Kamara Testifies Concerning RUF Attacks on Civilians and Freetown; Cross-Examination by Defense Commences

The Hague

February 6, 2008

The Prosecution continued its direct examination of Perry Kamara regarding RUF operations in the late 1990’s.

RUF Attacks on Civilians

Kamara’s testified concerning his travel to Rosos from Koinadugu in the company of Alfred Brown, another senior radio operator, to establish effective communications.  They traveled with a group of 250 AFRC-members, 60 RUF-members and an unknown number of STF-members.  The RUF fighters were divided into the “Red Lions,” the big “Umbrella Unit” of the RUF and a Cobra Battalion, which served as bodyguards of Superman (aka Dennis Mingo).

On September 1, 1998, the group left Koinadugu for a 21 day trip to Rosos.  Chief in command was “05” (Kamara did not recall his real name).  They traveled in a zigzag pattern, due to the threat of detection by governmental troops.  There were other threats facing the men, including air raids by ECOMOG.  Those air raids were reported with special radio codes by a station in Buedu.

Kamara remembered three towns that they entered — Karina, Gbendembu and Mateboi. Actions were taken to cause fear among the civilian population, including the destruction of towns, abductions of civilians, and the amputation of limbs to set an example.  People who refused to carry things for the troops were killed.  In Mateboi, the fighters gathered the civilians together, selected persons they wanted to abduct, and killed those who were not selected.  Instructions came from Mosquito (aka Sam Bockarie), who received his instructions from someone else, but Kamara was unable to identify who that person was.  Kamara communicated every 5-6 hours with Saj Musa and Mosquito.

Kamara identified the main radio locations in Sierra Leone in mid-1998 on a map, which included Buedu, Koidu, Kabala and Kukuna.

In Rosos, Kamara testified that there were two missions carried out, including (1) an attack on Kukuna on September 28, 1998 where they killed almost all the civilians and burned down the town, and (2) a mission where Kamara was not present due to an injury.

Attack on Freetown

In November, Saj Musa came to Rosos.  He wanted to separate from the RUF and the AFRC and start a new movement, and he had a plan to attack Freetown.  In early December, the group left for Freetown and traveled “guerilla-style.”  During their trip, Saj Musa was killed near the city of Benguema by an explosion.  Gullit (aka Alex Tamba Brima) replaced him as commander. 

In late December 1998, they reached Freetown, and Gullit made contact with Mosquito for advice on how to proceed.  Mosquito told him to wait until the other commanders, including Superman, had arrived.  But on January 6, 1999, they attacked Freetown, despite the instructions they had received from Mosquito.

Kamara explained that the troops entered Freetown by taking the main road from Waterloo, Hastings, Kossoh Town, to Freetown. They were divided into groups, each with a commander.  Different physical targets were identified and assigned to different groups, including the national stadium and the prisons.  Kamara and his unit went to the Pademba Road Prison, the maximum security prison located in Freetown.  The group was detailed to release all imprisoned RUF and AFRC fighters and they succeeded in their mission. The group of individuals that were released included JS Momoh, the former president; Gibril Massaquoi, senior member of the RUF; and Steve Bio, a businessman and friend of the RUF.  The high level prisoners were taken to the state house where Gullit and other officers were staying.  The state house became a free zone.

The released fighters were more aggressive in killing and amputating hands.  SLA and ECOMOG forces were killed if they refused to join the groups.  Mosquito said there was no prison for ECOMOG, so these soldiers were killed at the “cotton tree” near the state house.  In their attempts to stop ECOMOG, the troops set roadblocks and destroyed bridges that could be used for advancement.  These actions were performed throughout the city, but mainly in the eastern part of Freetown.

Kamara monitored all information exchanged in Freetown and reported this information to Mosquito.  Gullit had told Mosquito previously that he successfully occupied Freetown and told him about he released prisoners.  Mosquito told him to act as a military man and to take care of the released prisoners.  Every day situation reports were sent to Mosquito, who said it was important to keep the region fearful.  Another message stated that Gullit’s group should come to Waterloo to meet troops of Superman and others to reinforce them.

Mosquito ordered Gullit to send troops to attack Kossoh Town under the command of Superman and Morris Kallon.  Gullit did not do this.  Kossoh Town was attacked however, but they did not succeed.  There was one man, Rambo, a Red Goat, who bypassed ECOMOG forces and reached Freetown with 15 men.  These men joined the groups in Freetown. Gullit ordered that everything had to be burned that could not be taken along.  Rambo wanted to stay in Freetown and he did so with many men, while the others were going to Waterloo.  One of the men that stayed with Rambo was called Striker, of the Red Lamb battalion, with his fighters. Kamara was unable to identify the total number of men that stayed.  Mosquito ordered Rambo to leave Freetown for the purpose of reorganizing and in the light of the status of the released prisoners (who should be brought to Mosquito).  Rambo and Striker with their men stayed in Freetown, the eastern part, Texaco. The others went to Waterloo to regroup.

