12:00 Alimamy Bobson Sesay describes attacks in December 1998, prior to Freetown invasion

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

Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra continues the direct examination of witness Alimamy Bobson Sesay:

Pros: Are you feeling better this morning?

Wit: I say thanks to God. It’s better.

Pros: I want to clarify a few matters. You were testifying about an attack in Karina (ph). For how long were the troops you were with in Karina for this attack?

Wit: We came there around 5:00 and were there until 7:00 or 8:00. It was about four hours – in the morning.

Pros: I asked who was leading the troops there, and you said “D Company took the lead and Tito too was leading, so the brigade stopped by and it was at the rear. They took some men from B and C company to take the lead.” Can you explain, who took the lead when the troops entered Karina?

Wit: Because of information we received that a military point was ahead, D Company, A Company, Tito and some battalions took the advance to Karina. We did move, myself together with Bazzy, and attacked Karina. Since there were no enemy positions in Karina, the brigade at the rear came and joined us in Karina.

Pros: Yesterday you were testifying about the women with the troops in Camp Rosos (ph). And you explained an incident about a woman put into a box. During the time that the troops were based there, how frequently did this happen?

Wit: This was something that was happening in the other battalions. They too had disciplinary action. Most times it did happen at Camp Rosos.

Judge Doherty: How often?

Wit: It happened not too often, but it did happen.

Pros: You testified yesterday that the same thing happened with disciplinary action for women, where they were put into boxes, in Colonel Eddie Town. How often did it happen there?

Wit: It used to happen. It was not too often. Complaints used to come and disciplinary action would be taken.

Pros: At Col. Eddie Town, do you recall what rank Foday Bamara was?

Wit: He was promoted to the rank of Major, but when 05 arrived, Gullit also promoted 05 and others to Leftenant Colonel. It was within a short period of time after the arrival of 05. Myself and some others were also promoted.

Pros: Yesterday when you were testifying about communications between Gullit, Saj Musa, and Superman, when Gullit was being informed that reinforcements were being dispatched to him in the form of 05, how did you know about this?

Wit: Before the communication came, the runner would have a leaflet and take the information to the commander. Gullit would send for Hassan Papa Bangura and others to listen. I went with him and Gullit to the set.

Pros: When you say “and some others that were with him” met Gullit, who?

Wit: Hassan Papa Bangura – he had some other soldiers assigned to him.

Pros: You told us that SBUs were trained in Camp Rosos. You were asked what happened to them after the training. A part of your answer was that they were “used to amputate the people”. In which places did this happen?

Wit: For example, when Gullit gave the orders on food finding patrols. It happened in Royanka and Roko Lan (ph), both in Bombali district.

Pros: You told us yesterday about a ham radio that your group had. You said, “when we attacked when they say ‘it is all over, we are happy’, so that every commander and junior commander had that. When we went looting, we had that.” Can you explain this?

Wit: I was trying to say, those handsets we used to train to BBC, RFI, VOA, and our local stations, we would have them on our patrols. If we attacked an area, we would hear the announcement on the radio. It made us happy that they said something about it.

Pros: What is RFI?

Wit: Radio France International.

Pros: We left off yesterday when you were telling the court about a muster that was called. 05 was explaining to Gullit and others information about the people in his group. You said you were present with the brigade for this explanation. Could you tell us what 05 said at this muster?

Wit: 05 introduced the men he came with, the SLA, RUF men, and also the STF and some Liberian guys. He explained that to Gullit and the rest of the brigade. The Liberians with the STF, he said Superman came with them from Kailahun after Liberia. They were sent to prepare us for the Freetown invasion.

Pros: Liberians mixed up with the STF?

Wit: The STF was there, the Liberians came to join us – to reinforce us.

Pros: Yesterday you said the Liberians who came with 05 were former NPFL who later became AFL?

Wit: 05 said they were former NPFL and they had gone through the AFL training. They came and joined us so that we can push towards Freetown.

Pros: When you say, “he said they came to reinforce”, and together they captured ____ and also Kabala, who are you referring to?

Wit: The Liberians who came with Superman.

Pros: Do you know how is it that these Liberians came to join 05’s group?

