Court resumes with the testimony of prosecution witness Samuel Kargbo

12:00PM: Cout resumes after morning break.

Judge Diugherty: Please proceed with the witness.

Pros: Please tell us again what Harrisson George told you.

Wit: He told us that they were conducting trainings at Foya and that was where they were attacking from.

Pros; Did you use his ionformation?

Wit: No. The rebels attacked us again and we were dislodged finally from our position.

Pros: Who is it you were talking about telling you of rebels killing the people whose corpses you saw?

Wit: We saw civilians in the bush who told us so.

Pros; You said they told you about the Gios eating people, who told you?

Wit: The civilians

Prso: You said that during the 1996 elections, you were sent to Kenema, was this before or after the elections?

Wit: Before the elections.

Pros; Can you say what you saw in Kenema?

Wit: We saw many displaced people in Kenema.

Pros; What about the town of kenema itself, did you observe anything in the town?

Wit: The town was full, many people were there.

Pros: What did the civilians tell you in Kenema?

Wit: When we got to Kenema, we did not even talk to the civialians. We went to Joru, attacked, some of our collegaues were shot so we came back to Kenema. That was when the civilians told us about the rebels cutting their fingers saying it was operation no election.

Def: I want to remined my learned colleague that there should be foundation for some of these things and that there should be no leading questions.

Judge: What was one love?

Wit: It was the way the fingers were cut. They said there should be no elections.

Pros: Did you actually see civilians with their fingers cut off?

Wit: yes, at the Kenema government hospital.

Pros: What happened to your assignment after the elections?

Wit: I was assigned to Bradford. We were the special security in the NPRC and they assiggned us to the defense headquarters. They wanted Superman from the RUF who had come around the Mile 91 highway. One Lt. Yirra Koroma was the one who addressed us that Superman wanted to surrender but said he’ll only do so to the soldiers. So they told us to go to Bradford so that he will surrender to us. Yirra Koroma told us that we should all put our weapons at our back.

Pros; At the end of this incident, did you get arrested?

Wit: yes

Pros: Did other members of your unit get arrested?

Wit: Yes

Pros: How many people were arrested?

Wit: Six of us. Six of us were dismissed and jailed for 56 days.

Pros: Can you help us with when you were arrested?

Wit: Around end of June 1996.

Pros: After being released, were you then dismissed frrom the army?

Wit: yes

Pros: So what did you do briefly?

Wit: I ran the jail term and after than i went to my house.

Pros: Did something happen to you in May 1997?

Wit: Well when we were dismissed, my salary was running but Lt. Col Davies used to receive my rice and salary at that time.

Pros: Whjat happend then?

Wit: I was away from my house when one of my colleagues called Zagalo came to my wife in the evening but i was in Chruch. When i came back, my wife said Zagalo wanted to see me. So we met the following day and he explained to me that things were not working right especially for those of us dismissed from the army and the Kamajors were killing soldiers. No body was asking any government so he said we should overthrow the government.

Pros: Do you recall the date that Zagalo spoke to you?

Wit: He came on a Tuesday but i cant recall the exact date. We eventually met on Wednesday. He was a Seargeant in the army.

Pros: Was he in the army at the time he spoke to you?

Wit: Yes, He was the coach for the SLA football team.

Pros: So what happend next?

Pros: He told us to assemble at an address near Cockeril on Wilkinson road. So we met with him on Saturday night going towards Sunday morning. That was on the 25th of May 1997.

Pros: Do you remember the nemes of some of the other guys you met on that day?

Wit: Zagalo, Bazzy, Hassan Bangura, Cobra, Gullit, Foday Kallay and others.

Pros: Do you remember how many of you were there?

Wit: We were many but those of us in agreement on the issue were 17.

Pros: So what happened next?

Wit: We staged the coup and released the prisoners from Pademba road. We released Maj. Johnno Paul Koroma and he adviced that we should not kill anybody. We drove to the Wilberforce military barracks. We started arresting senior officers and locking them up. The head of state had escaped. We did not arrest any ministers. One of our colleagues called Gborie went on radio and announced that we had overthrown the government.

Pros: Were there any forces opposing you in the overthrow of the government?

