5:00 RUF radio operator details Taylor involvement in Freetown invasion, arms and ammunition supplies to the RUF

2:30 (3:00 with the video/audio delay): Court is back in session following the lunch break.

Prosecutor Mohamed Bangura continues his questioning of the protected witness:

Pros: I wish to indicate to the court that the document I was going to deal with earlier has now been made available to the bench and the defense. [To witness:] You mentioned that communication with Liberia was now not limited to radio, but included satellite phone communication. I asked when the first time was that Bockarie had a satellite phone.

Wit: I saw him with it in Kenema. At some point in time at Beudu he said he had been given one by his chief, Charles Taylor. He said that his old one had been blocked for not paying his bills. After he got the phone, we used to get messages on the radio telling us to put “Log” (Bockarie) on the 2-1, which was his satellite phone.

Pros: You said the RUF code was available to just a number of stations in Liberia and that they could communicate with you in Beudu?

Wit: When the operation was going on in Voinjama, after Operation Vulture, there was another operation…

Pros: Let’s talk about that later. For now let’s talk about before you went to Liberia. You said there was a code common to both sides, and that Daf knew the code?

Wit: Yes, the code that the Liberians were using was known to Daf.

Pros: There was communication before you went to Liberia?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: You were restricted at one point?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Did you know the code then?

Wit: No.

Pros: How did you know that others had the code?

Wit: Daf used to communicate in a code I didn’t know with the other side when I was there. Later I communicated with the other side from Beudu.

Pros: Who did you communicate with on the other side?

Wit: Sunlight, Dew and Sky One. And I received calls from them.

Pros: Talking about the use of a satellite phone, how would communication be initiated?

Wit: We’d be called from 020 or Base 1 to tell “Log” to put on the 2-1.

Pros: Whose radio was 020?

Wit: The executive mansion, Taylor’s residence. Base 1 was at Yeaten’s house and was operated by Sunlight and Dew.

Pros: The call from Base 1, what would they say?

Wit: To tell Bockarie to turn on the satellite phone.

Pros: When he switched on the phone, whom would he be communicating with from Base 1?

Wit: Benjamin Yeaten.

Pros: You said the operators would say that one person wanted to talk to another using code?

Wit: They’d say Fifty wanted to talk to Log.

Pros: How did you know what this meant?

Wit: When I went to Liberia, I learned that Fifty was Yeaten.

Pros: Did you yourself receive these calls?

Wit: Yes, and I’d go get the Sergeant.

Pros: How would calls from 020 be initiated?

Wit: They’d call us on BZ4 and tell the principal to get on the 2-1 and the message would be relayed to Sam Bockarie.

Pros: When did calls come on BZ4?

Wit: Before the operation in Voinjama, because after that the call sign changed.

Pros: When there was a call from 020 indicating they wanted Log to go on the 2-1, who would talk to Log on the phone?

Wit: They would say the chief, Charles Taylor?

Pros: How did you know it was Taylor?

Wit: After he was done talking on the phone, he’d come to transmit messages on the radio, and he’d tell us. He kept nothing from us. On the phone he’d say “yes, sir”, “same will be implemented, sir”.

Pros: Whom did Bockarie ever refer to as sir?

Wit: Yeaten and his chief, Taylor.

Pros: Anyone else?

Wit: No, not that I heard.

Pros: [shows document to witness] Do you recognize that piece of paper?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: What is it?

Wit: It’s an example of how the messages were processed. This was prepared to explain how messages were processed. I prepared it.

Pros: Can you discuss the document? At the top there’s a message coming from a certain name in a code, going to a certain name in a code, then a subject and a date?

Wit: Yes, this was an example. I was asked how the code was used to transmit and receive. You have words, for example “enemy”, and instead of using the word, you use “535”. The other operator has the code words, and can put the message back into words.

Pros: We see the number 60220…

Wit: This is another method of preparing frequencies apart from the pre-designated code. A frequency can be…

Def: We’re having trouble following.

[Witness will use the overhead projector. The court has determined that he can do so without being visible to the public gallery.]

Wit: [continues complex explanation of how to put a frequency in code, indicating on overhead projector]

Pros: Was this method the practice when you didn’t use the pre-designated code?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Normally would you find all of these codes in the code chart available to operators?

Wit: We had certain frequencies selected and given code names.

