5:00 Prosecution witness Abu Keita takes the stand

Prosecutor Nick Koumjian calls the next witness.

Pros: This witness will testify openly and in Liberian English, interpreted into English.

The witness swears on the Koran to tell the truth.

Through a series of questions from Prosecutor Nick Koumjian, he relates the following:

Wit: My name is Abu Keita.  I was born in Zorzor, Lofa County.  I grew up in Grand Cape Mount County.  I’m a Mandingo.  I went to school until the first grade.  I was a member of the AFL.  I joined the AFL in 1990.  The AFL is the Armed Forces of Liberia.  I was 17 years old at the time.  I was trained by the AFL in Bomi Hills, the 6th Infantry Batallion. 

My first operation, they took us to Nimba County, where we attacked Ganta and Karnplay. I was fighting against the NPFL.  We fought until we realized we couldn’t make it, so we retreated to Sierra Leone – to Daru Barracks.  This was in 1990.  In Daru, we were disarmed by the Sierra Leonean army.  I joined the LUDF (liberians United Defense Force) in SIerra Leone.  It was founded by our leader, Albert Karpeh, to fight against the RUF, which was attacking Sierra Leone.  The LUDF received weapons from the Sierra Leonean government.  We fought against the RUF in Sierra Leone.  At first we attacked Gbima behind Daru Barracks. Then they took us to Golahun Tonkia near Zimmi, close to the Liberian border.

LUDF became ULIMO.  Our leader was assassinated in Kenema.  LUDF changed to ULIMO and Alhaji Kromah became the leader.  ULIMO split into ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J.  Roosevelt Johnson led ULIMO-J.  Alhaji Kromah led ULIMO-K.  I was a member of ULIMO-K.  Members of ULIMO-K were of all tribes.  The leader was Mandingo, so there were more Mandingos in ULIMO-K, but there were all tribes.  I fought in a battle in Monrovia…

Defense objects that it’s not clear when all of this happened.  Judge Doherty agrees.

Pros: When did the battle in Monrovia occur?

Wit: It was 1995.  ULIMO split in 1994 in Bomi Hills.    The battle in Monrovia occurred on April 6, 1995.  At that time there was a transitional government.  Roosevelt killed another Krahn man.  Taylor and Alhaji Kromah said Roosevelt Johnson must be arrested.  We fought against him.  We joined forces with the NPFL.  I remained a member of ULIMO-K until we were disarmed in 1996.  In the ULIMO-K, I was a General, the deputy chief of staff.  I was the second-in-command in the military structure.  I reported to my commander who was Jungo Gibba.  In the AFL, the highest rank I had was Private. 

Pros: How did you advance so quickly to become a General in ULIMO-K?

Wit: I was a private soldier in the LUDF until we crossed into Liberia.  When ULIMO split, I was a front-line commander.  That’s why I was promoted.  I won battles and got promoted.  I was the first to cross into Bong County.  At disarmament in 1996, Alhaji Kromah ordered me to disarm – he ordered all of ULIMO to disarm.  There was an interim government at the time, led by Ruth Sando Perry.

Judge Doherty adjourns the proceedings until tomorrow morning at 9:30.  Our live blog will continue at 10:00.