Court Resumes after Lunch Break. Examination of Witness Saidu Continues

NOTE: We apologise for the delay in publishing the transcript of yesterday’s afternoon session. This was due to unforeseen problems with the internet connections. Any inconvinience is deeply regreted.

2:30:(3:00 with 30 minutes delay for video and audio):

Judge: Mr. Werner, you may continue.

Pros: Good afternoon Mr Witness

Wit: Good afternoon

Pros: Earlieron, you said Sam Bockarie tried to use by-pass to cross the border to Liberia. What was the situation at this time concerning supplies for RUF?

Wit: There were no supplies. We depended on captured materials from the enemy.

Pros: Did the situation change at some point?

Wit: It changed a little. When Bockarie was trying to get passage.

Pros: How did the situation change?

Wit: We were not getting supplies anymore. That was when we depended on captured materials.

Pros: Did this particular situation change?

Wit: Until after the AFRC coup. Things changed then.

Pros: Now, before the AFRC coup, when you were in Kailahun, can you recall any one coming from outside Sierra Leone to Kailahun?

Wit: yes

Pros: Who was it?

Wit: The delegates who went with Sankoh to the Abidjan Peace Accord, Mr. Deen Jalloh and Philip Palmer. They came by the Koindu end from Guinea and crossed into Nongowa, Kenema district.

Pros: When you were in Kailahun with Dennis Lansana, where was Sankoh at that time?

Wit: he was in Zigoda at the time we recaptured Kailahun

Pros: After that where did he go?

Wit: he went to Abidjan for peace talks.

Pros: Where were you when sankoh left for Abidjan?

Wit: I was in Kailahun. This was in 1996

Pros: What if anything did you hear when he left?

Wit: Before he departed the RUF territory, he called CO Mohamed to take over as second in command till he returned.

Pros: To your knowlege, what if anything did he tell Co Mohamed?

Wit: He told him to be in charge until he returned

Pros: Anything else?

Wit: To my knowlege, except when he told him to come and be based at Zogoda and that CO Mohamed will get instructions from him later.

Pros: Who if any one was promoted deputy to CO Mohamed?

Wit: It was sam Bockarie

Pros: How did you learn about that?

Wit: We were in Kailahun with Bockarie when Sankoh left. That was what he told CO Mohamed.

Pros: How did you learn of this?

Wit: He was not promoted. he was just given that assignment because he was actually third in command. From Sankoh, we considered Zino and then Bockarie.

Pros: Why did you consider Bockarie as next to CO Mohamed at that time?

Wit: He was a brave fighter and the combatants liked the way he performed.

Pros: How was the relationship between Mohamed and Bockarie?

Wit: It was not so cordial because Bockarie looked like a man who was power hungry. He did not take orders from Zino.

Pros: How did you know about that?

Wit: Eg, in the fall of Zogoda, Mohamed never came where Bockarie was because he was scared of the infighting.

Pros: So when did Zogoda fall?

Wit: From 1996-97

Pros: Why did it fall?

Wit: When Sankoh traveled for the peace talks, Kamajors invaded Zogoda when Sankoh had announced a cease fire. Mohamed was not strong to fight them.

Pros: Where was Zino when Zogoda was attacked by the Kamajors?

Wit: He was in Zogoda jungle itself

Pros: Did anything happen to him after that attack?

Wit: They diserted Zogoda and went to Peyama jungle. They crossed the Moa and came to Kailahun district. Many of them were killed along the way. But for Mohamed, his bodyguard, an SBU told us that they slept at a farm house. He said early in the morning, he woke up and did not see Mohamed. He only saw his pistol. The SBU said he thought  Mohamed had just gone to the bush. He said he decided to trace him. He said he called out for him but could not hear him. He didnt see him. So he returned to the farm house, took Mohamed’s gun and he crossed over to Kailahun. he came and explained to Bockarie.

Pros: So in you knowlege, what happened to Zino?

Wit: Well form the explanation that we got, Bockarie called the bodyguards to go look for Mohamed. A team was led by Mohamed Kamboma. They went for about a week but could not see him. Later, information came in that he crossed through Guinea and went away.

Pros: To your knowlege, why did Mohamed leave for Guinea?