Wit: Except the forces from the RDF but they later they joined us.

Pros: Did members of the government stay or leave the country?

Wit: The head of state together with his vice left. Some other ministers left but some stayed.

Pros: You tallked about the Kamajors, who were they?

Wit: they were militia men helping the government.

Pros: Who was head of the Kamajors?

Wit: Hinga Norman and Kabba.

Pros: Were there any inyternational forces in the country?

Wit: the Nigerians, ECOMOG.

Pros: Did the group that you were a member of have a name?

Wit: We didnt have a name yet. It was when we were ready to form a government that we called ourselves AFRC.

Pros: Were the Kamajors supporting the AFRC?

Wit: No

Pros: what about ECOMOG?

Wiyt: No

Pros: Did all of the members of the S.L army join the coup?

Wit: All the other ranks joined us immediately and the senior officers later joined unwillingly.

Pros: Did any members of the S.L army stay loyal to the Kabba giovernment?

Wit: Some of them escaped and joined the government like Carew, Nelson Williams, and a lot of others.

Pros: What was the meaning of the RDF?

Wit: Rapid Deployment Force. A force to respond to any emergency rapidly.

Pros: What happend with the RUF when you formed the AFRC?

Wit: After we’d taken over power, within a week or two, i dont know where the chairman got Sankoh’s number when he called him and said he wanted the RUF to join us since we wanted total peace. Sankoh told the RUF to come and join us. So within 72 hours, they came and joined us.

Pros: How do you know that Johnny Paul called Sankoh?

Wit: We were in the office when he called him.

Pros: Where was this office?

Wit: It was in the office of the Late Hassan Conteh who was the Chief of Defense Staff in the Kabba government.

Pros: Did Koroma tell you what was discussed with Sankoh?

Wit: He told us Sankoh had agreed to send somebody to meet us and the RUF will come. So Gibril Massaquoi later joined us.

Pros: Did you know Massaquoi before this incident?

Wit: No

Pros: Did you meet him when he came?

Wit:yes we all met him. He introduced himself as a member of the RUF and he said sankoh sent him. He gave some numbers to Johnny Paul, including numbers for the presidents of Liberia, Niger, Burkina Faso and Libya. He said Sankoh asked him to give us those numbers.

Pros: Do you know whether the AFRC had any recognition from the international community?

Wit: We did not get recogmnition from the int. community but we got from Liberia, Niger, Burkina Faso and Libya.

Pros: What was your assignement during this time?

Wit: I was the monitoring officer for housing and tourism.

Pros: Did you spend anytime with Johnny Paul Koroma?

Wit: Yes, many times.

Pros: Under what circumstances?

Wit: Well most of the time we were at his house and we spent time at his office. He was at Pipe Line on Wilkinson road.

Pros: Were you present when he tried to contact anybody out of Sierra Leone other than Sankoh?

Wit: We wre at the office at Cockeril and he ordered his control officer Banja Marrah to dial a number.

Pros: Who was Banja Marrah?

Wit: He was the control officer. He was a captain in the army.

Pros: can you tell us when this happened?

Wit: This was within one to two weeks after the coup when Gibril Massaquoi had brought the numbers.

Pros: What happend when Banja made the call?

Wit: He gave the phone to Johnny Paul. He was talking to Taylor from Liberia asking for recognition. We didnt hear what Taylor was saying. He later told us that Taylor adviced him to work with RUF and that if there were any problems, we should let him know.

Pros: How do you know he was talking to Taylor?

Wit; After the conversation, he explained to us, we the Supreme council members. he told us that he had spoken to Taylor, that Taylor adviced him to work with the RUF brothers.

Pros: Do you recall anything else that Taylor said in that conversation?

Wit: That is all i can recall now.

Pros: What do you mean by hiccups that Taylor said you should tell him?

Wit: He said if there are any problems with RUF.

Pros: Do you know if Johnny Poul made any other calls?

Wit: He made a call to presidents of Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya and he told us they had all agreed to assist us. Among all the calls, Taylor’s conversation was the longest.

Pros: Who else was preesent during the phone calls?