Wit: Before 05 came, we received rumors that Liberians had arrived to join us to attack Freetown. 05 confirmed it.

Pros: Do you recall how many STF came with 05’s group?

Wit: I knew only a few, but I cannot recall the number. The number were about 30 or so. The Liberians were about 20. Their number was almost 50 including Liberians and the STF.

Pros: Can you explain if you know how the Liberians came to Koindugu?

Wit: 05 mentioned that the Liberians were part of the team that came from Kailahun – that Mosquito gave to Superman, who had come from Liberia.

Pros: Can you explain what you mean?

Wit: According to 05, he said the Liberians were part of the team that came from Liberia to Mosquito. They came to Koindugu to reinforce Saj Musa. This was part of the team 05 came with at Col. Eddie Town.

Pros: How did Superman come into contact with these Liberians?

Wit: Superman went to Kailahun to get reinforcements.

Pros: Could you be clearer?

Wit: 05 confirmed to us that Superman went to Kailahun for reinforcements. Mosquito gave him the Liberians.

Pros: You’ve testified that the STF were Liberians?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You’ve mentioned 20 Liberians who were former NPFL/AFL.

Def: This is a leading question.

Pros: I’m putting back his previous testimony to him.

Def: I don’t recall him saying NPFL/AFL this morning.

Judge Doherty: There is some merit in this.

Pros: This issue arose yesterday. He described the Liberians as NPFL who later became AFL.

Judge Doherty: You refer to 20 Liberian fighters who were NPFL-AFL. He said there were 30 STF and 20 Liberians.

Pros: I’ll address the issue. [To witness:] Who were these Liberian fighters who were 20 in number?

Wit: 05 said they were former NPFL fighters who had joined the AFL. When Saj Musa called and spoke with Alex Tamba Brima, Superman told us there were reinforcements on the way who were Liberian fighters.

Pros: You’ve also referred to STF who were 30 in number and were Liberians. Can you be clear about whether these NPFL/AFL fighters were part of the STF?

Wit: This was a different group. The STF was a Special Task Force that included some Liberians within the Army during the reign of the NPRC from 1992-1994. The SLPP tried to reintegrate it into the army. They are different from the former fighters.

Pros: Who is different?

Wit: The two groups are different.

Pros: Yesterday you said the group was well armed. Can you explain what you mean?

Wit: They came with support rifles, HMG, RPG – rocket propelled grenades, sub-machine guns, 60mm mortars, AKs and other rifles, LAR, G3 – German 3.

Pros: Do you recall how many RUF were amongst the group that came with 05?

Wit: There were about 30 of them – about a platoon.

Pros: A platoon of who?

Wit: A platoon of RUF.

Pros; You gave us some names yesterday. You mentioned Med Bajeja (ph)? Who was he?

Wit: An SLA who came with the group.

Pros: Who were the RUF?

Wit: [lists names]

Pros: Do you recall any of the NPFL/AFL Liberians?

Wit: I was not too familiar with them.

Pros: You said there was an incident when you went to meet 05s group, and you returned to Col. Eddie Town. You said you were given a radio set. Did you have a radio operator?

Wit: Yes. I’ve forgotten his name.

Pros: You said there was a communication between your group and 05’s group?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Do you know who was handling communication for that group?

Wit: As far as I can recall, I think he had King Perry. He was one of the communication men that 05 came with.

Pros: Were there more?

Wit: A communication set would have 2-3 men around it.

Pros: Who was King Perry?

Wit: An RUF who came along with the squad.

Pros: Going back to the meeting where 05 was briefing Gullit. Did anything else happen?

Wit: Immediately after the meeting, Gullit said we were to establish another battalion. They formed the Red Lion battalion. They distributed some of the men. We appointed Med Bajedje (ph) to lead it.

Pros; What was its composition?

Wit: Med Bajedje led it. They had some STFs and former NPFL-AFL. The SLA and some RUF members were distributed into the different battalions. But the STF and the former NPFL fighters who came to reinforce us were not separated and based into the Red Lion battalions.

Pros: Were there any RUF in the Red Lion Battalion?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Did anything else happen in the meeting?

