Court is back in session following the lunch break.
Prosecutor Nick Koumjian continues the direct examination of Isaac Mongor:
Pros: When we stopped you described the location where Johnny Paul Koroma was in a “jo bush”. Is that a Krio word?
Wit: It’s a Krio word.
Pros: When you speak Krio, do people in Sierra Leone hear an accent?
Wit: Yes, they will say that I am from Liberia. I grew up in Liberia.
Pros: When you saw JPK win Kangama, did he have any means of communications with him?
Wit: He had a communications set with him there, and operators were with him.
Pros: Did JPK indicate, or do you know if he was in contact with others?
Wit: He told me that he was in contact with Mr. Taylor.
Pros: You said Bockarie sent you to Pendembu. How long were you there?
Wit: I was there for three weeks, when Mosquito came back.
Pros: How did you find out it was back?
Wit: They made it possible for us to know through communication. The message I received was that he had come and commanders were to report to Beudu.
Pros: Did you go to Beudu?
Wit: Yes, they sent a vehicle and I went to Beudu.
Pros: How long after you learned he returned did you go to Beudu?
Wit: I found out that he returned in the evening, and left the next morning.
Pros: When was this?
Wit: It was in that same November 1998.
Pros: Where did you go when you got to Beudu?
Wit: I arrived in the evening. We didn’t travel during the day because of the Alpha jets. I went to Sam Bockarie’s house. We went into his room. He briefed me about his return and what he brought. He said he brought ammunition, phones, medicines.
Pros: What did you observe about Bockarie’s mood at that time?
Wit: I saw that he was happy. He was telling me how they did things. He told me the result of the invitation from the Pa. He said they went to Burkina Faso. He showed me pictures of the hotel and restaurants there. He opened the door from his room into a shop, where the ammunition was stored. When I saw the ammunition, I was happy, because there were many.
Pros: You mention a shop-like place off of his room. Do you know what the house was used for before it became Bockarie’s house?
Wit: It is where we kept the ammunition. The house had a shop before Mosquito moved there.
Pros: Had you been in the shop area before?
Pros: What did you see when you went into the shop this time?
Wit: There were ammunition boxes from the floor to the ceiling.
Pros: How high was the ceiling?
Wit: It’s as high as that speaker over there.
Pros: It appears that the speaker is about 3 meters high. (Defense agrees with the estimate.) (To witness): Did Bockarie say how many boxes were there?
Wit: He said over 100. They were mixed. There were AK rounds, RPGs, different kinds.
Pros: Had you ever seen this much ammunition before in Sierra Leone?
Wit: I had not seen any ammunition up to that quantity before.
Pros: Do you know what kind of medicine he brought back?
Wit: He brought injections, medicines, tablets.
Pros: What were the injections for?
Wit: For when somebody gets injured at the front lines.
Pros: Can you explain what you mean when you say Bockarie brought back a phone?
Wit: I said “food”.
Pros: Where did Bockarie indicate he had been on this trip?
Wit: He went to Liberia because that was where he had received a call to go. When he went to Liberia, what he told me, he said Mr. Taylor had made another connection for him. He connected him to the Burkina Faso president. So he went to see the Burkina Faso president with Mr. Rogers.
Pros: You said Bockarie was going to get ammunition. Was he planning on exchanging anything for that ammunition?
Wit: Yes, when I’d come, I brought people from the mining group. When he came back, Bockarie said he’d left the diamonds with Mr. Taylor.
Pros: Who did Bockarie say he went with to Burkina Faso?
Wit: S.Y.B. Rogers.
Pros: The photos taken, did he say where they were taken?
Wit: He said they were the hotel, restaurant and a swimming pool.
Pros: Did you see the photos?
Pros: Did you recognize anyone in those photos?
Wit: I saw Bockarie and S.Y.B. Rogers.
Pros: Did Bockarie indicate what the result was of his time in Burkina Faso?
Wit: He said he’d spoken with the Burkina Faso president and had arranged for us to buy ammunition from there.