Wit: We the supreme council members, Banja Marrah and late AK Sesay.

Pros: Do you recall any incident involving the Iranina embassy?

Wit: Yes

Pros: What happened?

Wit: On Jan. 1st 1998, i was at home with radio handset. I heard Gborie calliing Zagalo for reinfiorcement. I intercepoted and asked what the problem was. Zagalo asked to go there. But that was my wife’s biurthday so i sent my security to go and get drinks. They did not come after tow to three hours. I then heard Johnny Paul on radio that all those at the Iranian embassy should be arrested. I went there and met Capt. Mandereh who told me that my colleages had come and looted the place. I returned to Johnny Paul and he said we should arrest Gborie, Issa Sesay, Bangura, Kallay, etc. I led the team and arrested some of them. I could not get Kallay. We sent a team to arrest Sesay and he resisted. That was about to bring infighting among us. So all of us went to the office and met Johnne Paul. He called Taylor and i heard him responding yes sir. He said Taylor had said they should set an enquiry and whosoever was involved so be punished.

Pros: What kind of phone was used?

Wit: It was a land phone at Johnny Paul’s house.

Pros: Did they set up the board of enquiry?

Wit: Yes, it was headed by SAJ Musa. I was also the only member from the Supreme Council who made it on the board.

Pros: Why did Johnny Paul call Taylor?

Wit: Because Issa had resisted arrest and the RUF wanted to take to the streets.

Pros: Why contact Taylor?

Wit: We knew he was the Godfather of RUF.

Pros; So you said you guys spoke with Sankoh, did RUF arrive after thst?

Wit: Yes, Mingo was the first to come, followed by Issa Sesay, Sam Bockarie came and other commanders came but i cant remember the names now. Some of them were Supreme Council members.

Pros: How long did Sam Bockarie stay in Freetown?

Wit: He was there for one or two months and he left for Kenema. Issa stayed in Freetown.

Pros: You have told us about two phone calls to Taylor, do you know if there were other phone calls?

Wit: Before the Iranian embassy issue, he had conversations with Taylor that he was to send delegates to him in Liberia, headed by SYB Rogers. The delegation comprised both SLA and RUF.

Pros: Can you tell us how you knew about these calls?

Wit: The one dealing with the delegates was discussed at a Supreme Council meetin. Johnny Pual made a call even before the delegation left. The delegation was to take a letter asking for recognition and other matters that he did not discuss with us.

Pros: So did the delegation go?

Wit: yes. they went by road via Kenema and Kailahun and they went to Liberia.

Pros; Did you take note of other calls that the two people exchanged?

Wit: yes, many calls took place and one had to do with shipment of arms and ammunition. Bockarie recommended that Gen. Ibrahim facilitae the shipment of the arms and ammunition.

Pros: Do know what Gen. Ibrahim’s nationality was?

Wit: No

Pros: Do you recall his second name?

Wit: No. I dont know his nationality but i know he spoke French and had some Liberian accent.

Pros: Did Gen. Ibrahim ever come to the Supreme Council meeting?

Wit: No. The delegation headed by SYB Rogers went to Liberia, then Niger, Burkina Faso and Libya.

Pros: What about the delegation headed by Mike Lamin?

Wit: Yes, they left and came with the arms. We made an air strip in Magburaka and when they came, there was a soldier from Burkina Faso who came. Fonte Kanu was also there.

Pros: Who was Fonte Kanu?

Wit: He was a Lt. Col. in the Sierra leone army.

Pros; What was the purpose of the delegation that was headed by Mike Lamin?

Wit: It was to get arms and ammunition.

Pros: Was there any discussion as to how the arms will be paid for or obtained?

Wit: He just said they will give a percel but did not say what the percel was. By then we didnt have money, we only had diamonds and thats what was meant by percel.

Pros: After the Supreme Council meeting, how long did it take before the delegation left?

Wit: Within 48-72 hours. Within one to two weeks, the arm and ammunition came. The flight landed at night with the arms.

Pros: Do you recall the Conakry accord?

Wit: Yes

Pros: Do you know whether these arms came before or after the Conakry accord?

Wit:It was about one month before the accord.

