Prosecutor Nick Koumjian continues the direct examination of witness Isaac Mongor:
Pros: Do you know Lt. Col. Hector Lahai?
Wit: I know Col. Hector. He was one of the honorables who staged the coup.
Pros: What does “honorable” mean?
Wit: They’re the ones who made the coup in Freetown. They were soldiers.
Pros: When you were in Kono, do you know where Lt. Col. Hector was?
Wit: Col. Hector was also in Kono.
Pros: Do you recognize the name Amara Salia?
Wit: Yes. I know a lot of Amaras. I’m not familiar with the surname.
Pros: In Kono, were any individuals assigned of mining commanders?
Pros: Do you recall any names?
Wit: Mr. Kennedy, and a man called Abdul.
Pros: When was Kennedy a mining commander?
Wit: He was the mining commander in 1998.
Pros: Did anyone replace him?
Wit: I was no longer there, but it was Alpha and Kennedy who were the mining commanders.
Pros: Do you know the name Matthew Barbu?
Wit: Yes, he was an NPFL man, trained as a vanguard.
Pros: What was his nationality?
Wit: He was Liberian.
Pros: Do you know Base Marine?
Wit: He was a vanguard I trained at Camp Nama.
Pros: How old was Base Marine then?
Wit: About ten years old.
Pros: In 1998 when you were in Kono, do you know where Base Marine was?
Wit: The two of us were in Suafe (sp?)
Pros: Do you know the name M.J. Wallace?
Wit: Wallace was an STF.
Pros: Where was he when you were in Kono in 1998?
Wit: Mr. Wallace was also in Kono.
Pros: What did people call you at that time?
Wit: They used to call me Col. Isaac.
Pros: (Shows witness a document.) This document has a list of names. The first is Dennis Mingo. Do you recognize that name?
Wit: That’s Superman. He was the commander when we were in Koidu.
Pros: Who was the commander and who was the deputy in Kono in 1998?
Wit: Superman was the commander and I was next to him.
Pros: (points to another page of the document) Do you recognize the words “Banya Ground”?
Wit: Yes, that was where that man was a commander. That was his area – Col. Banya’s.
Pros: Earlier you spoke of Superman Ground. What is that?
Wit: It’s where Superman was based at Guinea Highway.
Pros: Who was Col. Banya?
Wit: He too was an SLA loyal to Johnny Paul Koroma.
Pros: Lt. Gbari and Lt. Kellie are listed here. Do you recognize those names?
Wit: Yes. They were SLAs.
Defense intervenes to note that there are two Gbaris and Kellies.
Pros: Do the words on this document “G5” mean anything to you?
Wit: Yes, G5 is one of the units in the RUF which controlled the civilians.
Pros: Do you recall the names of any G5s in Kono in 1998?
Wit: Their overall commander was Prince Taylor, one of the vanguards. My focus was at the frontline, so I’m not so familiar with the G5s.
Pros: As a frontline commander did you ever coordinate with the G5s to do anything for you?
Wit: Yes. When we were in the bush, I would ask them to send civilians to erect my hut or come work for me.
Pros: How were those civilians compensated?
Wit: There was no compensation. They were civilians and they had no choice. They were under the control of the gunmen.
Pros: (shows another page of the document) At the top of the document it says “civilian women and officers in charge” and then there’s a list. It appears to be Tenneh Tua, then Major Sam, MP Commander; the next line states Agnes Francis, next to Sgt. Amaro. Why would there be a list like this?
Wit: Those civilians were with most of the commanders. The commanders can go to the G5 to get civilians to work for them, to stay with them. The G5 would make records.
Pros: What would be the relationship be between these women and the officers in charge?
Defense objects: It’s not clear that the witness knows this list or the women listed on it. Pros. responds that the witness was the #2 commander of the RUF in this district and would be familiar with how it operated there.
Judge Doherty: It has not been established that he is familiar with the document.
Pros: I can ask about his knowledge of facts, unrelated to the document. (To witness): How were civilian women treated in Kono District in 1998?
