Court is back in session, and Prosecutor Brenda Hollis continues to lead the witness in his story:
Pros: You told the court about the LUDF. Did you become a member?
Wit: Yes, I was a member. It existed for about six months. Then the LUDF Liberians United for Defense Force, became ULIMO, United Liberation Defense Movement for Liberia. I was a battalion commander with ULIMO. I was a member up until 1997, until the elections in 1997. Other members of ULIMO were dominated by Krahn and Mandingo tribes of Liberia. I was a member of ULIMO in Sierra Leone from the time of the name change. We crossed into Liberia and continued the war in 1992. While fighting in Sierra Leone we fought the NPFL and RUF. We knew they were NPFL and RUF because we captured people, and when we captured villages, we saw writing “NPFL” and “RUF”. We captured people of all ages, male and female 12-25 years. We captured Sierra Leoneans adn Liberians from NPFL and RUF. In SL I was fighting close to Kenema, then we moved to Zimmi towards the border. We crossed the Mano River to Cape Mount in two batallions. I headed the Zebra batallion. My headquarters in Liberia was at Klay. When we got to the Po river, I became Acting Field Commander. The Po river is at the beginning of the city, Monrovia. As field commander for ULIMO, I supervised all the front lines, coordinating all of the various batallion commanders. We were fighting against the NPFL.
When we entered Liberia in 1992, NPFL was in control of Lofa County, and the RUF was there. (Witness points out Lofa County lies, along the Sierra Leonean border.) ULIMO attacked Lofa County and we fought against NPFL and RUF. We knew they belonged to these groups because I was a supervisor. When we got to the Zorzor area, we captured a lot of people of all ages 12-80, both men and women; people captured were fighters. Children who were captured, 12-14 years old, they had weapons. Villagers told us that the weapons We were fighting in Lofa in 1992-1993. We moved from Zorzor, to Kolahun, to Foya. Later, in 1993, we fighted the Lofa Defense Force, founded in Gbarnga. I knew about the Lofa Defense Force because the leader of the force spoke on the radio, and he said they were coming to move us. Civilians also gave us information that these people were NPFL who had changed their name to Lofa Defense Force because there were peace negotiations and they didn’t want to be known as NPFL. NPFL commanders in Lofa were Christopher Varmoh -the Liberian Mosquito-, Fassu, Magwon, “Jack the Rebel” who was George Dwanah (ph.).
By end of 1993/ beginning of 1994, ULIMO had total control of Lofa County. When we had total control, fighting continued because the RUF in Sierra Leone was getting its supplies through Gbarnga. We were still being attacked from teh Sierra Leonean border, headed by General Fayah. Gen. Fayah fought until he lost everything, then he crossed to Guinea, then he went to Monrovia. We later became friends when our forces joined in 1996. We then all heard each other’s stories about who was fighting were.
At the time ULIMO controlled Lofa County, I was ULIMO General Supervisor. We fought resistance in Lofa, and we fought until we got to Gbarnga (in Bong County). We captured Gbarnga. Then we got instructions to retreat because there were peace talks going on. Alhadji Koroma, the leader of ULIMO-K, told us to retreat. In 1994/95, ULIMO split into ULIMO-J headed by Roosevelt Johnson and ULIMO-K under Alhadji Koroma. I was with ULIMO-K. When we attacked Gbarnga, we were fired on by mortars, and encountered landmines there for the first time. A landmine blew up one of our vehicles, killing 15. We saw a four-barrel there, they were anti-terrorist weapons. The four barrel shoots from four barrels at once. It is used to bring down a plane.
We held Gbarnga for one month until we received instructions that we should retreat. I was based for that month in the center of Gbarnga, at the headquarters of the NPFL. I saw at the NPFL a black satellite dish aimed at the Middle East. It was at the residence of the head of the NPFL – Mr. Taylor, the former president.
When we retreated from Gbarnga, we went to St Paul Bridge, the boundary between the NPFL and ULIMO until the final peace was signed in 1996 (the Abuja Peace Accord). Before that there had been peace agreements, but these were broken.
Before then, while we were fighting the NPFL and RUF, we heard about their treatment of civilians. Civilians were executed, women were used as wives, food was confiscated.
In 1995 I was appointed as Assistant Director for Operations for the SSS, the Special Security Service. After a peace agreement between ULIMO-K, NPFL and LDF under George Boleh, there was to be a unity government. ULIMO-J was also represented in the government. They were given the position Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. Roosevelt Johnson was the commander of ULIMO-J. ULIMO-K had all tribes, but predominantly Mandingo. ULIMO-J had all tribes, but predominantly Krahn. My duties as Assistant Director for Operations was to represent the interests of my faction. The director led meetings. When faction leaders went to the Executive Mansion, we were supervising it.
I worked in the SSS, in the transitional government until the election that made Mr. Taylor president. Taylor called me and reappointed me to the same position. Taylor became president in August 1997. Taylor sent the director to call me to his residence near the German embassy. He wanted me to remain in my same position, so that I could help some of my ULIMO-K fighters in the government, in security. He wanted a government of inclusion. I accepted. I was still Assistant Director of Operations for the SSS until 1999/2000. In 2000 I was transferred from the SSS to immigration as the Deputy Chief of Security. Then I was Chief of Security. Then I was Asst. Commissioner for Operations. Then I was Deputy Commissioner. At immigration in these various jobs until 2003. Taylor also appointed me as his Deputy Chief of Staff for the Army Division. I had that position from 2001 to the end of 2002.
