February 22, 2008
The Prosecution completed its examination in chief of Foday Lansana today, before tendering the witness to the Defense for cross-examination. During his third day on the witness stand, Lansana appeared restless at times, cracking his knuckles every few minutes and looking uncomfortable in his seat. Lansana’s testimony included further evidence about his relationship with Dennis Mingo and the events following the invasion of Freetown in January 1999.
Misunderstanding between Samuel Bockarie (aka Mosquito) and Dennis Mingo (aka Superman)
Lansana was in the Kono District when former Nigeria President, Sane Abache, died. He then moved to join Superman and his family in the Kabala District, where Saj Musa, Superman, Colonel Tamba Yamba, and other commanders, and a large number of troops under their control, were located. Attached to Superman, the witness’ mandate was to monitor communications. He continued to have access to communications between the commanders. It was through his work at the signal unit that the witness learned of a meeting between Superman and Saj Musa. Superman told Saj Musa that Sam Bockarie had accused him of not “carrying out his special mission,” which was allegedly to kill Saj Musa. Lansana explained that Saj Musa left with his troops soon after this meeting.At the time, communications were sent by Sam Bockarie and received by Superman. Superman also communicated messages directly to either Sam Bockarie, Gullit (aka Alex Tamba Brima), an RUF commander at Rosos, or Brigadier Mani, an expert SLA military officer. Lansana explained that Manning settled issues between Bockarie, Saj Musa and Superman in the event of misunderstandings. Manning also ensured Gullit would get the reinforcements he requested in Rosos, including one occasion which included the gathering of a 1000 man strong battalion.
Superman’s Mission in Buedu
Sam Bockarie accused Superman of deviating from his mission to assassinate Saj Musa. After Saj Musa confronted Superman about this, there was “serious infighting” within the group. According to Lansana, Sam Bockarie and Superman exchanged “bitter insults.” At one point, Sam Bockarie told Superman “I know why you are not carrying out your mission, it is because of that white Lebanese idiot…”, referring to Superman’s wife in Kabale. The argument was recorded on the radio and transcribed by the secretary of the Black Guards in order to inform the RUF leaders of the incident.
Morris Kallon and Diamonds
One claim made by Sam Bockarie was that Superman held a stash of diamonds that were being kept by his wife. The Prosecution tried to solicit the witness’ opinion as to the veracity of this claim, but it was found that insufficient foundation was established as a basis for the witness’ answer. The witness then explained that Morris Kallon oversaw all diamond mining in Kono district, while Superman took care of the fighting.
Invasion of Freetown
Some time after this misunderstanding, Lansana joined Superman and Saj Musa in retreating to Pumpkin Ground. Lansana explained that it was here that they heard on BBC news that Foday Sankoh had been “condemned” in Freetown. As a result of this news, Sam Bockarie ordered the commanders to march their troops into Freetown. Lansana was with Superman when the troops entered Freetown. At this point in the examination, the Prosecutor admitted evidence to the Court that consisted of an audio recording from BBC News regarding troops entering Freetown. Lansana recalled hearing this interview on the day it was broadcast, and explained that the interview was between Robin White and Sam Bockarie. In the interview, Sam Bockarie is defending the decision to march on Freetown in lieu of peace talks. There is the sound of gunfire in the background and Sam Bockarie states that this sound is his troops “combing the bush” for enemies and asking for the unconditional release of Foday Sankoh.
Communications between Commanders
During the invasion, Lansana monitored daily communications between Sam Bockarie, Gullit, Superman, Issa Sesay and Boston Flamo (aka Rambo). For example, Gullit reported Saj Musa’s death to Sam Bockarie before entering Freetown. When Gullit informed Sam Bockarie that the troops in Freetown were under serious threat from ECOMOG, Sam Bockarie ordered all commanders to “make themselves fearful” and to stop at nothing. Gullit succumbed to his command and replied, “Yes, Sir”. In another incident, Gullit reported to Sam Bockarie that Martin Moinama, who had travelled to Nigeria with Foday Sankoh, was captured by the RUF and junta troops. Martin Moinama had served as a prosecution witness at Foday Sankoh’s trial in Freetown in 1999. In response, Sam Bockarie ordered Gullit to execute Moinama as a “betrayer, traitor and senseless person”. Gullit carried out this order.
Time Period After the Lomé Peace Accords
After the invasion of Freetown, Lansana continued to serve as the radio operator. After the signing of the Lomé Peace Accords, Foday Sankoh ordered the Witness to be part of the first group to take part in disarmament. At that time, Lansana moved to Freetown until returning to Monrovia in December 1999. In Monrovia, Lansana met with Benjamin Yeaten to discuss Superman’s status following a misunderstanding between the latter and Sam Bockarie. Lansana explained that Sam Bockarie believed Superman and the Liberian troops under his command were a breakaway faction from the RUF. Benjamin Yeaten explained that the matter had been investigated and cleared up. According to Lansana, the “truth” emerged when Bockarie challenged the leadership of Foday Sankoh, who then sent a report to Taylor stating “big brother I am kindly asking you to intervene to calm down Sam Bockarie….” Under Taylor’s orders, Sam Bockarie left Sierra Leone for Liberia.
Lansana returned to Sierra Leone and was arrested on May 7, 2000 on 14 counts of “shooting with intent to murder and conspiracy to murder.” He was sentenced on May 11, 2006 to 150 consecutive years imprisonment, i.e. 10 years for each count. Though he could not say with certainty which incident provoked the arrest, Lansana believed it was connected to the May 8, 2000 incident where 15 civilians were killed at the home of Foday Sankoh. His sentence was later reduced to 10 years, though he could not explain why this was the case.
Defense Commences Cross-Examination
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah began his cross-examination of Lansana during the morning session. Charles Taylor, who had been taking notes and discussing with his counsel during the direct examination, put down his pen and listened to this questioning. Lansana had to ask Anyah to repeat his questions on several occasions during the cross-examination. Anyah began by clarifying that the Witnesses’ name was Nyahn Korto Nessian, aka Foday Lansana, aka CO Nya. Anyah then examined Lansana by reviewing details discussed in the direct examination, without many new details emerging from the questioning. Anyah asked Lansana to confirm the names of accused individuals who were prosecuted on the same day as Lansana. After this line of questioning, Anyah put it to the Court that Lansana was not in fact arrested on May 7, 2000 and, rather, was present for the events of May 8, 2000. Lansana denied this accusation. Anyah then questioned Lansana’s involvement in the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown. Anyah stated that Lansana was interviewed on several occasions in 2003 and then in 2007, while he was a prisoner at Pademba Road prison. Lansana admitted that the investigators gave him some money to purchase clothing suitable for the interviews on one occasion. Lansana denied that the investigators gave him any further money in exchange for the interviews. He also denied any knowledge of other prisoners being given money in exchange for participating in interviews for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
At this point, Presiding Judge Doherty adjourned the session until Monday 9:30 a.m.