The second witness has taken the stand and has been sworn in. He will be testifying in the Krio language, and his testimony will be interpreted for the court into English.
Prosecutor: Please state your name.
Witness: My name is Alex Tamba Teh.
Prosecutor: Your age?
Wit: 47 years old.
Pros: Where were you born?
Wit: Tombodu, in Kono District.
Pros: You presently reside in Sandor chiefdom, Kono District?
Under further questioning about the witness’s background, it emerges that he is a member of the clergy.
Pros: Where were you living in 1998?
Wit: Koidu, Kono District?
Pros: In early 98, did people come to Koidu?
Wit: Yes, Kamajors. They said they came to protect Kono from the rebels – people who used to kill and burn down houses.
Pros: Who were the Kamajors?
Wit: Kamajors were people who we used to call hunters – local hunters, who had native guns.
Pros: Did you know any other name for the rebels?
Wit: Rebels were also “Juntas”. I never knew the rebels by any other name.
Pros: Do you recall April of 1998?
Wit: Yes. I was still in Koidu.
Pros: What happened that month?
Wit: That month, I was fasting and praying. At about 3:00 in the morning, I heard sporadic gunfire and shelling.
Pros: For how long?
Wit: The firing went on up until 5:30.
Pros: Then it stopped?
Through a series of questions, the witness tells the following:
Then I went outside. I saw a group of people running. They came to where I was and passed. I asked them what happened. They told us that the people had come. Right away I knew that they were bad people. I got my wife and children. We ran with the others. My wife and children went with a first group. I went with a second group to Tongoru (ph) Bush. It was far. I had never been there before, so I can’t say how far it was. We got there the same day. I was moving with the group, but when we got close to Tongoru, I joined Aiah Abu. We spent about a week at Tongoru Bush. We saw some armed men there who came to arrest us there. There were five of them – some in uniforms, some without. They had guns. The uniforms were Sierra Leonean military fatigues, soldier uniforms. There was no writing on the uniforms, but they were just like the uniforms used by SL soldiers. We heard about what was happening in Koidu. I heard that ECOMOG had taken over Kono. ECOMOG were Nigerian men – we used to call them Oga (ph.) men. When the men came to Tongoru, they captured many of us – I was not alone. All of us who were captured were civilians. We were led to a village called Kania. At Kania, they put all of in a line and started counting us, so that we would not be missing. I heard them say we were 250. From Kania, they moved us to a place called Sunna Mosque in Koidu. On the way from Kania to Sunna Mosque, we met three people who were sitting down, but they had guns. When they saw us, they saw Aiah Abu. They said he had escaped from them and they were going to kill him. They shot Aiah Abu twice. Abu fell down and was struggling to die. The group of 250 was all civilian. When they captured us, children and women and old men were amongst the group. At Sunna Mosque, we met some people who asked, “who fired a gun”? They attempted to run away. When we moved ahead, we saw men in military fatigues. Aiah Abu had died. In front of Sunna Mosque, I saw people with my own eyes people who wore ECOMOG uniforms. Their uniforms had an ECOMOG badge on the shoulders. As we approached them, they welcomed us. They welcomed us in a dialect that I took for Nigerian. The whole group that I was with, the other civilians, we all started cheering and clapping for the soldiers to thank them. They also said “those dogs have come here and burned down our houses. We thank you for saving our lives.” I didn’t say anything because I didn’t think that they were the people they claimed to be. I took out my documents and showed them that I was a pastor. Rambo took the document from me. He took the document, looked at it and at my face. He said “You claim to be a pastor. Let me ask you a question: Which do you support, ECOMOG or Junta.” I was already suspicious about them, so I said “even if you are ECOMOG, I was captured by the Junta but they did nothing to me.” Later I learned that Rambo was a brigade commander. Rambo said they should lead us to a particular place – Igbaleh, at Kamachende Street. From Sunna Mosque to Igbaleh was about half a mile. I saw corpses on the way and we stepped over them. I started counting them–up to 50, but when I realized there were many more, I stopped counting. At Igbaleh, Rocky said to us the SBU rebels must separate us – to separate out the adult men from the women, from the children. Rocky was a commander, but I didn’t know his real name. Later I learned his name. Rocky came down and asked “Where is the pastor?” He asked three times, but I was unable to answer, but I thought they would kill me so refused to answer. Then Sylvester Kieh , one of the rebels, asked me – “didn’t you say you were a pastor?” I said yes. Rocky then said that I should pray for everybody. They asked him to bring his “bargege” – I didn’t know what that was. They brought him a gun that had a long belt with bullets on it. The boy who brought it had the belt with bullets wrapped around his body. He passed the gun to Rocky. Rocky said, “those of you who were saying thanks to us and thanks to ECOMOG, I want to tell you that we are junta rebels, not ECOMOG, and this belongs all to us. I’m sending you to Tejan-Kabbah to tell him that we are here.” He called me again and I became nervous. I took two steps. At the third step he fired the gun and I thought he was shooting at me. He shot all of the adult men to death. I thought he was going to be the first person shot – I was nervous. After he had killed the civilians – the other adult men – he instructed that they should be decapitated. It was Rocky who who gave the order to the SBUs. SBUs are small boys below the ages of 15-16, very small boys. They’re the ones they called SBUs. Some couldn’t even carry their guns properly, they were dragging on the ground. Some had cutlasses. After Rocky spoke, these boys decapitated all of those who had been shot to death by Rocky. It was at that time that Rocky disclosed his identity to me, as “Rocky”, but that his actual name was Emmanuel Williams and that he was from Liberia. He said he was from the Bassa tribe. Then those very small SBUs who decapitated the dead men argued that I should be killed too. Rocky put ropes on my neck. Rocky and his subordinate led me back to Sunna Mosque.