Pros: Did Bockarie indicate where the ammunition came from that you saw in the store room?
Wit: He told me he’d brought them from Liberia and that it was Mr. Taylor who had given them to him.
Pros: After your conversation with Bockarie where he showed you the ammunition, what happened in Beudu?
Wit: He told me that he and Mr. Taylor sat together and planned to come and run an operation. He said Taylor took out a map and showed the locations where the RUF and SLA occupied. He showed a plan where we would capture Kono, Makeni, and advance to Freetown. We were also attack Joru (sp?). We were to attack Kenema too. He discussed with Taylor that Superman and I – one of us should attack Joru. Superman was in Koindugu. So they discussed that I should attack Joru, then advance to Zimmi. I was to receive some additional reinforcements from the NPFL at Zimmi.
Pros: Do you know why you or Superman would have been chosen for that assignment?
Wit: Yes, the two of us used to be NPFL fighters and we were familiar with the NPFL brothers.
Pros: Did Bockarie indicate what the ultimate purpose of this attack would be?
Wit: At that time, Foday Sankoh had been moved from Nigeria and was in jail in Freetown. We were to free Sankoh and the others jailed and seize power.
Pros: Did Bockarie indicate to you whether he’d discussed with Taylor how the attack should be carried out?
Wit: Yes, they discussed it. In the operation we should ensure that the ammunition is not wasted. We should make the operation more fearful than all our other operations so that we could save ammunition.
Pros: So, Bockarie said he had discussed this with Taylor?
Pros: What happened in Beudu next?
Wit: The commanders came the next morning and we had a meeting. He explained everything I have explained here and showed them the ammunition. He explained the mission. S.Y.B. Rogers stood and thanked Sam Bockarie. He told us that if Bockarie had been the rebel leader when the war started, then it would have ended quickly. Sankoh had never brought that quantity of ammunition.
Pros: Who was present at this meeting of commanders?
Wit: I was there. Mike Lamin, Leatherboot, Akim Tureh, Eddie Kanneh and other commanders were also present.
Pros: What faction did Akim Tureh belong to?
Wit: He was an SLA, a soldier in the Sierra Leone Army?
Wit: Also an SLA.
Pros: What faction did Eddie Kanneh belong to?
Wit: Also an SLA.
Pros: Were other RUF present besides Mike Lamin and yourself?
Wit: Monkey Brown, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, Augustine Gbao.
Pros: You said you were to go to Zimmi and receive NPFL forces. What do you mean by NPFL at this time?
Wit: NPFL fighters were Charles Taylor’s men, from Liberia. They were to join us.
Pros: Was Superman at the meeting?
Wit: No, Superman was in Koinadugu District. He couldn’t have come because ECOMOG had occupied Koidu Town.
Pros: What forces occupied what locations in Kono at this time?
Wit: ECOMOG, Kamajors, and SLAs loyal to Tejan-Kabbah were there. They were in Koidu Town and some other areas. We had men around them.
Pros: At this meeting in Beudu, was Saj Musa present?
Wit: No, Saj Musa was in Koinadugu.
Pros: Was there discussion of the forces in the north taking part in the plans?
Wit: Yes, we discussed them and we all agreed that Mosquito should send a radio message to them that we should all join hands. We thought Mosquito would not be best to talk to them, that Johnny Paul should talk to Saj Musa. JPK was able to talk to Saj Musa and others.
Pros: How do you know about the communication between JPK and Saj Musa?
Wit: We talked about it at the meeting, that JPK would be the best person. My radio man later told me that the message went.
Pros: Do you know if Saj Musa gave any response?
Wit: Saj Musa accepted to run the operation.
Pros: Were there any RUF with Saj Musa at that time?
Wit: Yes, we had some RUF men who retreated from Makeni to that place.
Pros: Do you remember any of their names?
Wit: Alfred Brown – a radio operator, King Perry, and others.
Pros: Did you know Alfred Brown?
Pros: Did you have communications with him at this time?
Wit: I communicated with him when the offensive started.
Pros: What did you do after that meeting where the plan for the offensive was made?