Kamara stayed with his group in Freetown for two weeks, before they returned to Waterloo. Afterwards, he heard through the commercial radio, what had happened there including the raping, killing, amputations, and abductions of civilians and the burning of houses in the area.  The main commanders in Waterloo included, Gullit, Issa Sesay, Superman and Morris Kallon.  From Waterloo, there were two attacks initiated on Cossotown, without success. The forces withdrew from Waterloo.  Kamara returned via Waterloo to Lunsar and Makeni to join Superman.

Kamara was then shown a map entitled “primary radio locations January 1999.”  The following locations were identified: Buedu (Mosquito’s headquarters), Koidu-Sefadu (base of Morris Kallon), Makeni (combined headquarters RUF), Lunsar (Superman’s base), Freetown (Gullit’s base) and Waterloo (reinforcement base).

Rambo and his unit eventually left Freetown and joined forces with a group traveling from Waterloo to Massiaka.  The prisoners who were released from the Pademba Road Prison were taken to the city of Makeni.  All of this happened under the command of Mosquito and Issa Sesay.

Kamara offered clarification regarding the person he identified as Rambo, indicating that the Rambo he described in his testimony on Tuesday is not the same person he was referring to in his testimony today.   The one referred to here is “Rambo Red Goat.”

Kamara explained that Massaquoi was released in Freetown.  He was in communication with Mosquito in Buedu at that time and he reported on the military situation in Freetown.  There was also communication between Superman, Gullit, Sesay and others. 

Kamara received messages when Mosquito went to Liberia to arrange for the transportation of weapons and ammunition.  During the move to Freetown, Kamara did not receive information in this respect.

Forced Diamond Mining in Koidu 

The Prosecution sought to focus on the situation in Koidu that occurred after the invasion of Freetown.  Kamara explained that there was diamond mining which occurred in order to get more weapons from Charles Taylor.  Civilians were forced to do the mining and Mosquito ordered Sesay to organize it.  He recalled the arrival of two white men in the mining field who were in the company of RUF fighters and had come from Liberia.  Kamara did not recall their names.

Mosquito wrote a letter indicating that he was no longer an RUF member in 1999.  Issa Sesay was stationed in Kono.  During Sesay’s administration, the diamond mining was more effective due to use of machines and the profits were for the RUF. In the beginning the civilians did not benefit at all, but later they received a part of the profits from the gravel. 

Sankoh brought the diamonds that were produced during Sesay’s leadership to Freetown, until problems with the UN occurred.  Sesay traveled with the diamonds to Liberia to deliver them to Charles Taylor.  He continued to travel with these deliveries from May 8, 2000 until the time of disarmament.  Sesay brought from Liberia petrol, diesel, engine oil and food.

After Issa Sesay captured a dozen UN peacekeepers, he received a message from Charles Taylor to transfer them to Liberia.  He arranged for the transfer and a helicopter from Liberia came to collect the captured peacekeepers. This helicopter also delivered ammunition that was to be used, together with arms and ammunition from UN soldiers, against the UN troops as indicated by Charles Taylor.

Kamara testified that the RUF fought on the request of Charles Taylor in Liberia. This occurred in 1993 and again in 1999, after the return to Freetown, in the fight against Guinea for Charles Taylor.  Taylor asked the RUF to fight along the Guinean border in south Liberia.  Guinea was also attacked from Pamelap, Sierra Leone.  Superman was killed in the Liberian action and after this, the RUF no longer participated in fights for Charles Taylor.

Defense Counsel Andrew Cayley commences Cross-Examination

Before the commencement of the cross-examination, there was a short private session on procedural matters with regard to the privacy of Kamara.

On cross-examination, Defense Counsel Cayley established that, as a  member of the RUF, Kamara engaged in looting and thieving himself and also took part in burning houses.  Kamara said he did this because of the orders he received.

Cayley questioned Kamara about inconsistent statements in which he referred to encounters he had had with Charles Taylor.  Kamara admitted that he did not see Taylor in Gbarnga although he stated this in an earlier statement to the Prosecution.  Kamara confirmed that he saw Taylor only twice.

Kamara belonged to a group known as the Black Ghadafa, and he stated that General Devon was the leader of this group.  Cayley questioned Kamara’s knowledge of the Black Ghadafa, and observed that they were a renegade group within the NPFL who were against Charles Taylor, the head of NPFL.  Kamara explained that he was unaware of this and further stated that Devon and Taylor cooperated with each other.

Cayley asked Kamara about the code names for Taylor (“Ebony”) and Sankoh (“Toyota”).  Kamara confirmed that these were the code names he had heard during the war. Defense Counsel pointed out that Kamara had identified a different code name for Charles Taylor in an earlier statement to the Prosecution. Kamara answered that the code names changed over time.  Cayley asked if Sankoh and Taylor communicated in English.  Kamara stated that codes were used so it was incomprehensible for outsiders.

At this point, the Court adjourned until tomorrow.