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

No. This is one thing I have to explain very well. There were young people under the age of 18 that performed tasks for the military. I have explained this. Now, there is another phenomenon that developed that, quite frankly, there was very little we could do about it. Look, we have got about 15, 20,000 soldiers. Some of them are leaving home. They take along with them younger members of the family. You have a young cousin, 10/12, you take him along. He would carry your food. He would carry maybe even your rifle. He will hold it while they are going into areas where they are about to go into combat, And this I observed. The reports came, but why we did not really do anything serious because those young men were not involved in combat. They live at home with their relatives in the army and when they are going around to places they go along with them, but they were not trained for combat, and did not engage in combat. They were used to cook food; they were used to wash clothes; they were used to man gates and search vehicles because why was it necessary to search?

We got scared at a particular point where weapons now could not be accounted for, so all vehicles going into the combat area, we would have a senior commander at the gate. So at that gate the commander - there would be soldiers and if those soldiers that are at that gate had any of their relatives with them, whether it was their girlfriends or their wives, they all would sit around the gate.

So when you hear of reports that there were some young men seen in Liberia carrying rifles, those reports are true, but what the reports don't say is this: That the men that they see carrying those rifles are young men walking with their family, but do not enter combat. Never entered combat.

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