Wit: Some gunmen took the civilian women to be their wives; some gunmen took women to work for them. Those captured had no choice and were under the sole control of the gunmen.
Pros: What do you mean “take as a wife”.
Wit: They would sleep with them, have sex with them.
Pros: Where were these women?
Wit: At the P.C. Ground.
Pros: Where was that?
Wit: At the same Guinea Highway, behind Superman Ground. It’s where there was a Major Konowa.
Pros: When you say that “gunmen” took the wives, who were the gunmen?
Wit: We, the RUF, SLA and STF – we were the ones who took these women and turned them into our wives.
Pros: Including yourself?
Wit: Yes. I took a woman.
Pros: When you mention “P.C. Ground” was that name given to the area, or did it exist before the war?
Wit: It’s the name we gave to it.
Pros: Besides P.C. Ground, were there other areas in Kono District where women were held as you described.
Wit: That area had no fighting, so we kept our families there. We encamped the civilians we captured in the bush at PC Ground.
Pros: Were women kept as wives at Superman Ground?
Wit: A man stationed there would bring a woman to stay with him there.
Pros: Were women camped there?
Wit: Yes, women were kept there if men were there.
Pros: How did soldiers choose wives?
Wit: When you go on a task, the civilians captured there were taken as wives.
Pros: Was there hierarchy in choosing? What if a Lt. and a Col. wanted the same woman?
Wit: The junior man would have to give it up to your senior. If the superior wanted a particular woman, the junior man would not insist.
Pros: The spoke about Operation Spare No Soul and said it wasn’t successful. Did the command change after that?
Wit: Yes, after Operation Spare No Soul, the command in Kono changed.
Wit: Superman left and went to Krunbola, Koinadugu District where Saj Musa and others went.
Pros: Who became the commander in Kono when Superman left.
Wit: I was in charge, but then something happened and the command changed again.
Pros: How long were you in charge?
Wit: I did not stay long in command because a problem ensued.
Pros: When Superman went to Koinadugu District – do you consider Koinadugu the north?
Wit: Yes, that’s where it is.
Pros: What happened there?
Wit: His bodyguards and Saj Musa’s bodyguards had a problem and there was shooting between them. The two men were separated. Mosquito told Superman to leave. They sent Rocky CO and Senegalese to kill Superman. But Rocky CO joined Superman, and Mosquito became angry and wanted to send troops. The operator called me and I went to advise Mosquito. I told him that this quarrel was not good. It’s not good for us to be fighting against each other. Bockarie told me that we couldn’t talk over the radio, so I went to Beudu to talk. When I left Kono for Beudu, Morris Kallon was put in charge.
Pros: When you said they sent Rocky CO and Senegalese to kill Superman, who sent them?
Wit: Mosquito sent me. On the way, Rocky CO called me and told me he couldn’t kill Superman.
Pros: You said Superman and Rocky were arguing over the communication. What do you mean?
Wit: They were insulting each other. Superman said he would not take orders from the man, that in fact he was superior to him.
Pros: How were they communicating.
Wit: Superman was in Koinadugu and Mosquito was in Beudu, and he had a radio set there.
Pros: So you’re talking about radio communications?
Pros: In 1998, how many radios were available to the RUF/AFRC?
Wit: If I gave you a specific number, I’d be lying. But we had many radios. At some sites there were 2, other places 3-4. We had many radios.
Pros: What was the job of the operator on the radio sets?
Wit: They received messages. Adjutants to the commander would write down the message. The operators would look at the message and encode it before sending it. They were constantly on the radios.
Pros: Were the radios always on?
Wit: They were on through the entire day. People monitored at night too, to know the plans of the enemy. We had daytime and nighttime operators.
Pros: Did the AFRC and RUF use the same or different channels to communicate?
Wit: We all used the same channel. It wasn’t just a single frequency, but the operators would go to a frequency arranged with the other operators to receive a specific message.
Pros: Where was the headquarters of the People’s Army in 1998.
