Mongor testifies concerning training of RUF at Taylor’s direction, relationship between RUF and NPFL

Prosecutor Nick Koumjian resumes his direct examination of the witness, Isaac Mongor.  The witness is wearing a dark blue suit, light blue shirt with tie.  The following is a rough summary of the testimony and not a complete transcript:

Pros: After your assignment training at Camp Nama(sp?), what was next assignment?

W: My next assignment was to move the men to the place we trained for (for the Sierra Leone mission) to Voinjama.  I went there with those men who I had trained and Foday Sankoh.  And we had other people who had come from Banga, who came with some trucks.  We came to Banga, that is where we met Mr. Taylor, at Voinjama.  The people who came with trucks were soldiers belonging to the NPFL.

Pros: Describe meeting with Taylor in Voinjama?

W: yes, when we got to Voinjama, we got there at night.  Taylor was on the executive ground.  Then I brought my men, put them on parade, and later Foday Sankoh and Taylor were in the house with other special forces and invited me and I went inside.  When Taylor saw me, he thanked me for the job I had done but it did not just stop there.  We still had some other mission that we were to accomplish.  So he said to go to Sierra Leone to fight and we should make sure the mission is accomplished, we should keep the ball rolling.

Pros: When did these events take place?

W: We came to Voinjama in March 1991.  We had 2 groups.  One was to go to Bomaru and one was to go to Koidu.  The Bomaru people had left before he got there. 

Pros: Your group was assigned to go to Koindu?

W: Yes.

Pros: Who are the men you brought to the parade?

W: The ones I trained. 

Pros: Were they armed?

W: At that particular time, we weren’t armed. 

Pros: After the meeting at the parade you were called into the house.  Whose house?

W: It was ….General Dopoe (called General Pepper). 

Pros: Who was present in house?

W: Genera. Dopoe (2nd Batallion commander) Frances Murwan (special forces), Foday Sankoh, and some other generals (Ibrahim and Namin (sp.?).  Ibrahim Bah was one of the special forces, part of the NPFL. 

Pros: What did Taylor say at this meeting?

W: He thanked me a lot for training those men but that was not going to be the end of the mission, coming to fight in Sierra Leone was next.  And that I should be strong and courageous and should keep the ball rolling.

Pros: Anyone indicate what goal of mission was?

W: Was to come and fight in Sierra Leone and to take over power.

Pros: Not armed at first.  Did troops eventually get arms and ammo? 

 W: Yes, later on. 

Pros: When?

W: I got it when we left Voinjima and moved to Foya.  The arms and ammo had been brought in a truck until they got to Foya, where they were armed. 

Pros: Trucks that came from Banga had arms and ammo given to troops?

W: Yes. 

Pros: After meeting, what happened.

W: Following day we moved to Foya and the men were armed.  After that, we came near Koindu.  Near Mindekoma (sp?) we along the Liberian border so they could move in. After organized selves, they moved to Sierra Leones customs and started to fight.  They were fighting against the SLA (Sierra Leone Army soldiers). 

Pros: What happened in that fighting? 

W: When entered that place (Buedu), we captured from soldiers there and advanced to Koindu.  Fought there.  and captured the place from the soldiers.  When we captured Koindu, Foday Sankoh came there.

Pros: Had Sankoh crossed the border with troops?

W:No, he was in Liberia.  I saw him when he crossed the border.  He addressed the fighters and told us that the mission had started, so we should be strong and should be in readiness for next tartget.

Pros: contact with anyone outside your location?

W: Yes, told commander how fighting was going, where.  That was why Sankoh came was to confirm their location.

Pros: Means to communcate with Liberia/Taylor?

W: When the war started, the NPFL men were bringing reports to Taylor.  Mr. Pepper would bring the report about things going on on the ground. 

Pros: How did they communicate?

W: Well, after we captured Pendembu we got a radio.  Sankoh brought a radio man called ??, also called Mr. Nya (sp.?).  First radio “his brother” Taylor had given to him.

Pros: Any other forcews fighting with you?

W: Yes, NPFL, NPFL generals, other fighters. 

Pros: What was your position during this time? 

W: I was the commander who led the troops from Koindu where we were given information to advance. 

Pros: Where obtain ammunition when fighting?

W: Ammunition we brought not call given to us, it was kept at Foya.  Weapons included RPGs, AKs, GMG, and G3 (another rifle but is bigger than the AK).

Pros: Did Sankoh stay in SL with you?

W: Did not stay, he would visit SL and return to Banga.

Pros: Did you stay in SL after March 1991?

W: Yes.  I used to go back but at that time I would only go to fight in Liberia.  This was in 1993 when ULIMO occupied Voinjama.  Sankoh called me and said “his brother” (Taylor)  said they should send troops there.    I fought there and captured Voinjama from ULIMO.

Pros: Who were you reporting to?