Wit: Everyone agreed to run the operation. People had various targets and received ammunition. The only people who didn’t receive supplies were those in the northern district because there was no way for us to transport ammunition there. ECOMOG, Kamajors and SLA loyalists of Kabbah were in Koidu Town.
Pros: Did you receive ammunition after the meeting?
Wit: Yes, I received AK rounds, RPGs and GMGs.
Pros: How many boxes of AK rounds?
Wit: I received 15 boxes of AK rounds. I was to leave five boxes at a place called Mobai (sp?). The ten were to stay with me.
Pros: Who did you leave the five boxes with in Mobai?
Wit: The commander there, Vandie (sp?)
Pros: You had ten boxes like those you described earlier, with the two tins?
Pros: In addition, you had other ammunition?
Wit: Yes, I had six boxes of RPGs, with three RPGs in each. I had five boxes of GMG rounds.
Pros: Where did these boxes come from?
Wit: They had all come from Liberia.
Pros: Do you know if after the commanders’ meeting, any ammunition was given to the AFRC?
Wit: Yes, like Akim Tureh. Everyone was supplied.
Pros: When you left for your target, did you have any means of communication with you?
Wit: Yes, a communications set.
Pros: What happened when you left for your mission?
Wit: I went in a vehicle. It stopped at Jojuima I had people carry ammunition toward Joru. I attacked Joru and was able to capture it. I was there for three days. When I attacked and had captured it, I was to wait for resupply before attacking Zimmi. That’s when ECOMOG dislodged me.
Pros: Did you hear of attacks in other parts of the country?
Wit: Yes, I heard they had captured Koidu, Rambo was advancing towards Makeni. Superman had left the northern area and was fighting with Rambo toward Makeni. Saj Musa and Alfred Brown moved towards Freetown and had arrived in Masiaka. I spoke with Alfred Brown who told me they were in Masiaka. he said they were heading to Waterloo.
Pros: You said Superman had left the northern area and was attacking Makeni. He hadn’t been at the commanders’ meeting. Was Rambo at the meeting?
Wit: He was near Koidu Town.
Pros: What faction did Rambo belong to?
Pros: (Shows a document to the witness and the court.) The document, from Issa Sesay, indicates it’s addressed to Sam Bockarie, “Chief of Defense Staff”. Do you recognize that title?
Pros: What is that title?
Wit: The Chief of Defense Staff was the man who was in charge of the whole movement. The senior-most man of all of us.
Pros: What was Issa Sesay’s title at that time?
Wit: He was the Battlefield Commander and he was a Brigadier.
Pros: In 1998 and 1999, do you know if Issa Sesay had an adjutant?
Wit: He did.
Pros: Who was he?
Wit: It was one Major… his name just escapes me a little. I know it, but it escapes me. I’ll tell you later as we go along.
Pros: You indicated that there were some forces attacking Makeni. Did the People’s Army forces take Makeni?
Wit: Yes, they took Makeni on the day before Christmas Day.
Pros: Can you tell us if commanders ever reported in writing to the Chief of Defense Staff?
Wit: Yes, you write once you’ve completed your mission. You would report everything you had captured.
Pros: What kind of information would you include?
Wit: You would write the ammunition and guns that you’d captured. You would include any radio set you had captured. You would report deaths and injuries.
Pros: (Refers the witness to the document) Can you read the document?
Wit: I can.
Pros: Do you know what this document is?
Wit: It shows a report that this man is making to the Chief of Defense Staff on the fighting he did in Koidu Town, including the materials he captured.
Pros: Does it indicate on the first page that his mission was to attack Koidu?
Wit: He says he left Defense headquarters on the 6th of December 1998, on the mission to attack Koidu, which was the second brigade axis. He said that listed below are the materials he captured.
Judge Doherty: He’s just reading this.
Pros: Have you seen similar documents to this before?
Wit: This is not strange to me. We wrote reports after every mission.
Pros: You talked about attacks in Kono. Do you know an area called Yengema?
Wit: Yes. Yengema is in Kono District, but it’s another area where they had an airfield.