Pros: But when you decided to create your own frequencies, where would you find the codes?

Wit: In the code chart created by the commanders. The operators had the code chart.

Pros: Going back to communications in the RUF within Sierra Leone, you recall you said after the intervention, Johnny Paul moved to Beudu and at one point had a forum, a radio conference with commanders, and said that AFRC should take orders from the RUF. You said one of the commanders refused this order?

Wit: Yes, Saj Musa.

Pros: What became the relationship between Saj Musa and the RUF over time?

Wit: There was not much cordiality between the two commanders. The relationship between the SLAs and the RUF really improved after Saj Musa died during the venture to retake Freetown in early 1999.

Pros: What was the state of communication between the RUF and Saj Musa before the attempt to take Freetown?

Wit: There was not much flow of information between them.

Pros: Do you recall which group took Freetown?

Wit: I was not all the time assigned on the radio set. When I was on duty, that was the time they were already about to pull out from Freetown. Gullit sent a message to Sam Bockarie that the situation was tense and they were without ammunition. Bockarie said Gullit should join Rambo at a particular point. He said if there was too much pressure, they should retreat by the peninsula. But he said first they should make the area fearful…

Pros: Who was saying this to whom?

Wit: Bockarie was talking directly to Gullit.

Pros: How was communication established.

Wit: Gullit’s operator, Elungima (sp?) called us.

Pros: What was the substance of that communication?

Wit: They used to give a report to Bockarie. When they entered Freetown, they kept communicating. Gullit reported to Bockarie that they were at the State House. 2-3 days later he called again saying they were under serious pressure, but that they’d released some prisoners from Pademba Road.

Pros: How did you know this?

Wit: When I was on set, I used to collect information. Even when we were not on set, operators shared information and we used to read the message book.

Pros: Apart from Gullit calling Bockarie, did you get information from any other source in Freetown?

Wit: Yes, we used to get information from the operator there.

Pros: You said there was this message about the prisoners. Anything else?

Wit: At one time he told Gullit to listen to the BBC radio and his interview with Mark Doyle. He said if pressure mounted, they should burn public buildings and the oil refinery.

Pros: How did you know this?

Wit: It was openly said on the radio, and afterword he told them to listen to the BBC broadcast.

Pros: Did you listen to that broadcast?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: What did Bockarie say to Gullit on the radio?

Wit: If they mount pressure on you, burn down the fucking place and retreat by the peninsula.

Pros: Where was Superman?

Wit: In that same axis, the Freetown axis.

Pros: What other commanders?

Wit: Col. Rambo, the late Col. Rambo.

Pros: Do you know whether these commanders were also in communication with Gullit?

Wit: Yes, Bockarie ordered them to maintain the flow of communication?

Pros: How did you know this?

Wit: We heard it on the open radio.

Pros: After Bockarie told Gullit to “burn the fucking place”, did you learn of what happened in Freetown?

Wit: We heard from an operator, Elungima, that the men had gone on a rampage, killing and wounding civilians and making the place fearful. He said his commander had left to go collect ammunition.

Pros: Did you follow the activities of the group in Freetown until the end of that operation?

Wit: Sometimes I was not on duty, but I could read the details in the message book.

Pros: Do you recall any communication by Bockarie with any persons outside Sierra Leone at this time?

Wit: He was in persistent communication with 020 and Base 1.

Pros: What was the substance?

Wit: After getting the message about the prisoners freed from Pademba Road, Sunlight at Base 1 intercepted that communication between Gullit’s and Bockarie’s stations. When Bockarie got the message, he requested to talk to Fifty (Yeaten). Bockarie was congratulated by Benjamin Yeaten, who said he had heard all the details – that he had heard the message about the release of prisoners from Pademba Road.

Pros: How was Sunlight able to monitor this message?

Wit: Sunlight had access to our radio net. They knew all our frequencies. There was nothing hidden from them.

Pros: Was this the first time that Liberian stations monitored RUF stations?

Wit: No, I remember in February 1998, after the intervention, Gullit commanded all commanders to retreat to Kailahun. Sunlight intercepted that message and asked why we were pulling out of Kono. Gullit responded that he had something important to talk about with Bockarie.

Pros: Apart from congratulating Bockarie, did Yeaten say anything else in that 1999 conversation?

Wit: He said he had done so well.

Pros: Was this the only communication during the invasion?