Court adjourns for lunch at 1:30pm

2:30pm: Court resumes with the testimony of Samuel Kargbo.

Pros: Did you see any indviduals getting off the plane?

Wiit: Fonte Kanu and anther guy called Musa. Arms and ammunition were offloaded from the plane.

Pros: What kind of arms and ammunition?

Wit: RPG bombs, stinger misiles, mortar bombs, AK rounds, etc.

Pros: Any weapons?

Wit: No i did not see weapons

Pros: What happened to what you saw coming off the plane?

Wit: They dropped the ammunition and the plane left. The ammunitions were in net. Lt. Col. Fonte Kanu and Musa who had no rank had a uniform and a crown from Burkina Faso.

Pros: Can you tell the judges what the stinger misile was?

Wit: It was to be used to shoot down the jet. The Musa guy came to train us to do that. Unfortunately, the stingers were not functioning.

Pros; Do you know how to use the stringer?

Wit: You put it on your shoulder, and when the jet passes, you shoot and it will chase the jet.

Pros: What are the arms that were in that net?

Wit: Anti aircraft rounds, AKs, G3s. No arms really came but we used to call them arms and ammunition.

Pros: What happened to the ammunition?

Wit: They were all distributed among us.

Pros: Where were you when the intervention took place?

Wit: I was in Kono around the start of Feb. The handset that i had could not get to Freetown. We got a message from the brigade that Johnny Paul wanted to talk to us on the set. He said they were invading us and so we should get some arms and man power from Kono and head for Freetown. We had some fuel constraints but we raised money and left. I met Issa Sesay at Masiaka and so we decided to head for Waterloo. When we got there, the Guineans and Nigerians were there. We tried to force our way but we couldnt do that. They ousted us from Freetown. Zagalo spoke to me so that we can locate an area for them to pass. We located an area around Fogbo where a large troop was. We pushed the Kamajors and Johnny Paull and his family passed over to Masiaka.

Pros: Between May 1997 and Feb. 1998, was there any fighting between you and other factions?

Wit: Yes, we fought against the Kamajors and the Nigerians.

Pros: Can you tell us where you first saw Johnny Paul Koroma after the intervention?

Wit: I first saw him in Fogbo with his family and security personel.

Pros: What happened when you met them?

Wit: I immediately put them in my vehicle and i took him to Masiaka.

Pros: Where did you go from Masiaka?

Wit: At around 3-3:30am, Lt Col. SAJ Musa told me to move with Johnny Paul and i took him to his village in Magbukaneh.

Pros: What did Johnny Paul do there?

Wit: He told Banja to get him his satelite phone. He spoke on BBC and said he was in the hills and will come back to Freetown. He then called Taylor and they spoke about the helicopter. He told us that the helicopter will soon arrive to take us.

Pros: Can you say again what he said to the BBC?

Wit: He said he was in the hills in Freetown and said he’ll soon return to the city.

Pros; When the intervention took place, what was the reaction of your colleagues. Did any of your colleagues remain in Sierra Leone?

Wit: Yes, we stayed but some crossed over to Guinea. Some went to Liberia. They came back and joined us. I did not cross over.I stayed in the jungle with RUF.

Pros: Do you know Victior King?

Wit: He was the flight commander.

Pros: What did he do after the intervention?

Wit: I heard Johnny Paul grumbling that King had taken the helicopter to Liberia.

Pros: Did you know what happened to him?

Wit: We listened on BBC that ECOMOG arrested him at Roberts airport in Liberia.

Pros: Do you recall any other calls that Johnny Paul made on the satelite phone?

Wit: He called later and said Taylor told him that it was not possible for the helicopter to come pick us up because of the ECOMOG jets. Johnny Paul decided that we should find a place around Kabala. We went to Banja Marra’s village. The chairman got a place to stay with his family. His wife was hard pressed to use the ladies. She came outside and an old man who had been  a bat-man to her father introduced himself to her. We therefore decided to pull out of that place because we had been identified. When we listened BBC, we heard that Johnny was idenfied in a ren vehicle so we moved to another place. We met SFY Koroma and so we took his own car and left. We went close to the bush and thats where i left them. He assigned us to a mission. He said he had received a call from Mr. Taylor that we should go and capture Kono.