At Igbaleh, after the SBU boys told me I was no better than the others who had been killed, Rocky put his bag over my neck. Before we moved, I saw some other SBU boys coming towards me with another very small boy who was screaming and crying. He asked “what have I done?” They put his right arm on a log and with a machete, amutated it at the wrist. They took his left arm and put on the same log, and cut it off. They put his left leg on the log and cut him off at the ankle. Then the put his right leg on the log and cut it off. They were swinging the boy, they threw him into a toilet pit. I saw it myself.
Rocky said “let’s go”. We got to Sunna Mosque. I saw Rocky salute Rambo and give him reports. He said “Sir, I have killed 101 men. Except I did not kill this pastor who stands before you now.” Rambo got angry, and said, “Rocky, as your commander, I have given you an instruction to do something, and you have not accomplished it?” Rambo turned to me and said “You’re a pastor?” I was afraid. There were about 30 commanders. Rambo told them, “Rocky has refused to carry out my instruction”, and they should vote on my fate. I knew the men were commanders because Rambo referred to them as “you who are the commanders”. Rambo said how many there were – he said they were 30 including himself and Rocky. Rambo voted to have me killed and said others who wanted me killed should come and stand with him, and put their hands up. Those opposed, should go and stand with Rocky, who had refused to kill me. 14 people came to stand with Rambo, so there 15 votes. There were 14 others with Rocky. So there were 15 on each side. As God would have it, Rambo saw Sylvester Kieh coming – Kieh had been at Igbaleh. Rambo addressed him and explained the tie vote, and told him he should break the tie. Sylvester raised his hand. Rambo asked him to shut up and turned his back to us. Sylvester stood with Rocky, so there were 16 on his side. I was spared.
Rambo said, “Rocky, I’m going to hand this man over to you until I tell Mosquito about him. You have to keep him until then.” At that time I didn’t know the person referred to as Mosquito. Later I learned who he was.
Rocky resided at Wondedu, Kono District, where he was deployed. Rocky took me to Wondedu. There, I met other civilians and other rebels. The civilians were in captivity. They never did anything on their own. They were used as manpower, to find food, to press palm fruits, and used the women as sexual objects, with force. At night, they forced the women to have sex with them. Sometimes I heard them scream – and say “is this why you have captured me? to use me? You haven’t married me.” They were sexual slaves. In the morning I asked a woman named Rebecca why she was crying and screaming so much at night. She told me that the men with guns were raping them and “using them as wives”. Civilians were sent to find food for the rebels. They called the food “government property”. In Wondedu at the time, that meant that the rebels were the government, and civilians shouldn’t touch or use “government property”. The rebels would shoot to death the people who violated this. Civilians had to go as far as Koranko area, up to 50 miles or further. Koranko is outside Kono District.
Also at Wondedu, I was the only successful one who avoided being cut with sharp objects. They carved “RUF” on the people’s chests, and “AFRC” on their backs. They didn’t do it to me because I was a pastor. They told me they carved the people so they wouldn’t escape and go to ECOMOG, because people with that carving in their skin would be killed by ECOMOG.
Rocky left Wondedu after about a week. They transferred him to Tombodu Town, Kamara Chiefdom. Captain K.S. Banya took his place as commander in Wondedu. Banya sent civilians once to find food, but on their way back, I was seated at the back of the house when I heard Captain Banya say “those men coming back from finding food should go on a meat-finding mission in Guinea.” When the men returned with the food, Banya gave none of it to them. I called on them that night. I told them that when the cock crows in the morning, they should go hide in the bush and have a good rest. I told them I felt sorry for them because they had swollen legs and feet. They agreed. When I woke up in the morning, Banya called me and asked me after prayers, “Where are those men?” I told him I hadn’t seen them that morning: ” Maybe they’re tired and need rest.” Around 4:00 in the evening, two of the men came out of the bush, and Banya called them. He asked where they’d been. I was still sitting behind the same house where I’d overheard the discussion earlier. They told Banya that I had advised them to hide and rest before their meat-finding mission. Banya sent someone to find me. The other returning civilians told him the same thing. I didn’t deny it or say yes to it. He took a pistol from his pocket and pointed it at me. He said “Today you are going to die and nobody will be allowed to bury you. If you as a pastor rot, the more we get a bad smell from you, the more we will be talking about you.” Then a brigade adjutant, Alfred Momoh came. He pointed gun at his head. He said “don’t shoot”, and Banya lowered the gun and shot in the ground between his legs. He said Rambo ordered I be taken to Superman Ground at Buedu, which was referred to as Burkina. Then Alfred Momoh went. I still stood there. Banya told me I was a very lucky man not to be killed, but that he’d give me something that was everlasting. He took out his pistol. He placed a flat stick like a ruler into my mouth. With the barrel of his pistol he knocked out most of my teeth. (The witness has taken out his dentures to show the gaps in his mouth.) My teeth fell into my mouth and I had blood all over my mouth. I had no medical attention. My head got swollen. In 2002, my older brother came from Freetown and took me to the hospital. He could only afford three false teeth – each cost 50,000 Leones. The witness describes how he still has major difficulties with his teeth.
The court is adjourning for lunch from 1:00 until 2:30. With the audio delay to the media room, this summary will resume at 3:00.