Wit: There were so many calls. Sometimes Bockarie transmitted reports from the front line. He would ask us to call Base 1, and Fifty would come on the radio.

Pros: Is it clear I’m restricting the question only to the period of the Freetown invasion. Were there other communications?

Wit: Yes. When the AFRC/RUF retreated, there was a free flow of AFRC/RUF crossing into Libeira. Bockarie traveled to Liberia and had a discussion with Yeaten to say that no AFRC/RUF should be allowed to cross. Fifty again commanded Bockarie to open a training base to recruit civilians. And that happened. The base was opened at ______ (?)

Pros: Was there any other communication with Bockarie at this time?

Wit: Yes, from 020. 020 called and said Bockarie should go on the 2-1. He would then speak on the satellite phone. When he was done talking he would issue orders over the radio and say he had spoken with his chief. He instructed Gullit to set ambushes and go on attacks.

Pros: Was this only once?

Wit: No.

Pros: How do you know this?

Wit: I was there myself.

Pros: Did you hear the phone conversations?

Wit: Sometimes the vehicle with the radio was parked right by the window.

Pros: Did the commanders in Freetown get any assistance or support from Bockarie in Beudu at the time of the invasion?

Wit: They were talking about strategy.

Pros: Did you hear anything about jets during the Freetown invasion?

Wit: We had SLAs, another group of radio operators [lists four names], who were a monitoring team. They were tasked with receiving messages from ECOMOG and then used to transmitted to fighters on the frontline. They’d say “448” and that meant the ECOMOG jet fighter was up and everyone should take cover. “448” means “jet fighter is coming”. The message came from Beudu.

Pros: How were these operators able to break into the ECOMOG code?

Wit: They were SLAs. They had been trained in Morse code, and most ECOMOG messages were transmitted in Morse code.

Pros: Do you recall whether any other form of support was coming from outside of Sierra Leone for the Freetown operation?

Wit: Sam Bockarie could cross into Liberia to get ammunition.

Pros: Are you saying he did that during that period?

Wit: Yes, in fact Base 1 called him to Monrovia for a briefing and within 72 hours he came back.

Pros: How long was the period of the Freetown operation?

Wit: About three weeks.

Pros: Bockarie went during that time?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: Base 1?

Wit: Yes, messages came from Base 1 and were reinforced from 020, and from 020 and were reinforced by Base 1.

Pros: Did you know what Bockarie did in Liberia?

Wit: He said he was called to brief the chief. He came back with materials. AFRC/RUF commanders were called from Kono to get the materials.

Pros: At the time of the Freetown invasion, what was the state of RUF operations around the country generally? Where were there operations apart from Freetown?

Wit: I think around _______(?)

Pros: Do you remember which commander was there?

Wit: I can’t recall.

Pros: Back to communications between the RUF and Liberia. Generally, what was the subject of those conversations – now not limited to the time of the Freetown invasion?

Wit: Sometimes Bockarie requested ammunition.

Pros: From whom?

Wit: Base 1, and he could come on the set, communicating with Fifty, and “I’m hungry” and was told the “Iron Bird” was coming. Hungry meant we needed ammunition. Iron Bird was the helicopter. Sometimes the message went to 020 at the Executive Mansion. The movement of the Iron Bird to Foxtrot Yankee, which was Foya was directed by 020.

Pros: Can you clarify when these communications take place from Bockarie’s station and the other side…

Wit: Base 1.

Pros: If he was in need, he would normally communicate with Base 1?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: How did 020 come into this?

Wit: Requests were made to Base 1 and acknowledgement of movement of the Iron Bird sometimes came from 020. Sometimes Yeaten spoke directly with Bockarie. The operators would set the frequencies and the commanders could communicate directly. The radio operator was obliged to be by the radio. I was there when Bockarie spoke to Yeaten.

Pros: You said when a request was made to Base 1, that request would be sent to 020 at the Executive Mansion. What would they then do?

Wit: The communication was purely about ammunition. 020 could respond by telling Bockarie to go to Foya because the helicopter was come with the ammunition. Sometimes they told us to look for Col. Jungle (Daniel Tamba), or Zigzag, or Doepoe Menkarzon. Doepoe was in Sierra Leone with the NPFL and killed civilians in Top 20 in 1992. They said they didn’t answer to Sankoh and only answered to Charles Taylor. SBUs came to Sierra Leone to have Doepoe Menkarzon disarmed and removed. He started coming back into Beudu with arms and ammunition in 1998 – until a UN patrol team started coming into Bedu.