Pros: You told us Makeni was captured the day before Christmas. What happened after that in this offensive.
Wit: The men were trying to search the town to make sure it had been cleared properly. Superman moved to Lunsar and captured it. Saj Musa and Alfred Brown went to Masiaka, and Alfred Brown told me that they were moving to Waterloo.
Pros: Did you receive any information about what happened at Masiaka?
Wit: The men captured Masiaka and they were resting there before moving to the next target.
Pros: Did anything happen while they were there?
Wit: They were just resting and waiting for Saj Musa to lead them to the next target. We heard that they did not get to Waterloo. Saj Musa died. We died that Gullit took over the command.
Pros: Did you know Gullit?
Wit: Gullit is Tamba Brima.
Pros: Do you know him?
Pros: Where did you first meet him?
Wit: At the time we joined the AFRC in Freetown.
Pros: What do you know about Gullit’s movements since that time?
Wit: Gullit was sent to Kono by JPK to manage the mining. Gullit was one of the honorables, who had staged the coup.
Pros: When Gullit was in Beudu, where was Sam Bockarie?
Wit: Bockarie was in Beudu.
Pros: Did you observe the relationship?
Wit: I wasn’t there, but Gullit told me they had a good relationship.
Pros: How long did Gullit stay in Beudu?
Wit: I can’t give a specific time. He had plans to go to Saj Musa, because Bockarie wanted Saj Musa to come to Beudu. Gullit told Bockarie “that man is my SLA brother, but I will go there to convince him to come”. He was there we did the advancement on Freetown.
Pros: What was your reaction when you heard that Saj Musa was killed?
Wit: I was happy.
Wit: Because there was a power struggle within the movement. Saj Musa and Bockarie both wanted to be the leaders. I didn’t have a good relationship with Saj Musa and he wasn’t working well with us. We were happy when we heard that Gullit took over because he had a good relationship with Bockarie.
Pros: What were the movements of Gullit’s forces after Saj Musa’s death?
Wit: Gullit and his men advanced on Freetown. But before they left he received a message that they should wait until receiving reinforcements. I was supposed to go too. I was to move to Kailahun, then Kono to receive reinforcements. Bockarie had wanted them to wait, but they advanced and entered Freetown. I heard that they had already entered, so I was unable to bring the men with me. Rambo and Superman went from Makeni to Waterloo to go to Freetown, but they met ECOMOG and fought ECOMOG. By that time the men in Freetown had pressure.
Pros: Let’s take this step-by-step from when Gullit replaced Saj Musa. Where did those forces go next.
Wit: Into Freetown.
Pros: By what path?
Wit: They used the bypasses, the hillside to enter Freetown.
Pros: You said there was a message to wait. Who sent this?
Wit: Bockarie sent a message to Gullit.
Pros: What should they wait for?
Wit: He said to wait for reinforcements.
Pros: You said that Saj Musa had selected you to move with your men to join him?
Wit: I didn’t say Saj Musa.
Pros: When the force got to Waterloo, and this message came for them to wait, where were you?
Wit: I was around Joru junction.
Pros: How do you know about Bockarie’s order to Gullit to wait.
Wit: I heard it over the radios.
Pros: Did you receive any orders at that time?
Wit: Bockarie ordered me to come to Kailahun, to move to Kono, to get some men to go to Makeni, then go to Waterloo to join Gullit and the others.
Pros: What were you to do when the reinforcements arrived?
Wit: We were to all attack Freetown together.
Pros: When you got the order, did you begin moving?
Wit: I started moving toward Kailahun, but didn’t get there. I stopped because we already heard that the brothers had entered Freetown. When Superman and Rambo got to Waterloo, they met enemies there. Gullit had already entered Freetown.
Pros: When did you receive the news that Gullit’s forces had entered Freetown?
Wit: It was January 6.
Pros: How did you hear it?
Wit: I told you I was supposed to join them. I didn’t make it. We heard it over the communication set, and the BBC also said it. We were happy and we were jubilating in all the areas we were.
