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

"This attack was successfully carried out in which nearly 150 civilians died and others wounded, and the RUF commander Zino's whereabouts was not known up-to-date. President Kabbah further told them to give the credit to the Kamajors so that he could not be seen as one not fulfilling his obligation under the Abidjan Accord, because, when asked, he will reply that it is the civilians going back home and he has no option of stopping them.

This was revealed in a voluntary statement by the then-army chief of staff, Colonel James Max Kanga, during the kangaroo court martial in 1998 in Sierra Leone. Colonel James Max Kanga was killed by the government after the court martial, even though he was not part of the other ranks who successfully overthrew him, simply because he leaked the president's secret.

In another development, President Kabbah connived with the late Head of State of Nigeria, Sani Abacha, to have our leader, Foday Sankoh, detained after the eruption of fighting caused by him as stated in top paragraph. Foday Sankoh went to Nigeria upon the invitation of Sani Abacha, the then ECOWAS chairman, in order to resolve the continued violation of ceasefire, and Kabbah was to go there too. The RUF members sent to represent RUF on the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace were given money by Kabbah and the then UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Sierra Leone by then Mr Bahama Dinka, in order to forge new leadership for the RUF which they attempted and failed. We know that President Kabbah will deny this, but the question for him to answer is - why did he ask his ambassador to Guinea, Mohamed Jabbie, to join Philip Palmer, Fayia Musa and others to cross into RUF territory from Guinea, to convince them to denounce the leader, Foday Sankoh, for Philip Palmer? Why did Kabbah swiftly go on the media on the 23 March 1997 to support Palmer and others as new leaders of the RUF, failing to realise that he signed a peace deal with Foday Sankoh in Abidjan? All of these people were arrested, along with the ambassador and bodyguard called Sergeant Gobeh, all from Guinea.

Furthermore, creating a militia group against the national army made the situation worst when they started killing one another, which is contrary to the Constitution which led to the May 25th 1997 takeover of government by the junior ranks of the army.

After the May 25th 1997 coup d'etat and subsequent takeover by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, the RUF leadership was contacted for peace where he agreed for the RUF to join the AFRC for peace, while on the detention at the Sheraton Hotel in Nigeria by Kabbah and his colleague Sani Abacha. The AFRC signed a peace agreement whereby they were to stay in power from 22 October 1997 until 20 April 1998. This agreement was signed by international community, especially ECOWAS, as mandated by the United Nations on behalf the of the ousted Government of Kabbah. This time never expired when Kabbah hired Sandline mercenaries to bring in arms to fight along with Nigerians to destroy the agreement and to violate the arms embargo on Sierra Leone by United Nations Security Council, and nothing came out of it. After Tejan Kabbah's return, he made four courts of treason for those they termed as collaborators, including our leader, Foday Sankoh, and it was in these courts that Solomon Berewa, the attorney general, said that they were not signatories to the Conakry peace plan and therefore it was not binding on them. Dozens of civilians were killed in and around Freetown in a cold blood while fighting to reinstate Kabbah, and that was the end of the Conakry peace plan. Twenty-four soldiers were killed, even though they had legitimate reasons for the overthrow, and Kabbah never listened to the international community to stop the killing of these soldiers.

The Lome Peace Accord was signed after international community, including ECOWAS, supported Tejan Kabbah to have a two-track approach on the crisis in Sierra Leone. It was Mr Francis Okelo, the United Nations Secretary-General's Representative to Sierra Leone, who saw the failure of the two-track approach that decided to forgo the military option for a political settlement which was supported by ECOWAS after the RUF had taken over two-thirds of the provinces and West Side Boys take over two-thirds of Freetown, the capital city. After months of deliberations, the agreement was signed on the 7th of July 1999. This agreement was derailed by Tejan Kabbah for its full implementation. Propaganda against the RUF was the order of the day, just to create corridor for the non-implementation of Lome. To start with, any time our leader, Foday Sankoh, went out of the country, even with his permission, he always created tensions in the country that Foday Sankoh went out to buy arms, given ugly pictures of the leadership to both the local people and the peacekeepers.