Pros: At what stage was Jungle involved in the transport of material from Liberia?

Wit: In 1993, ULIMO-K cut off the border, but there was still a pocket of NPFL along the border. They came to the Sierra Leone side in 1996 and stayed with Bockarie. He started transporting weapons in 1998, after the ECOMOG intervention in Freetown.

Pros: When in 1998 did Doepoe Menkarzon start coming into Sierra Leone with material?

Wit: Not long after the February 1998 intervention.

Pros: What about Zigzag Marzah?

Wit: About the same time.

Pros: On whose instructions did these three individuals come to Sierra Leone with material?

Wit: Bockarie said his chief was going to send men with material. We were informed by radio which one was coming. Messages about the movement of material were put into code.

Pros: How frequently did these men bring material from Liberia?

Wit: It was happening regularly.

Pros: How regular?

Wit: One cannot be precise on that. I witnessed it myself.

Pros: How was the transaction initiated? You said Bockarie said he was “hungry”. How was the request processed?

Wit: We would request materials in code, and we would get a response, telling Bockarie to go to Foya, or that those men were coming. We had vehicles in Foya. When the helicopters came to Foya, the vehicles were loaded and taken to Beudu. The flying of ammunition from Monrovia to Foya really started when the insurgents began attacking Lofa County. That was sometime in 1999. Before that ammunition went by land. The flying started when there was a threat in Lofa County. We had a special group of armed men assigned in Foya to keep security at the airfield. There was “FOC”, a bodyguard to Sankoh and Takpo. Takpo was an RUF soldier sent to Foya to provide security at the airfield.

Pros: How important was Foya?

Wit: It was a strategic point where we met and coordinated with Monrovia. Eddie Kanneh used to take diamonds across and take the helicopter to Monrovia.

Pros: Did the RUF maintain security in Foya regularly?

Wit: Men were assigned really to keep the security at the airfield.

Pros: Between Beudu and Foya, what was the frequency of movement?

Wit: There was no hindrance at all.

Pros: Foya is on the Liberian side and Beudu on the Sierra Leone side?

Wit: Yes. The flow was frequent.

Pros: You said that before the route became unsafe by road, supplies came from Monrovia by vehicle. Who would go?

Wit: Sometimes Bockarie went himself. Or Jungle, Zigzag, or Doepoe, Roland Duo, or the Liberian Mosquito could come.

Pros: How were they conveyed?

Wit: By vehicle from Foya, and a unit called G4 in Beudu offloaded the vehicles.

Pros: And when they were flown to Foya?

Wit: They were brought to Beudu by vehicle. Bockarie had vehicles and there were vehicles in Liberia.

Pros: Zigzag Marzah, Doepoe and Jungle – did they ever stay in Sierra Leone?

Wit: They only came and left.

Pros: Was there any documentation of the deliveries?

Wit: The G4 recorded it. Or Bockarie would sign a document for them to take back.

Pros: Apart from ammunition, what else came from Liberia?

Wit: Petrol, medicine and sometimes food. I was there when some cartons of military fatigues – referred to as immigration fatigues. Written on the side of the cartons was “Libya”. That was about the time the operation in Guinea was to take effect. One time I spoke with Momoh Gibba. He was from Baoma Kakuma village near my village in Kailahun. And he brought [describes a complex series of deliveries, movements and purposes]

Pros: When was this?

Wit: Sometime in 2001.

Pros: What is the alias of Momoh Gibba?

Wit: Bulldog.

Pros: And the rifles you said were taken to Yeaten by Bulldog?

Wit: Multi-party rifles. They were flown from James Spriggs Airfield.

Pros: Do you recall any particular shipment other than this?

Wit: Bockarie himself came in a ten-tire truck in 1998, before the operation in Kono. The operation in Kono was November or December. It wasn’t too long before that.

Pros: What was the content of the shipment?

Wit: It was ammunition. Mostly AK rounds and RPG bombs, and GMG.

Pros: How did the shipment come?

Wit: Mosquito went to Liberia and brought the materials in a truck.

Pros: Did he travel alone?

Wit: He went with radio operators, combat medics and bodyguards.

Pros: Did you travel with him ever to Liberia?