Wit: As far as I can recall, that is what happened.

Pros: After Gullit formed these battalions, did anything else happen?

Wit: We had a small problem at the camp when Gullit called on the operational commander that 05 should be a Leftenant Colonel. There was grumbling, so other commanders were promoted too – about 20 of us were promoted to Second Leftenant. He said there should be a test for us to prove ourselves. He said we should plan an attack on Medina. Later he changed his mind, so they said the Guineans were based in Kukuna. So we should plan an operation to attack Kukuna.

Pros: Who was the operational commander?

Wit: Hassan Papa Bangura – “Bomb Blast”

Pros: Did 05 have any assignment?

Wit: Gullit appointed him as Deputy Operational Commander.

Pros: What happened after Gullit said this operation should be planned?

Wit: Battalion commanders were summoned. Bazzy was the commander that led the group. We had 5-5, Bomb Blast, 05, and the Red Lion Battalion. I went on the attack because Gullit said it was a test for the promoted officers.

Pros: What happened during the operation?

Wit: We attacked Kukuna. There was a stiff resistance from the Guineans, but they were pushed. We captured one Guinean officer and a radio man. We did some killing and later retreated. We looted and got rice and other things.

Pros; Who were the Guineans?

Wit: A troop based in Kukuna. They said it was part of Sierra Leone bordering Guinea because of the attack from the AFRC/RUF. They were part of the ECOMOG troop.

Pros; Who set Kukuna on fire?

Wit: All of us who went participated in the burning. We burned down Kukuna. We burned down the houses.

Pros: Who did you kill there?

Wit: The civilian populace we found there – we killed them. We also killed soldiers who resisted.

Pros: How many civilians did you kill?

Wit: I can’t remember the number. They were strewn in the streets. We killed anyone we found.

Pros: What did you loot?

Wit: We took rice, palm oil, many other things of value.

Pros: These items, who did they belong to?

Wit: It was the civilians in Kukuna who owned these things.

Pros: Did the whole Red Lion Battalion go on this attack?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: What happened after the operation?

Wit: We returned to Col. Eddie Town and reported. Gullit received the troops. Bazzy explained what happened and handed over all the things we had come with. After every operation, all commanders, especially junior commanders, were searched. Any money belonged to the brigade.

Pros: When was this?

Wit: October-November 1998.

Pros: Who would search the junior commanders?

Wit: Bazzy, Five-five, and Bomb Blast made sure 05 did the search.

Pros: What happened after the Kukuna operation?

Wit: We returned, the search was conducted. Bazzy explained to the commander, Alex Tamba Brima, what happened in Kukuna. After this, Gullit said we should plan another operation, to Mange Bureh, in the Port Loko district.

Pros: What happened then?

Wit: Also organized a team, which was headed by Abdul Sesay, Ibrahim Bioh Sesay, and others. I joined them and we attacked Mange Bureh. We met a mixed force of Guineans and Nigerians. We captured on Guinean and a Nigerian soldier. We burned part of Mange Bureh and looted, then returned. A part of the Red Lion Battalion joined the Mange Bureh operation.

Pros: When you say you burned some area of Mange Bureh, what did you burn?

Wit: We burned houses.

Pros: What did you loot?

Wit: We looted. We were looking for rice, money, and anything of value – a lot of things.

Pros: You said some members of the Red Lion Battalion went with you. The members who went, who were they?

Wit: They chose a few from the SLA, a few from the STF, former NPFL-AFL fighters – they chose from them.

Pros: What happened after the operation?

Wit: We returned to camp and reported to Gullit. Bioh Sesay handed over all the things we had come with to the Brigade. We had a small dispute in the camp in relation to witchcraft.

Pros: Can you explain?

Wit: Gullit accused Bioh Sesay of being a wizard. Bioh Sesay said that if Gullit was accusing him, he would expose what Gullit was doing in the camp. He said Gullit had taken two young girl children who were virgins, and Col. Eddie, and had buried them as a sacrifice. Gullit ordered 05 to arrest Bioh. Bomb Blast intervened and said 05 had no right to arrest Bioh. He said he should be ordered to do the arrest. This dispute erupted and resulted in an infighting. The Red Lion Battalion came to the camp and arrested Bomb Blast, Bioh, and 5-5, Bazzy and Gullit. During these arrests, 05 told Gullit and 5-5 that if they were not going to reunite, then they would be handed over to the government. Gullit and others apologized and said they would settle the dispute. So they were all released except for Bomb Blast and Bioh. Whilst this was happening in the Camp, we received a communication from Saj Musa.