Pros: When you said that the RUF rebels entered Freetown, what did you mean?
Wit: The RUF and AFRC were all considered rebels.
Pros: Did you continue to go towards Freetown after you heard the news?
Wit: I was still trying to make moves toward my own target, but I didn’t make it. I stayed in my own place and took a defensive position. I was always on the radio to know what was happening in Freetown.
Pros: Your own assignment was to attack Joru and Zimmi. What happened?
Wit: The enemies pushed me out of there, so I didn’t make it to the next target, Zimmi.
Pros: While you were listening to the radio about what was happening in Freetown, what did you hear about what was happening?
Wit: I heard that Gullit and others were communicating with Sam Bockarie. He said they had pressure. They went to Pademba Road to release Sankoh, but did not find him there. The released other RUF people like Gibril Massaquoi. There was fighting with ECOMOG and Gullit was calling Bockarie for reinforcements. Men on the Hastings side, Rambo’s group, were fighting to get in, but couldn’t get through. The pressure was too great in Freetown. Bockarie said if they couldn’t hold Freetown, then they should start destruction, burning the Nigerian embassy and other things. They didn’t make it to the embassy, but they burned houses and destroyed other things.
Pros: Did you recognize Gullit’s voice?
Wit: I know it very well.
Pros: Did you hear his requests for support yourself?
Wit: I heard it myself. It was not even encoded because they wanted the enemy to be afraid.
Pros: Did you hear Bockarie yourself give the order for burnings?
Pros: What did Gullit call Bockarie?
Pros: Earlier in your testimony, you talked about alerts “4-4-8”. Did you hear any of these during this time?
Wit: Yes, they were alerting the men in Freetown.
Pros: How often did you hear Gullit communicating with Bockarie?
Wit: They did it frequently. We were all focused on the capital city on that time. All the missions were focused there. So Mosquito was talking to Gullit frequently.
Pros: Who was sending the “4-4-8″s to the men in Freetown?
Wit: We had an operating team in Beudu. In Liberia they were also monitoring the 4-4-8.
Pros: Did you hear any communications from those released from Pademba Road Prison?
Wit: I heard Gibril Massaquoi say he had been freed and they were all fighting together. He communicated with Bockarie.
Pros: Based on your experience as a field commander, would the forces of Gullit have been able to enter Freetown without the other attacks going on around the country?
Defense objects: the witness is not qualified to judge military strategy; Pros: He was at one point the #2 person in the RUF, and monitored radio communications of the military situation at the time.
Judge Doherty: The majority opinion is that this objection will be upheld.
Pros: The forces that were facing Gullit in Freetown, were they all of ECOMOG’s forces?
Wit: They were mixed.
Pros: Was ECOMOG concentrating all of its forces against Gullit in Freetown?
Defense objects: He’s not an expert on ECOMOG.
Judge Doherty: Objection is overruled. It’s a factual question.
Pros: Did ECOMOG have all of its forces concentrated on stopping Gullit, or were they engaged in other areas of the country?
Wit: ECOMOG was also present in other parts of Sierra Leone. They were in Kenema, and in Joru, where I went to attack. They were in Kono, where Issa Sesay attacked. They were in Makeni. ECOMOG forces were in all of these areas and we engaged them. The men who were advancing toward Freetown were able to advance and enter easily. After they entered, ECOMOG now concentrated on the men who had entered Freetown.
Pros: You indicated that while Gullit’s forces were fighting in Freetown, there was another battle in the Hastings area, correct?
Wit: Yes, Rambo’s group was also fighting ECOMOG and Kamajors and Guinean troops there and at Jui.
Judge Doherty interrupts to excuse the witness for the day, but says the court will discuss an administrative matter before adjourning for the day. Testimony will resume at 9:30 in the morning.
Defense counsel Terry Munyard notifies the court that lead defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths will be returning to The Hague and available to cross-examine this witness tomorrow morning, once the direct examination is complete. Tomorrow morning the court will hear oral arguments from the prosecution and defense on whether the scope of that examination can be limited.