Wit: Beudu was the headquarters.
Pros: Could you monitor communications between Beudu and commanders in other locations?
Wit: Yes, my operator monitored them. The people in Liberia were also monitored.
Pros: Did you yourself listen to these communications?
Wit: Yes. I heard Superman and Sam Bockarie arguing. I used to monitor them sometimes.
Pros: Why did you monitor these other communications?
Wit: We had Alpha jets in the air bothering us. We listened for signals to be alert for attacks.
Pros: What was the signal used for the alert?
Wit: For the Alpha jet, we had a code name “4-4-8”. All stations would be alerted.
Pros: When you hear 4-4-8 as a field commander, what does that mean to you?
Wit: It meant that the Alpha jet was in the air. They wouldn’t say it was coming to a specific area, but the jets targeted AFRC/RUF at the frontlines. It would tell everyone to be alert.
Pros: Did the alerts help you?
Wit: It helped us a lot.
Pros: Can you explain why?
Wit: It is good to know about it at the front line, to be able to take cover in order to avoid a lot of casualties.
Pros: Were the Alpha jets a threat to the AFRC/RUF forces?
Pros: Would the Alpha jets make a difference to your operations?
Wit: Yes, it would not allow us to advance the way we wanted to advance.
Pros: Where were the monitoring teams?
Wit: The monitoring teams were in Beudu. Most operators there were SLAs. Their way of monitoring was different from RUF communications. The Nigerians were not communicating with voice procedures, but had a key that made a sound. The SLAs had been trained with the Nigerians using those same keys. So they would decode the messages, then alert us, for example if ground troops were moving.
Pros: For the record, the witness gave a series of long and short, what sounded like electronic tones. (To witness): Where were other monitoring teams.
Wit: Monitors in Liberia alerted us to Alpha jets coming from Liberia – Memuna, Tola, Ebony.
Pros: Did the alerts about ground troops moving have value to you as a frontline commander?
Wit: Yes, it had value to us. It put us on alert and we knew how to move so that we’d not just sit by and be taken unawares. When we were alerted, we knew how to take a position for it.
Pros: I’m not asking about the Alpha jets. You also mentioned movements of ground troops.
Wit: If we knew ECOMOG ground troops were moving, then we could prepare to meet them in battle.
Pros: Going back, you said that you intervened with Bockarie after his fight with Superman. What happened then?
Wit: Bockarie said I should come to Beudu so that we could talk.
Pros: Before you left for Beudu, did you receive any other information?
Wit: Yes, I heard that the man had become angry with my advice, because he took it that I was siding with Superman. I would be killed when I came. Someone warned me.
Pros: When you say “the man, who became angry”, who is that?
Pros: Mosquito means Sam Bockarie?
Pros: Who was planning to kill you?
Wit: Sam Bockarie.
Pros: What did you do?
Wit: I took my bodyguards and arms and decided to go to Beudu.
Pros: If you believed he wanted to kill you, why did you obey the order and go to Beudu?
Wit: I never wanted anything that would spark up and spread to other people. If I refused to go, he would order other people to come for me. This was not going to stop – if that had happened there would have been infighting. If I went there and he wanted to do that, we were both going to die together.
Pros: What happened after you prepared to go to Beudu with your bodyguards?
Wit: I went with mining people from Kono, who had diamonds. Mr. Kennedy came with me to go see Mosquito in Beudu.
Pros: What happened in Beudu?
Wit: When we got to town, his bodyguards in front, under the tree. They said my men should disarm. I said no, I’m also an authority. While we were talking, Mosquito heard me. He told his me to let my armed men enter. They went in together with his bodyguards. I went in. We shook hands. Bockarie and I smoked and drank together. We started discussing.
Pros: Tell us about your discussion.
Wit: The reason he called me was because of the advice I’d given about the Superman issue. He said I was waiting for someone like you to come here because we have a problem on the ground. He said it’s about this ammunition business. He said we were almost out of ammunition. We need more, and luckily you are here. He said when the other commanders come, we’ll all discuss it. I went to bed and slept. The next morning all of the commanders discussed that we should request ammunition from Mr. Taylor and that we should write a letter to give to brother Jungle to take with him. Pa Rogers was there. We wrote a letter.