Pros: Can you be clear about who was buried by Gullit?

Wit: He said two young virgins, girl children.

Pros: Did he say what happened to the girls who were buried?

Wit: He said they were buried alive.

Pros: What happened to them as a result?

Wit: It was a sacrifice. It’s apparent that they died.

Judge Sebutinde: The witness said something about Eddie Town.

Pros: Why did you mention Col. Eddie?

Wit: Bioh said Gullit and Leftenant Col. Eddie took two virgin children from Col. Eddie Town and took them to the Tonko Limba Chiefdom and buried them alive.

Pros: This infighting – how did it end?

Wit: During the infighting, Gullit was released. Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara and the others were all released. They retained Bomb Blast and Bioh. 05 became operational commander. Later we learned it was Gullit who organized it all just so the other men would subdue themselves to him. There was a meeting called by Gullit, and he told the military supervisors that if Saj Musa were to come, then Saj Musa should take orders from him because they overthrew the government, then invited Saj Musa to join them. Hassan Papa Bangura and Bioh disagreed and said that Musa should not be subdued. So Gullit manipulated and used 05 to cause an infighting in the camp.

Pros: You said Hassan Papa Bangura was detained?

Wit: Just after this disagreement, Gullit accused Bioh Sesay of witchcraft and ordered 05 to arrest Bioh. That resulted in the dispute and the arrest. Gullit, Bazzy, Woyo [and others] were released.

Pros: For how long was Hassan Papa Bangura detained?

Wit: He was in detention until Saj Musa’s arrival. During the week of the arrests, Saj Musa arrived. Gullit replaced Bomb Blast with 05 as operational commander.

Pros: Did Hassan Papa Bangura have an appointment after his release?

Wit: When Saj Musa arrived, he became one of the military supervisor. They went to the front to organize all battles. Hassan Papa Bangura continued to stay at the battlefront.

Pros: When did Saj Musa arrive in Col. Eddie Town?

Wit: Early December 1998, a week or two after the infighting. Saj Musa called and said he had left Koinadugu because he had clashed with Superman.

Judge Sebutinde: Was Saj Musa the military supervisor, or Hassan Papa Bangura?

Pros: Did Hassan Papa Bangura receive an appointment after he was released?

Wit: Saj appointed him as a military supervisor at the battlefront.

Pros: When did this communication take place?

Wit: Just a week after the infighting in Col. Eddie Town.

Pros: How do you know about it?

Wit: I was at the headquarters after my promotion.

Pros: During this communication, Musa was communicating with whom?

Wit: Saj Musa called Gullit and informed him that he had had an infighting with Superman, so for that reason he was heading for Col. Eddie Town.

Pros: Do you know if there were other communications at this time?

Wit: Gullit also communicated with Mosquito at Kailahun. He briefed him on the Kukuna and Mange Bureh operations. Mosquito was always the first person Gullit informed after operations before calling Saj.

Pros: What happened after the communication with Saj Musa?

Wit: Saj said Gullit should organize a team to meet him. Gullit sent a team, which returned with Saj to the camp.

Pros: Where was Issa Sesay?

Wit: According to communications we received, Sesay was in Kailahun. Gullit spoke with Sesay after the Kukuna operation.

Pros: Do you know where RUF Rambo was?

Wit: From the monitoring we were doing, he was based around Kono. RUF Rambo, Isaac Mongor and others were in that area.

Pros: What monitoring?

Wit: The radio operators monitored communications and reported to the commanders. If they monitored any activity from enemies, the RUF or the SLA, they would present the communications to the commander, so they would know what was going on in all the areas where the junta troops were occupying.

Pros: How do you know this?

Wit: I was with the operational commander. When the radio man sent the runner – if they received information, it would be shared with the commander, who would share it with the operational commander.

