commander on the base. I was responsible for the leader's security. And that was organised by our head, that whenever the leader was coming to the base, when we had been informed, I should deploy men to the gate to receive him. When he comes, the security would receive him and bring them to the building.

    At that time everybody would be at the auditorium waiting for his arrival. From the building, if he was staying the night, there was a small place prepared there, a small building, like those small - like those small containers or houses prepared - some small house would be - a small house would be prepared. Sometimes when he comes, that is where he spends the night. I will provide guards to that door at that house. At that house. Nobody was allowed to enter there. Even our own Liberian trainees were not allowed, apart from the top. So there was no way for anybody to even go there to talk to him. That's how it happened.

  • Now, you were recruited from Ivory Coast and you said your total number came to 169. Do you know whether all the 169 Liberians were recruited in Ivory Coast through the same way you were recruited?

  • Yes. Out of the 100 - that was the strength. We were called the Special Forces. I knew everybody. And many died. So the remaining of us, we would be 60.

  • My question was: The 169 of you, were they, to your knowledge, all recruited in Ivory Coast through the same way that you were recruited?

  • Yes, all of us were recruited in the Ivory Coast. The team that was later - the old man, our leader, asked, "Why is it that most of these people were civilians? I wanted you to recruit soldiers within the command of Samuel Kanyon Doe in Monrovia and now you've brought a lot of civilians. The training would last long. So the team," said the old man, "there are men here, these men could be trained to be soldiers. There was no way I could go in to recruit because of the Krahn people. The secret would leak out." That was what the leader told us, that that was the reason why he recruited all the Liberians in the Ivory Coast.

  • Mr Chekera, who is this "our leader"? Are we still talking about Mr Taylor, as the witness has also referred to two other people in much earlier evidence?

  • Yes, let me just clarify:

  • In your answer you said, yes, all of us were recruited in Ivory Coast. The team that was later - the old man, our leader, asked why it was that most of these people were civilians. The old man and our leader, who are you referring to?

  • At that time Mr Charles G Taylor was the leader on the base for the movement, for the NPFL. That is why - that was what the recruiting team told us: That I cannot go inside because the secret would leak out. I said the leader at that time - he was our leader in Tajura.

  • Yes. You also mentioned the presence of Ghanaians. Do you know what the Ghanaians were doing at Tajura?

  • They were also training for a cause.

  • Do you know what cause it was they were training for?

  • Before the training started, the instructor told us that the training was for liberation. I am not training anybody who would come from here to be a bodyguard to anybody. When you left here you would be dangerous to any government that you go to. So you were being trained purposely to leave here and go and wage war in your country and to overthrow your President. That was a request from your leader. All nationalities had a leader and they met the instructor and they gave the instructor the instruction that these men were being taken there to train to wage war. So nobody was trained there to go and be a bodyguard. We all went for our training. We were told by the instructor.

  • Now, if any, do you know whether they answered to a name, the Ghanaians? Did they have a name that they answered to? Your organisation was called NPFL. Did they have an organisation?

  • No. I don't know the name of their organisation. I was not part of their organisation.

  • Do you know whether the Sierra Leoneans were under any organisation and, if so, the name of the organisation?

  • What about the Gambians, do you know whether they were under any organisation and, if so, the name?

  • Now, besides the Liberians who were under Charles Taylor, were there any other Liberians at Tajura?

  • Yes.

  • Who were those Liberians?

  • There was a group, a few men who were recruited from Ghana by MOJA headed by --

  • Your Honour, can he kindly repeat the name of this person.

  • Headed by Boima Fahnbulleh.

  • Let him kindly repeat the name of this person.

  • Mr Witness, can you repeat the name of the head of these people, of MOJA?

  • Yes. There was a small group from Ghana called MOJA headed - recruited and headed by H Boima Fahnbulleh. He was also on the base. Can I continue?

  • What does the H stand for?

  • No. H Boima Fahnbulleh, he was head of the MOJA.

  • Sorry, Madam President, may we continue?

  • Thank you:

  • Yes. You were explaining about the MOJA group. Mr Zaymay, you were explaining about the MOJA group and you said they were under Fahnbulleh. Do you know where they were recruited from?

  • Where were they recruited from?

  • They were recruited in Ghana.

  • And do you know how many were in that group, how many people were in that group?

  • The number was small. It was not even up to 20. It was less than 20.

  • And what nationalities constituted that group?

  • They were mixed. There was - they were mixed Nigerians and Ghanaians.

  • Did you not ask, Mr Chekera --

  • The interpreter would like to make a correction. They were mixed Nigerians and Liberians. [Microphone not activated] not correct, your Honour.

  • Ghanaians and Liberians.

  • Madam President, you were going to --

  • Yes. Because the question you asked this witness originally was at page 89. You said, "Beside the Liberians who were under Charles Taylor, were there any other Liberians at Tajura?" To which the witness replied yes. And you said, "Who were those Liberians?" and then he describes MOJA. And then you ask him again, "What were the nationalities?"

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