Pros: Let’s review this more slowly. When you talked about the advice you gave Mosquito about Superman, what was that advice?
Wit: I told him to forget about it, to forget about Superman. We shouldn’t have infighting and we should focus on the enemy. He listened to me and he agreed.
Pros: You said that there was a meeting of commanders the next day. Where was that?
Wit: We held the meeting in Beudu.
Pros: Who was present?
Wit: I was there. Mosquito, Jungle, an SLA called Sam Bebe, and other commanders based in Beudu. Pa Rogers was there.
Pros: Who is Pa Rogers?
Wit: He was the RUF Secretary General.
Pros: What was discussed at this meeting of the commanders?
Wit: We were talking about ammunition because we had run out. We didn’t have enough to continue our offensive or even defend our areas. So we decided to all write a letter to give to brother Jungle to take to Mr. Taylor. We all agreed. We told the adjutant, Rashid Sandy, to write the letter. He wrote it and he read it out to everyone. We put it in an envelope and gave it to Jungle. Three days later Bockarie called us and told us he had received a message from Taylor that he should go to Monrovia. He said because he was going to Monrovia, Issa would come to Beudu, and I should go to Pendembu where Issa had been. Bockarie went to Monrovia with others, including Pa Rogers, Eddie Kanneh Wohmandia, [and names others].
Pros: Do you know when this meeting was where you drafted this letter?
Wit: It was out of the town of Beudu towards Liberia.
Judge Sebutinde: the question was “when”.
Pros: Do you recall when the meeting was?
Wit: It was in early November or something like that. It was during the dry season.
Pros: What year was it?
Pros: You indicated that Bockarie left and he asked you to take a new assignment. Did you take that assignment?
Wit: Yes. I went to Pendembu.
Pros: Did Issa Sesay replace Bockarie in Beudu while he was gone?
Wit: Yes, he did.
Pros: You said that the letter was given to Col. Jungle, who was based in Beudu. What do you mean by that?
Wit: He had his own place in Beudu. He would go to Liberia and come back. He and Mosquito were the same tribe.
Pros: What tribe?
Pros: What language would they speak when they spoke with each other?
Wit: They spoke Liberian English and Kissi.
Pros: What was Jungle’s job?
Wit: He was a liaison officer. He used to carry messages and bring ammunition back.
Pros: You said he was a liaison. Between whom?
Wit: Between the RUF and NPFL.
Pros: Did Col. Jungle belong to any unit at that time in 1998?
Wit: He was part of the Executive Mansion guards. They had changed the name.
Pros: Do you know what the new name of the Executive Mansion guards?
Wit: They said it was the SS Unit.
Pros: Did you ever speak to Jungle yourself?
Wit: Yes, I spoke with him in Beudu.
Pros: Do you know whom he reported to in the Liberian structure?
Wit: Jungle was going to Mr. Taylor because it was him to whom we were sending a message.
Pros: How do you know he was going to Mr. Taylor?
Wit: He told me that himself.
Pros: When you say “Executive Mansion Guard”, in which country, for which person?
Wit: In Liberia, for Mr. Taylor.
Pros: How many days were you in Beudu when you went there and the letter was drafted?
Wit: I was there for three days.
Pros: Did you go outside Beudu at any time?
Wit: I went to Kangama, where Johnny Paul was.
Pros: Why did you go there?
Wit: That’s my village. I was born there.
Pros: Did you see JPK when you went there?
Wit: Yes, I met him. He was in sawbush. Because of the Alpha jets, people went to hide in the morning. When I went to the town, they told me JPK was there. It’s a kind of hide-out in the bush, not in the town. Sawbush is not a specific place with that name.
Court has adjourned for the lunch break. Proceedings will resume at 2:30. With the delay in the video and audio feed, our summary will continue at 3:00.