Pros: Are you able to say how many times Gullit spoke to Mosquito over the radio from Col. Eddie Town?

Wit: One time I was present. I was not present for the others.

Pros: Did Saj Musa arrive in Col. Eddie Town?

Wit: Yes, in mid-December 1998.

Pros: Who did he come with?

Wit: Some SLAs and RUFs.

Pros: Do you know the number of men that came with him?

Wit: 200-250.

Pros: Apart from SLA and RUF, who were the others in the group?

Wit: A few STFs. He explained how things had happened to him.

Pros: What happened after their arrival?

Wit: Saj Musa reorganized the brigade, wherein he became the Chief in Command. Gullit became the Deputy Chief in Command. He formed the Rapid Deployment Force battalion under Lamin Sidique, called “Terminator”. He added a battlefield inspector (BFI) to the brigade – Leftenant Konjor. He brought Adamu – we called him “Chicken Soup” – as a military supervisor. [lists other appointments]

Pros: Did anything else happen?

Wit: Saj Musa was angry and explained what happened between himself and Superman in Koinadugu. He even said the RUF should be disarmed. He said we should release the women we had because we were heading for Freetown. Saj Musa told us the troop was about to leave for Freetown and we should strictly obey the humanitarian laws that govern us. He said that since going to London to study law – we should not amputate or burn houses. We should go and reinstate the army – that the people would support that.

Pros: Were the women released?

Wit: No. The commanders appealed that the women should not be released, and Saj agreed.

Pros: Were any of the RUF disarmed?

Wit: No. Everybody said, let us continue the operation.

Pros: Did Saj Musa say anything else?

Wit: He made these appointments and said we should prepare to advance. He said this had been prepared. He said the infighting should not stop the program that had been organized. All the differences should be put aside and we should focus on entering Freetown.

Pros: When Saj Musa was talking about reinforcements released by Saj and Superman, who was he talking about?

Wit: Saj said that was why he and Superman had sent ahead the mixed troops of RUF, STF and former Liberian fighters.

Pros: After the arrival of Saj Musa, did the troops leave Col. Eddie Town?

Wit: Yes, we departed around mid December, after Saj’s arrival. We crossed the river towards Mange Bureh. Saj Musa, the entire brigade and the family members – those we had captured – moved. We had the fifth battalion ahead, headed by Baskay – Saidu Kambulai (ph). We had the RDF battalion and Red Lion Battalion – they were ahead.

Pros: How many battalions were there?

Wit: Battalions 1-5, the RDF, and the Red Lion Battalion.

Pros: You’ve just mentioned a Fifth Battalion. When did that come into place?

Wit: This was organized by Gullit before the arrival of Saj.

Pros: When did the Fifth Battalion come into place?

Wit: Just after the arrival of 05.

Pros: Was a commander appointed for the Fifth Battalion?

Wit: Yes, Leftenant Col. Basky – Saidu Kambulai.

Pros: The troops that left Col. Eddie Town – where did you go?

Wit: Towards Mange Bureh.

Pros: After that, did you go anywhere else?

Wit: We attacked Mange Bureh, then went to the Port Loko area. We attacked a village called Maray Kula. Five-five, who was at the rear, ordered that Maray Kula be burned. Five-five and his men burned it down. They burned houses.

Pros: Where did the group move from Maray Kula?

Wit: We went towards the Lunsar axis, in Bombali district.

Pros: Did anything happen there?

Wit: WE created a temporary base at a place called Mamusa (ph). Then Saj said we should attack Lunsar, where there was an ECOMOG base. We captured some military ammunition there and withdrew to Mamusa. I left something out earlier. When we left Col. Eddie town and went towards Mange Bureh, we were ambushed, and the officers were reprimanded and demoted to Sergeants by Saj Musa. He said we should be at the front and prove ourselves. It was then that we attacked Mange Bureh.

Pros: Did the group move from Mamusa?

Wit: Yes, yes we advanced towards Gberie (ph) Junction.

Court is now adjourning for the mid-morning break. Proceedings will resume at 12:00 (12:30 with the delay in video and audio.)