Wit: From what i saw, he was trying to avoid infighting because Bockarie did not take orders from him.

Pros: After the fall of Zogoda and before the AFRC coup, what if anything did you know was happening in Kambia district?

Wit: Ahh,…mmmm, i dont know what was happening there

Pros: Nothing was happening there?

Wit: there was a jungle in the North. That is where Superman, Gibril Massaqoui and others were.

Pros: Who was Superman?

Wit: He was a vanguard, his real name was Dennis Mingo

Pris: Who was Gibril Massaqoui?

Wit: He was a Jr. Commando

Pros: Do you know of anything that happened?

WIT: We heard that they had fought and captured a 40 barrel misile from the Guineans.

Pros: How did you learn that?

Wit: After the AFRC had overthrown, the roads opened up, The 40 barrel vehicle was driven and brought to Manowa crossing point. I went there and saw the 40 barrel misile.

Pros: When was this captured?

Wit: During the time when the RUF were at the Northern jungle, that was when they captured it.

Pros: Where was Manowa Cross Point?

Wit: When you leave Bunumbu Teachers College, want to cross to Pendembu. There was a big river where a ferry used to run before the war.

Pros: What happened with the 40 barrell misile?

Wit: As far as i know, it was at the river bank for a long time, upto the junta period, upto the intervention because after the intervention, some engineers came from Liberia to repair it so that the RUF will use it.

Pros: Who sent the engineers from Liberia?

Wit: To the knowlege of the RUF, they were sent by Charles Taylor

Pros: What happened when the engineers came to Sierra leone?

Wit: They came and started repairing it. They were about to conclude the repairs when a helicopter gunship flew over the Moa River Bank and assulted the exact position where the 40 barrel was. It damaged it completely and injured some men who were repairing the barrell. The RUF did not succeed to repair it.

Pros: How did you know of this?

Wit: When i was passing from Kailahun to Bunumbu, i went and saw the sight myself.

Pros: Did you learn about the 40 barrell misile?

Wit: What i knew was that if they had repaired it, we could have used it against the government.

Pros: When this 40 barrel misile was captured, where was the artilleray unit of the RUF?

Wit: They were deployed all over the RUF territory. There was no one among them who knew how to use the weapon. After the repairs, they would have looked out for somebody to shoot the weapon.

Pros: How did you know that?

Wit: Well we all knew in the RUF that there was no one who knew how to operate it.

Ptos: Before the AFRC coup, what if anything happened to Sankoh?

Wit: We heard that he had been arrested in Nigeria.

Pros: You told us before about Philip Palmer, what did you know about him?

Wit: He was a delegate together with Deen jalloh who went with Sankoh for the peace talks.

Pros: What else did you learn about him before the coup?

Wit: It was at that time that Sankoh was arrested in Nigeria. About four or fine of them went. I think the Govt. persuaded them to leave the RUF. They did not report to the RUF. We just heard that they were in Freetown and were in a hotel. So the radio operator that they was with them used a government radio to talk to Bockarie that they should meet in Guinea and talk peace because Sankoh was arrested. So they went to Koindu and the Guinea riverside. Bockarie persuaded them to cross over to the RUF territory. They talked for sometime. At the end of the day, Bockarie arrested them that they had betrayed the government. They were brought back to RUF territory. They were there till the AFRC coup took place.

Pros: Who exactly were those arrested and brought to RUF territory?

Wit: Philip Palmer, Deen Jalloh, Gbassay, the radio operator.

Pros: So what if anything happened to them after the arrest?

Wit: They were in jail and Bockarie said they will be there till Sankoh is released.

Pros: Could you tell us what happend when the AFRC overthrew?

WIT: We just heard that they had obverthrown and had called us to join them. I dont know how they staged the coup.

Pros: What happend to you after the AFRC coup?

Wit: We had to move to Freetown. I went there twice to collect food ration for the RUF soldiers in kailahun. I received the rations and brought them to Kailahun.

Pros: Where were you based at that time?

Wit: kailahun

Pros: To whom were you reporting at that time?

Wit: CO Dennis

Pros: Who if anyone can you remember having seen in Freetown who was RUF?