Pros: When you were first in red vehicle, who were those in it?

Wit: I was driving, Johnny Paul and his wife, Banja and his wife and Rambo.

Pros: All of you in that one vehicle?

Wit: Yes

Pros: Who occupied Kono when you went there?

Wit: The civilians and the Kamajors were there.

Pros: What did you agree on at the meeting in Kabala?

Wit: We said we should put aside our differences and fight together.

Pros: After the meeting in Kabala, what happened?

Wit: We all went to Makeni and decided tio advance to Kono. Superman, Akim, Hassan Bangura and other SLA and RUF were in the advance team. We were in the middle with Johnny Paul, Saj Musa, Issa Sesay and others.

Pros: so what hapopened?

Wit: We were unable to enter Kono so we decided to return because we already had lots of casualties.

Pros: Was there any communication by Johnny Paul?

Wit: He communicated with Taylor and said we should capture Kono so the helicopter will come pick Johnny Paul up.

Pros: How did you know of this communication?

Wit: I was close by to Johnny Paul upto Buedu. We did not hear what Taylor said but Johnny Paul would tell us.

Pros: What did Johnny Paul tell you about this call?

Wit: Afeter the first attempt to take Kono, we came back to Makeni and he called Taylor. Taylor told him that when he captured Kono, the helicopter will come and pick him up with his family. We therefore adnaced and captured Kono. By then the credit in the phone was finished.

Pros: When you say you took Kono, where are you talking about?

Wit: We captured Koidu town.

Pros: During the call with Taylor, did Johnny Paul say any  other thing?

Wit: No

Pros: Have you told us about all the calls that took place?

Wit: Yes

Pros: How many calls in total?

Wit: I cant remember the number. They were many.

Pros: Do you remember him talkiing to anyone else?

Wit: yes, he talkled to the president ofs Niger, Burkina Faso.

Pros; So how logn did you stay in Koidu?

Wit: One or two weeks. We got messages from sam Bockarie that Taylor had said it will not be possible for the helicopter to get to Koidu, so we should find our way to Buedu.

Pros: So what did Johnny Paul do?

Wit: He convened a meeting of commanders so that we should all take care of ourselves because he was going to Buedu. he said we should be firm and that he was going to meet with Taylor and he’ll be back. He asked that i continue to go with him.

Pros: Who did he apoint to be in charge in Koidu?

Wit: He made Super Man the Battle Field commander in Kono since we were crossing to go over to Kailahun.

Pros: What did Battle Field Commander mean?

Wiyt: He was in charge in Kono.

Pros: What other commanders were there?

Wiyt: We left several guys including Bazzy and some other RUF commanders.

Pros: The people that were SLA before the take over, what did you call them?

Wit: We called them SLA.

Pros: You said that some soldiers remained loyal to the Kabbah government right?

Wit: yes

Pros: How did you travel from Koidu to Kailahun?

Wit: We travelled by vehicle and when we got to Gandohun, we left the vehicles and used the jungle. We crossed the river to Kailahun district.

Pros: So what happend to Johnny Paul’s family?

Wit: We were all in the jungle. We went through the jungle till we got to Kailahun district. When we got to kailahun, a vehicle picked us up and took us to Buedu. We met Bockarie there. When we were there, the jet came around. Civilians were mostly in the bush.

Pros: What was Bockarie’s position at that time?

Wit: He said Buedu was the Defense Headquearter and that he was the Chief of Defense Staff.

Pros: Was there any organized attempt to get SLA to return to Sierra leone after they had gone to Liberia?

Wit: Yes, Bockarie did not want them to come back but we needed man power and so we met and agreed that they should come back.

Pros; Who went and organnized the men to come back?

Wit: He was called Pa Foday, nicknamed Ndevuyama.

Pros: Your honour, i want to move to another topic and this will be a convinient time to stop.

Judge: Mr. witness, we have come to the end of the session for today. Since you are on oath, you are not to discuss your testimony with anyone else. Do you understand?

Wit: I do

Judge: Please adjourne court for 9:00am tomorrow.