Wit: I traveled with him to Foya. Myself, Zedman and another operator were in the vehicle with the “Marvel” radio. He traveled to Foya and was flown to Monrovia – he said he was called by the chief. He came back within 72 hours. We saw jeans from the helicopter in Foya, but when we saw in Beudu, we saw ammunition. We went with about 18 of his bodyguards.

Pros: Was this trip before you left your assignment in Beudu?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: He said his chief called him?

Wit: Yes, Charles Taylor.

Pros: You were informed that he was back in Foya. Were you informed he was coming?

Wit: We were informed by 020 and Base 1 that Log was on his way back to Foya.

Pros: You went to Foya?

Wit: Yes, we were in Marvel, a Land-Cruiser. We were there before his arrival. We were there when the helicopter arrived. The drivers were commanded to load the vehicles with bales of jeans. When we got to the base in Beudu, those bales were dismantled. He said he was doing that to keep security because he said journalists were going to Foya to see the nature of the relationship between the RUF and Liberia.

Pros: You said the reason for the concealment was?

Wit: To maintain security. Bockarie told us everything when he arrived.

Pros: Do you recall any other specific deliveries?

Wit: Ammunitions were coming in.

Pros: How frequently?

Wit: When operations were going on the frontlines, requests were made.

Pros: Were requests ever denied?

Wit: No, but sometimes he was told to wait a little while.

Pros: What did the materials from Liberia include other than ammunition?

Wit: Medicine and food and petrol. When Issa was in power, I saw weapons in Liberia and they were unloaded in Sierra Leone.

Pros: How did you get to know that Yeaten was SSS Director?

Wit: When I came to Foya, Zigzag Marzah took me to him, and he said I should get on board the helicopter and we flew to Gbarnga…

Pros: When were you posted to Liberia?

Wit: In the rainy season of 1999, I think June-July.

Pros: Who sent you there?

Wit: Gen. Issa Sesay. He told me to take a set and move to Foya.

Pros: Was this with Bockarie’s knowledge?

Wit: There was nothing that happened without his knowledge.

Pros: Why were you sent?

Wit: To maintain smooth operations. There was fighting around Voinjama, a strategic point for the supply route to the RUF. Fifty told me to transmit a message to Sesay saying that if Sesay, Bockarie and the RUF commanders didn’t take that Voinjama issue seriously, it would look like the situation the RUF suffered back in 1993.

Pros: What did this mean?

Wit: If Voinjama is not properly protected, it is likely to fall in the hands of the insurgents. I sent the message.

Pros: You say the day you got to Foya, you met Zigzag Marzah. Was it the same day that Yeaten came?

Wit: He came about 72 hours later on a helicopter.

Pros: What kind of helicopter?

Wit: There were three ATU helicopters and two SSS helicopters, and another one called Wasua(?). I think he came on an ATU helicopter.

Pros: Did you commonly see these helicopters in Liberia later?

Wit: Yes.

Pros: What were they used for?

Wit: It 2000 when I was in Kolahun, LURD captured Voinjama and held it for 2-3 months. The ATU helicopter flew to Kolahun, went to Voinjama, bombarded Voinjama and went back to Kolahun for more bombs. They were used as gunships. The SSS helicopters were to transport 2-5 persons. I flew on board this helicopter with Yeaten from Camp Schefflin to Kolahun. When Bockarie in Beudu, the Wasua was the one coming frequently to Foya with materials. It was later that the ATU helicopter really started flying.

Pros: Yeaten arrived on one of the ATUs?

Wit: Yes. We flew from Foya to Gbarnga. Then to Tenembu. He took me to the president’s farm. He was to attend a meeting. He had a radio which we mounted in his house, in the president’s farm in Gbarnga. I established communication from there with Base 1, telling “Network”, who was Joe Tuah. Yeaten asked about materials being sent to his location. The helicopter came with materials and we set out for Tenembu.

Pros: How was this sent?

Wit: He told me to tell Sunlight on the radio to get Network to send the iron bird.

Pros: You said he was going to go to a meeting?

Wit: Yes, with his chief, Charles Taylor. Yeaten told me on the helicopter that only the person higher than him was the president.

Pros: Why did you go to Tenembu?

Wit: There was fighting in Voinjama and materials were being delivered.

Court is now adjourning for the day. The proceedings will resume tomorrow morning at 9:30.