Wit: I met Sam Bockarie there. Issa Sesay, Superman, P. B Vandy, Gibril Massaquoi, all went toFreetown and i met them there.

Pros: Apart from these, who else can you remember having seen in Freetown?

Wit: CO Lion. He was with Bockarie and some other senior RUF vanguards.

Pros: How long was Bockarie in Freetown?

Wit: he did not stay long in Freetown. he was based in Kenema.

Pros: How did you know he was in Kenema?

Wit: You pass through Kenema to go to Freetown and i met him there

Pros: Who else did you meet in kenema?

Wit: He was together with CO Lion and other RUF vanguards.

Pros: Where were you when the intervention took place?

Wit: I was in Kailahun town

Pros: What if anything happened to you?

Wit: Nothing happened to me. I was in Kailahun.

Pros: Where did the RUF/AFRC go after they were pushed from Freetown?

Wit: They all came to Kailahun.

Pros: You told us you had learned about the military structure in the RUF, what did you know at that time about brigades?

Wit: After the intervention, the man power increased and so they said we should organize the RUF in brigades and battalions.

Pros: What did you mean by the RUF/AFRC combination?

Wit: I mean when the two groups were pushed out, they all came to Kailahun.

Pros: So what brigades were created?

Wit: 1st and 2nd brigades were created. the first brigade was in kailahun district and the second brigade in Kono.

Pros: How did you know that?

Wit: I was in Kailahun. They sent me to Koindu which was the first brigade.

Pros: At that time, who was in charge on the ground?

Wit: Sam Bockarie

Pros: How long did the two brigade system operate?

Wit: Until there was finaly peace.

Pros: Who was the commander for the second brigade?

Wit: CO Rambo. He was a Liberian vanguard for the RUF

Pros: Who was in charge of the first brigade?

Wit: CO Dennis Lansana.

Pros: You said you were based in Kailahun until the intervention, how long were you in Kailahun in 1998?

Wit: I did not stay there for long. I went to Koindu around March 1998, i was now based there.

Pros: Who assigned you to Koindu?

Wit: Bockarie

Pros: Who was in charge in Koindu when you went there?

Wit: When i went there, the command structure was not organized. It was just a ground where there was a company. I was there as Operations Commander.

Pros: How did you use to communicate with other deployments?

Wit: We had a radio set in Koindu

Pros: Who was the radio operator there?

Wit: Operator Selasie. Selasie later told me that Bockarie had bee promoted to general

Pros: Did he say who promoted Bockarie?

Wit: He said it was Taylor

Pros: How did he know?

Wit: Through the radio

Pros;So what did you do?

Wit: We took it as it was. When he received the message, he wrote in a radio log book.

Pros: What was written in the message?

Wit: The message came from Buedu, that Bockarie was promoted to the rank of general and it was by Charles Taylor. That is what i read.

Pros: What else if anything did you learn about radio messages?

Wit: Another message came. We were operating with the AFRC but we had some problems. They always said we were not fully trained military personel. The message came that the two groups should come together as one to fight.

Pros: Where did you read that message?

Wit: Koindu.

Pros: Where was the message coming from?

Wit: Buedu. The message stated that Charles Taylor sent the message that if we dont fight together with the AFRC, we’ll lose our ground.

Pros: What if anything did you read about Taylor when you looked at the message?

Wit: It was the advice he gave to Bockarie.

Pros: On your birthday April 23, did you remember anything that happened?

Wit: yes, Bockarie and his securities came to Koindu. They met us there, some 100 meters from the main town. He stoped and asked for us. He called us and we all went to the security post. We met him there. He had a satelite phone. When we went close to him, he took out the phone and started communicating directly to Liberia to Taylor. An Alpha jet came from the  Guinean side. We all ran. He left right away and went towards the Liberian side of the road.

Pros: Who were Bockaroie’s security that you saw?

Wit: His security commander who was very close to me Mohamed Banya.

Pros: Did he have any nick name?

Wit: Yes, Shabado.

Pros: Who else did you see?

Wit: He had Mohamed James, there was another who stayed with us in Koindu called Ray. I did not know his real name.

Pros: Where were you when Bockarie started communicating on the statelite phone?

Wit: I was standing at his back, very close to him, like 3 feet distance.

