10:45 Prosecution witness was an AFRC combat commander in Freetown during the January 1999 invasion

9:30 (10:00 with the delay in video and audio from the courtroom): Court is in session.

Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra continues to examine prosecution witness Alimamy Bobson Sesay:

Pros: Proceed from where you left off yesterday, when you said you were an Orderly Corporal at State House in Freetown after the 1997 coup.

Wit: I continued to remain an Orderly Corporal for about a month, after which I was assigned to Honorable Hassan Papa Bangura as Military Transport Officer: I was in charge of the vehicles and drove the Honorable. I was also a security to him.

Pros: The time you started to work with him, what was his position?

Wit: He was a member of the AFRC Council, a corporal in the army, and they were the ones who overthrew the SLPP government of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. He was one of the 17 council members who overthrew the government.

Pros: I’m going to briefly take you through your ranks from 1997. At the time of the coup, what was your rank?

Wit: I was a corporal in the army.

Pros: For how long did you hold this rank?

Wit: Until late September 1997 or so, when I was promoted to Sergeant. After the intervention in Freetown, I was promoted to RSM, Regimental Sergeant Major. It was an approval from Hassan Papa Bangura. When we went into the jungle at Colonel Eddie Town, Gullit promoted me again to Second Leftenant.

Pros: Did Gullit have another name?

Wit: Yes. Tamba Alex Brima.

Pros: At this time when you were promoted by Gullit, what was his position?

Wit: He was the head of the brigade administration at Colonel Eddie Town.

Pros: Was there a change in rank after this?

Wit: Yes, after the arrival of Saj Musa, the troop, including me, left to Manga Bureh in Port Loko district. I was reprimanded and demoted to Sergeant again by Saj Musa.

Pros: Who was Saj Musa?

Wit: Acting Vice Chairman of the AFRC Council.

Pros: Was there a change in rank after this?

Wit: Yes, after the capture of Masiaka, Saj recommended for us to act as Captain.

Pros: What was the reason?

Wit: The bravery I showed at Masiaka, where I captured the SPG [___ grenade] from the Guineans.

Pros: Another change in rank?

Wit: After Saj Musa’s death at Benguema, Gullit said I should be a Leftenant. It was in December 1998. I cannot recall the exact date, but it was very close to Christmas.

Pros: A change in rank after this?

Wit: Just before entering Freetown Jan 6, Gullit recommended that all Leftenants would be promoted to Captain if we captured Freetown. I was promoted on Jan 6, 1999.

Pros: A change in rank after this?

Wit: After the retreat from Freetown, we retreated to Magbeni together with Bazzy Kamara. He promoted me to Major and assigned me as ADC to Hassan Papa Bangura.

Pros: For how long did you hold this rank?

Wit: I held this position until we were arrested on June 6, 2000.

Pros: Who was Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara?

Wit: A member of the AFRC Council. He was the PLO 3.

Pros: You told us you were Military Transport Officer for Hassan Papa Bangura. How long did you hold this assignment?

Wit: Until we left Kono in June-July 1998.

Pros; When did you go to Kono.

Wit: After the February 1998 intervention in Freetown.

Pros: Did you have other assignments in Kono during this time?

Wit: After I received those promotions, it was called Field Commission Officer – I was always on the field, engaged in battles.

Pros: After July 1998, where did you move to?

Wit: I left with the troops to Mansofinia.

Pros: Where is that?

Wit: In the Koinadugu district.

Pros: What were your assignments?

Wit: I was with Hassan Papa Bangura as his personal security. I was also engaged at the battlefront.

Pros: What do you mean by that?

Wit: Whenever the brigade was to prepare for any attack, I was appointed as one of the commanders for the attacks.

Pros: How long did you remain in Mansofinia?

Wit: About three days.

Pros: Did your assignment change after this at some point?

Wit: Yes. After Gullit promoted me at Col. Eddie Town, I was sent to the 4th Battalion as an Intelligence Officer. Mostly, in case there were any enemy threats, I would inform the battalion. I would go on reconnaissance missions.

Pros; Did you have other duties?

Wit: Yes. I was also a battlefront commander and a combatant officer.

Pros: Did your assignment change at some point after this?