W: I reported to — General Fayai (sp.?) in charge of Lofa end, reported to him.  

Pros: Who were troops fighting?  

W: RUF (Revolutionary United Front”) men.    They were people who got he trained from the SL mission.  

Pros: How long fighting? 

W: Some months and days and then left.

Pros: Rank at this time (Lieutenant before in Liberia, then promoted to Captain, and then was made Lt. Colonel and then Accting Group Commander in 1992. 

Pros: What is Battlegroup Commander?

W: In charge of fighters in diffejnt front lines.  Got reports from commanders at different front lines and would then report to those above him. This position was in the RUF and the NPFL.  Acting Battle Group commander reported to the Field Comander.

W: [Discusses talking with Taylor on the radio] I knew it was him because I knew his voice.  I requested ammunition.  He promised that he would send and some ammunition was sent for us.

Pros: Operation in Lofa country, when you left there did anyone replace you?

W: Yes, Maurice Kallon and Issa Sessay. 

Pros: Were they fighting against ULIMO in Lofa?

W: Yes, they too were fighting.   Tells story about Maurice Kallon escaping.  It took some time before he returned.

Pros: Sesay and Kallon fighting along with any other allies in Lofa?

W: I want to tell the Court that the “RUF was NPFL’s younger brother.”  NPFL with RUF could not occupy the position (Voinjama) from ULIMO.  

Pros: Where did NPFL forces go after that?

W: Some came to Sierra Leone who were with the RUF.  One of them who came was Colonel Jungle.

Pros: What year was this?

W: It was in the year 1993 that they came into Sierra Leone.  

[15 minute lapse]

Pros: During the time the border was closed, any communication going on with Liberia?

W: Yes, because had a communication set.  And the one that had been sent to us by Taylor, we had also captured other sets.  Sankoh used the radio.  He communicated with “his brother” who is called Mr. Taylor.

Pros: Recall elections in Sierra Leone?

W: Yes. I recall that there was an election in Sierra Leone, in 1996.  At that time, we were still in the bush. 

Pros: Did Sankoh ask about elections?  

W: Yes.

Pros: What was RUF political position towards election?

W: When got information that there was going to be an election, Sankoh was in the jungle in Zogada (sp?).  He called the commanders to tell us what the plans were that the government had with regarf to elections.  So Sankoh said it appeared to him as though the government never wanted to recognize us.  Because while the fighting was going on they did not call our attention to that.  So he said we are going to carry out some kind of offensive that will not allow the elections to uphold.  So we were called to Zogada.  I was there when his radio man came to call him and he said his brother Mr. Charles Taylor wanted to speak to him.  And then Sankoh and I went to the radio house.  So when we went there, we entered and then he sat down and started talking to his brother Mr. Taylor.  The talk lasted 20-25 minutes, during which Sankoh explained how we had been cut off and were not even getting supplies from Liberia any longer, and the plan to carry on with elections.  So he called on his commanders and wanted to instruct them to go on an offensive.  And that this offensive should make fearful, anyone we capture we “will have to amputate” that person.   And then his brother told him in his reply (Taylor) that the plan was not a bad one.  Two days after they spoke with each other, we went on the offensive.

The radio man was present and he was called Zedman (?).  Security didn’t enter the radio room, they took positions around the booth where the radio was located.  Then Sankoh entered the radio room and he say down.  Myself, I stood just in front of the radio room where he entered.  Let me tell you, it wasn’t as if the radio room had a room you could lock, it was something like a thatch hut.  Somebody who stood in front could hear and understand someone speaking on the radio.

Pros: Could you heard what Sankoh said?

W: Yes, and I also heard Mr. Taylor’s responses to him.

Pros: What was your position at that time?

W: I was a major.  I was one of the commanders in the northern jungle.  Superman was a commander in the western area.  Peter Vandi (sp?) was Kailun area district commander as well.

Pros: Who was above area commanders in RUF structure?

W: The man who was field commander. 

Pros: Was there a battlegroup commander at that time?

W: Yes, that was Sam Bockerie. 

Pros: Correct to say that you were among the top half dozen or so commanders of the RUF?

W: Please repeat that one.

Pros.  repeats.

W: Yes, I was one of them myself.

Pros: In command of northern jungle, what areas of SL?

W: I was in the ___ district. 

Pros: Was the RUF participating in the elections in 1996?

W: We didn’t take part, that was why we went on the offensive because the government did not recognize us.

Pros: Did Sankoh talk about what Taylor told him with anyone else after that?

W: Sankoh didn’t hide things from us.  Told us that the plan for which I’ve called for us to carry on, my brother called me and I’ve explained everything to him,  and in response Taylor told me that the plan was not a bad plan at all.

Pros: Sankoh talked about cutting hands?

W: Yes.  Said anybody whom we captured we should amputate that person and tell that person he should take his hands off the election .  So the people who were going to vote are who they should do that to.