President Kabbah failed to give parastatals and ambassadorial positions to the RUF, including other public offices, as agreed to in Lome. Any time RUF supporters wanted to gather either to welcome their leader back from trips or for meetings, they were stopped by Tejan Kabbah under the guise of state of emergency. But state of emergency never stopped them ganging their Kamajors and SLA troops, including their supporters, to attack the residence of Foday Sankoh on the 8th of May 2000, hence derailing the whole programme. The incident that happened between UNAMSIL and RUF was on the verge of settlement which should not have extended to this stage. We would have made progress if they had not attacked RUF leadership, including the officials in Freetown. The deputy UNAMSIL force commander will attest to this. So the attack on RUF officials and RUF leaders was not because of what happened between UNAMSIL and RUF but a deliberate act to derail the peace process, planned and masterminded by Tejan Kabbah and Johnny Paul Koroma for political gains.

Deployment of UNAMSIL did not occur in Kono as well because Tejan Kabbah failed to set up the commission for the management of strategic resources, reconstruction and development. No office space was provided. Teams came from Britain and America to assist in setting up the commission, and there was no cooperation from President Kabbah due to his hidden agenda. There was a lot of lapses on the part of government, including even the DDR programme, reference to RUF position paper dated 27 December 1999, which a copy was sent to the United Nations on violations of various articles of Lome by President Kabbah."

Then we come to sub-heading (d), which is the final section.

"Position of the RUF on the current peace process and her political stance. The Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone still believes that the only way out of the crisis in Sierra Leone is genuine peace. The creation of awareness have been made especially to the grass roots by the armed struggle. It is therefore now left with international community to count on the integrity of the parties by putting aside the past and compel parties to do the right thing in the interest of the masses.

On the part of RUF, we are also concerned about the double role of some self-seeking mediators and conflict settlers in Africa, thus prolonging on the conflict as long as they are enriching themselves. We will partly criticise the international community for failing to fulfill their obligations under the international documents they sign. For instance, failing to give trust fund to the RUF for her political transformation, according to Lome. International community failed to prevail on politicians and leaders of various African countries to govern their countries in the interests of the masses. They sit aside until things go out of hand that lead to civil wars, only at the end for them to start saying war crimes, human rights, et cetera, et cetera. They don't condemn the politicians earlier when in power and abusing human rights.

The RUF's position is very clear as far as the ongoing peace process is concerned. UNAMSIL is allowed to deploy in our territories, which is the first step. We know we have been blamed in the past for creating obstacles to UNAMSIL deployment. It will not happen this time around. Non-governmental organisations are also welcomed into all of our territories without hindrance, but before disarmament the following have to be addressed:

The RUF knows very well that by us joining other political parties in asking for interim government, the so-called 'something' government will tend not to accept if not pressurised by international community as our people are suffering. They always say the Constitution don't have room for that. This is unacceptable to us because this same Constitution was abused by them from day one of their rule on to date. For instance, there is no provision that says when a man conduct elections, he will accept appointment in the formation of the ruling party's government. Neither there is a provision for a foreigner to head Sierra Leone's army or police force. There are a host of other abuses of the 1991 Constitution by the so-called government. The RUF is not in position to accept any Constitution of poverty on our people.

The release of all RUF members detained by President Kabbah as he promised in his August 20th 2000 press communique in Freetown in the presence of two ECOWAS leaders which he has not done up until now.

Training of Kamajors and so-called Sierra Leone army to stop, as it is contrary to Lome, UNAMSIL is aware and have not stopped these trainings.

Mercenaries to leave Sierra Leone in the security of the state to be in the hands of UNAMSIL alone and not in conjunction with any armed group in Sierra Leone.

Disarmament to commence under an interim government as President Kabbah's 10 year of office is over. This will further enhance disarmament and speedy implementation of the peace process, a level and fair political playing field and the international community to be able to investigate human rights abuses and war crimes. This is a challenge to the Tejan Kabbah's lead government since they are claiming that the RUF is unpopular and has committed worse crimes during the conflict and do not have a political agenda. The interim government to be headed by a reputable Sierra Leonean whereby all political parties, including RUFP and civic organisations, will be absolved for true peace and reconciliation.

Disarmament to be carried out by all parties and UNAMSIL to take over State security, even up to six months after elections.

The removal of our disarmed brothers from Port Loko DDR camp to Pademba Road central prison. Some have been released and now with us while others remain languishing in the Pademba prison.

Creating obstacles for the RUF to get party house in Freetown by President Kabbah's several times is also our most concern, threaten to burn houses of anyone leased to RUF.

Treating the RUF as a separate entity and not part of their last government e.g. a big commotion arose for the withdrawal of our vehicles at the quay when they arrived last year."

Pause there. Mr Sesay, "the arrival of our vehicles at the quay", what's that about?

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