As Assistant Director of Operations from 1997-1999/2000. I was responsible for the President’s security and that of his immediate family and his properties. I was based in the Executive Mansion in Monrovia. I wore a blue and navy blue uniform – the SSS uniform. My immediate boss was Joseph Montgomery, Deputy Director of Operations. I worked for him until we were both transferred to immigration. While at the SSS, I had contact with him every day. Joseph Montgomery’s boss was Benjamin Yeaten, the Director of the SSS. Yeaten remained Director of the SSS up to 2003. I had contact with Benjamin Yeaten until and throughout 2003, on a daily basis. I had contact with Charles Taylor. I had to appear every day. His motorcade was under my command. We always came and went together. It was every day, unless he was sick or travelling somewhere else. Joseph Montgomery was appointed to his position by Taylor. Taylor also appointed Benjamin Yeaten to his position as Director of the SSS.
Below me in the SSS was CPS, the Chief of Protective Service – Osibio Dembi. Below him the Senior Inspector of Motorcade for Advance. I had an office staff – a secretary, driver, orderly (who were also bodyguards). My bodyguards’ names were Sidiki Kanneh, Major Garfee Fofana, and Seko Sherif. Joseph Montgomery also had orderlies who to accompany movements – they were bodyguards. Yeaten also had orderlies who were bodyguards. Yeaten’s orderlies were Zigzag Mazhar, Jongo (ph), and Samson (witness forgot last name).
After Taylor became president, all former NPFL commanders took positions in the government. Yeaten, Montgomery, and others all got positions.
In my duties, I travelled with Taylor to Taiwan in 1997/1998. On the return from this trip, I spoke with Charles Taylor. I I told him about factions that hadn’t disarmed as they were supposed to under the peace agreement. If I did not give him this information he would not have confidence in me. I went to sit with him in the plane. I told him I wanted to go to Lofa to find arms that hadn’t been handed over. He said it was a good idea. In Monrovia I was given a Land Rover and went to Lofa with a temporary assignment to check for arms from ULIMO-K people who hadn’t disarmed. People started showing me where weapons were hidden and dug them out and gave them to me. I found arms in Voinjama District. I knew there were arms there from my knowledge as a former ULIMO-K commander. We had tried to store arms there in case the peace process broke up. I didn’t know where they were, however. I wanted to look for them, and former fighters showed me where the arms were hidden. There were four pick-up loads, but I didn’t bring them all at once. There were AK-47s, ammunition, RPGs, grenades, mortars, and “60” guns from America. The condition of the weapons was good. They had been greased and placed in plastic to protect them in the big whole. All were in functioning condition. I took one load of them to Taylor in Monrovia at his residence. He came outside and was happy with me. He gave instructions to a Gambian man named Musa.
I took a second trip to Lofa. Joseph Montgomery sent one of his senior bodyguards, Leo Mento, to go with me. We took everything, cleaned it up, and took it to Joseph Montgomery’s home. The arms and ammunition were issued to police and others in the security apparatus. I total, I took four trips to Lofa. On the third trip we also brought the weapons to Joseph Montgomery. During this period I traveled with Charles Taylor to Conakry, Guinea – to a Mano River meeting between Taylor, Guinean President Lansana Conteh and exiled Sierra Leonean President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, at that time living in Conakry. Kabbah had been driven from Freetown. I was present at the beginning of the discussion when they spoke about non-aggression and Kabbah complaining about Liberian involvement in Sierra Leone. Taylor said he didn’t know anything about it. Taylor said people were being trained Macenteh Center, in Guinea – on the border close to Voinjama, Liberia. Conteh denied it. Taylor said nobody would use Liberia to attack Sierra Leone.
After 1997, in 1998 ECOMOG forces remained in Liberia, and was fighting against the AFRC in Freetown. Taylor called me and instructed me that an AFRC delegation was coming from Freetown and we should go receive them at the airport. We went there, but we were intercepted by ECOMOG. I called the Director. He called back five minutes later and said we should move away from there. That happened around the end of 1998, start of 1999. I don’t remember precisely when. Our orders were to receive the delegation and bring it to Taylor’s office. After ECOMOG interfered, we were told by the SSS director to leave. Two days later, Charles Taylor called me into his office. Musa Cisse, Joe Tuah, Momoh Gibba were also there, so was Benjamin Yeaten, and Joseph Montgomery.
Musa Cisse was chief of protocol at the Executive Mansion, and I knew him from 1997. His duty was to deal with the francophone countries because he spoke French. He went to Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. Joe Tuah was first Assistant Director for Intelligence in the SSS until replaced by Robert Biah. At that time Tuah was working alongside Musa Cisse. He dealt with all issues of arms along with Cisse. Cisse told me that I know how to get weapons, arms and ammunition from Burkina Faso and other countries, but that he didn’t know how to use them. Tuah was there to supervise movement of ammunition from Monrovia to Lofa. A militia was organized to go to Lofa when LURD started invading Liberia at the end of 1998/beginning of 1999. Momoh Gibba was the senior aide d’camp for the Republic of Liberia. He was Mende, from Sierra Leone, but claiming to be a Liberian. At this meeting they told me to go to RUF territory to get Sam Bockarie. They didn’t explain in detail why, but this happened while the Liberian government was calling ECOMOG to leave Liberia. Taylor didn’t tell me why he wanted to bring Bockarie to him. I had heard Bockarie’s name, because we used to fight against each other. So we used to hear the name “Mosquito” Sam Bockarie. Mosquito and Sam Bockarie are the same person. I did not know him personally. At the time I was given this assignment, I knew Foday Sankoh had been arrested in Nigeria and that Bockarie was the leader of the RUF.
I accepted the assignment. I was given no letter of introduction to Bockarie because if ECOMOG had intercepted a document it would be a problem. I didn’t ask for a document. On this assignment I was in the SSS uniform – blue and navy blue. I left for Sierra Leone the same day.