Wit: Later I was sent to the 5th battalion, still as a combatant officer. I was with the 5th battalion until I entered together with the troop into Freetown on Jan 6, 1999.

Pros: Did your assignment change then?

Wit: I was assigned again to Hassan Papa Bangura as a personal bodyguard.

Pros: What was your assignment in Freetown?

Wit: I was a battlefront commander, I was a combatant officer in most of the battles in Freetown.

Pros: Did your assignment change at some point?

Wit: After the withdrawal from Freetown, I was assigned again to Hassan Papa Bangura as a personal security – just as the troop was retreating from Freetown, around the third week of January.

Pros: How long did you have this assignment?

Wit: Until I was appointed ADC to Hassan Papa Bangura [through a number of events] until June 6, 2000. We were arrested together.

Pros: What is ADC?

Wit: Aide de camp.

Pros: Where were you made ADC?

Wit: At Magbeni.

Pros: At this time you served as ADC, did your group have a name?

Wit: Yes. They referred to us as the “West Side”.

Pros: Did Bazzy have a position with the “West Side”?

Wit: Yes, he was the CIC, the Chief in Command. Hassan Papa Bangura was the second in command and director of operations.

Pros: Do you remember when the coup took place in Freetown?

Wit: Yes, May 25, 1997.

Pros: Where were you?

Wit: At my house in Wellington, when I heard a broadcast over the radio from a Corporal Gborie. He said the other ranks, sometimes they called us NCOs, had overthrown the SLPP government led by President Kabbah. He called on all military personnel to report to their locations. Gborie said he was one of the men who led the coup.

Pros: After this announcement, did you hear any further announcements?

Wit: Yes. Captain Paul Thomas also went over the air and declared that the military had taken over and declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and that all officers should report immediately to various barracks and battalions. Capt. Paul Thomas said he was the military spokesman for the military government.

Pros: Did you hear any further announcements?

Wit: Yes. There was another announcement on the BBC. Foday Sankoh called on the commanders and members of the RUF to go to Freetown and take orders from Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma. He said they had become the People’s Army.

Pros; Did you know where Sankoh was?

Wit: Yes. At that time, the government of Sierra Leone went over the air and announced they had arrested Sankoh in Nigeria under Sani Abacha.

Pros: When was this announcement made by Kabbah?

Wit: It was just after they had gone for the Abidjan Peace Accord, in early 1997.

Pros: After this announcement from Sankoh, did you hear any further announcements?

Wit: Yes, Leftenant Eldred Collins went on the air and said he was spokesman for the RUF, and that the RUF had come to Freetown to join the AFRC and take instructions from Johnny Paul Koroma.

Pros: After this announcement by Collins, did you hear any further announcement?

Wit: Yes. Johnny Paul Koroma also went on the air and announced the members of his Council and announced some other appointments.

Pros: Did Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma have a position at that time?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: How did you know about it?

Wit: According to his announcement, he said he was commander in chief of the armed forces of Sierra Leone and the AFRC Chairman.

Pros: What did you do then?

Wit: I went to State House on my way to Cockerill Barracks. I heard heavy fighting near State House and we captured it.

Pros: What were the other appointments that Koroma announced?

Wit: He named himself as the chairman. His vice chairman was Foday Sankoh, but in his absence, Saj Musa would act in his place. Abu Sankoh was PLO 1. PLO 2 was Gullit. PLO 3 was Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara (aka “Machiavelli” or “Dark Angel”). He also named other members in his Council: The Secretary General was AK Sesay. Other members were: Corporal Gborie, Hassan Papa Bangura, Foday Kalleh, Samuel Kargbo, Corporal Adams, Franklin Conteh, Moses Kabbiah (Rambo), Corporal Suleiman, Corporal Hector B___, Abdul Sesay, and Corporal Momoh Bangura, and Santigie Borbor Kanu. He named some other people. The new chief of the defense staff was Col. SFY Koroma. The chief of army staff for ECOWAS was named. Commander Gilbert was head of the Navy Wing.

10:15 (10:45 with the delay in video and audio): Judge Doherty says that court must now adjourn so that the judges can attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Special Court’s International Criminal Court’s new Registrar. The proceedings will continue at 11:30, and there will not be the normal 11:30-12:00 mid-morning break. With the delay in video and audio, this account will resume at 12:00.