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

Well, because Kono District was regulated and because you had to have a pass to live there if you were not a native Kono speaker everybody was aware of the diamond business. Living in a town like Koidu, which I said earlier was a bit like living in the Wild West, it was an incredibly busy town. It was also a very dangerous town. There were fights, there were murders at night, there were large numbers of the Lebanese business people there who had shops where all of their wares were covered in dust, they actually weren't there for the retail trade that they purported to be there for, they were obviously there for something else, and the Sierra Leone Selection Trust, I mean their presence and their attempts to control the illicit diamond mining was evident. Practically every day you would hear the helicopters going over, the police would arrive in trucks and occasionally conduct raids in town. The diggers would run whenever the helicopters came or when the trucks arrived and occasionally they would swarm out over our school which was on the edge of town. I remember one occasion where there was a big raid in the town and hundreds of illicit diggers invaded the school. Several actually came and sat in the classroom to pretend to be students in case the police arrived on the school compound. The police did arrive and they all ran away. We saw this almost on a daily basis. It was a regular feature of life.

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