Pros: What exactly did you hear?

Wit: I did not hear exactly the words that he spoke. I cannot say the exact words.

Pros: What if anything did you hear?

Wir: When i got there, he had just pressed something and started talkking, when i asked the others, they said he was going to Liberia. I think he was asking for clearance that he was on his way to go and see Taylor.

Pros; Why did you think that was what he was saying?

Wit” Mohamed Banya told me.

Pros: What if anything did banya tell you they were going to Liberia for?

Wit: he said they were going to Liberia to meet with Taylor to get Materials.

Pros: What if anything did you hear when Bockarie was on the phone?

Wit: I was not really concentrating on his conversation. I was watching the satelite phone because that was my first time to see the satelite. I was talking to Mohamed Banya at the same time.

Pros: What did you hear Bockarie say?

Wit: I did not get any of the words clearly.

Pros: What did you mean when you said you were close to Shabado?

Wit: He was my close friend

Pros: What did he tell you about the work of Bocakarie’s security?

Wit: One of Bockarie’s securuty men was with us, as Bockarie’s eye among us. His name was Ray.

Pros: Who sent Ray to Koindu?

Wit: Bockarie.

Pros; You told us you were close with Shabado in 1998, what if anything did he tell you about his moves?

Wit: Well somtimes when i went to Buedu where the Defense Headquater was, i’ll go to Shabado’s place. Sometimes they would have returned from Liberia or getting ready to leave for Liberia. he will update me on those movements. He will tell me that Bockarie had put in for some materials and that the materials were on the way.

Pros: How many trips did Shabado say they had made to Liberia?

Wit: Apart from the trip that was made on my birthday, he told me that they made two more trips.

Pros: What did he tell you after the first trip?

Wit: He said they brought materials

Pros: Can you remember when he came back from Liberia with materials?

Wit: I cant remember the exact time

Pros: What did he tell you about the second trip?

Wit: He told us about the same mateerials

Pros: You told us about your birthday in 1998, the first time you spoke with Shabado, was it after or before your birthday?

Wit: The first time i saw him was on my birthday, the next ones were after my birthday

Pros: How long after your birthday did you have the conversation with him?

Wit: I cant remember how long it took but i know it didnt take long.

Pros: How did you use to move around?

Wit: I had a motor bike, thats what i used to move around

Pros: In 1998, what trip did you take outside Koindu?

Wit: Bockarie gave me a letter to take to Foya to give to Jungle. That happened once.

Pros: Where did he give you the letter?

Wit: Buedu

Pros: What did he tell you?

Wit: he gave me the letter and saidlook, i want you to take this letter to Jungle. He is now in Foya and we have a problem, so we are expecting something quickly. I went and gave Jungle the letter.

Pros: Who was Jungle?

Wit: He was one of the Liberian fighters who used to come over to the RUF territory.

Pros: Where is Foya Tenga?

Wit: There is a customs in Buedu that is called Dawa on the border. From Dawa to Foya is about 4 miles. Foya is in Liberia. Dawa is on the Sierra leonean side.

Pros: What happened when you gave the letter to Jungle?

Wit: I gave him the letter, he opened it, read it and said he was now going to Monrovia to meet with Taylor. So i took my bike and returned to Koindu.

Pros: What happened to you after that?

Wit: I went back to Koindu.

Pros: Did Jungle say how he had communicated with Bockarie?

Wit: I want to believe they spoke through a radio set.

Pros: When did you first meet Jungle?

Wit: That was my first time to meet him in person but i’d seen him before in RUF territory.

Pros: How did you know he had come before to RUF territory?

Wit: He did not come to our territory in secret. People will feel relieved when he came to our territoriy. Everybody knew he travelled between Taylor and Bockarie.

Pros: Why did people feel relieved when they saw him?

Wit: People always thought he came with materials or good information.

Pros: How did you know he was working directly with Taylor?

Wit: In the RUF, there were certain things that were open information. It was not a secret.

Judge: I think we are upto our time limit and its time for us to adjourn for the day. Mr. Witness, be reminded that while you are under oath, you should not discuss your evidence with anyone else, right?

Wit: yes my lord.

Judge: Please adjourn court for 9:30 tomorrow morning.