Court Resumes after Mid-Morning Break. Testimony of Witness Saidu Continues

12:00: Court resumes after mid-morning break with continuation of evidence of witness Saidu.

Judge: Mr. Werner, you may proceed.

Pros: Mr Witness, let me present you a document, do you recognise it?

Wit: yes, it is the promotion slip that i spoke of when i was promoted to Major.

Pros: Can you recognize the singature?

Wit: yes

Pros: What does the AG stand for?

Wit: Acting

Pros: CDS in bracket?

Wit: Chief of Defense Staff.

Pros: Your honour, we present that this document be admited in evidence

Judge: Granted

Pros: Mr. Witness, you told us about some meetings in Buedu in 1998, which other meeting in Buedu can you remember?

Wit: I remember another meeting after Sam Bocakarie had gone to Liberia and returned, around the time Issa gave us the promotion, Bockarie was not there. When he returned, at that time, we were still in Kojndu. When he came, he convened a meeting but i did not attend that meeting. I went to Buedu after the meeting i came to know what the meeting was aboiut.

Pros: When did the meeting take place?

Wit: It took place after my promotion, that was in early 1999.

Pros: What did you hear about that meeting?

Wit; When i went to Buedu, just as usual i went to my wife and the following morning, i went to Bockarie’s ground. I met his guys, Shabado, Ray, etc. They asked me why i didnt attend the meeting. I told them that my ground had some pressure so i had to be there. I asked them what the meeting was about. They explained to me that Master had come with lots of ammunition and that he came with Eddy Kanneh, an AFRC strong man. He said they went to Taylor, went to Burkina Faso and came back with lots of ammunition. They were even drawing plans in the meeting. They said almost all the frontline commanders were there. They said they had drawn a plan to attack Kono and Shegbwema simultaneously. They told me Jungle was present, Bockarie and Eddy Kanneh were present. they said Abu Keita and some other Liberians were to be there. They said keita was to be with us for the mission.

Pros: Who did you refer to when you said Master.

Wit: Bockarie, and Taylor was called The father.

Pros:What else did they tell you about what happened in the meeting?

Wit: They told me about the meeting, that Master and Eddy Kanneh had come with lots of ammunitaion and so all frontline commanders were there. They explaiened where they went and what they brought.

Pros; Who explained that?

Wit: Bockarie was giving the report. He said there were lots of dignatories at the meeting, even SYB Rogers, the War Council chairman was there, the Liberian government representatives were also there. He said SYB Rogers thanked them in the meeting. Other senior officers like Kallon and Issa spoke and thanked them.

Pros: You said you were told about what they had brought, what did they say about that?

Wit: They brought arms and ammunition, RPG rockets, bombs, they brought lots of those.

Pros; What were you told about the war plan. Who drew the war plan?

Wit: Bockarie, together with the other senior officers like Kallon, Issa, etc. They divided the officers, who goes to Kono or who goes to some other places.

Pros: You mentioned Keita, who was he?

Wit: He was a Liberian fighter whom they said was also present at the meeting. He was to be part of the mission to go and attack.

Pros: Were you told who sent Keita?

Def: Objection, leading question

Judge: Rephrase

Pros: What else were you told about Keita?

Wit: They told me Keita came in for the mission, that he was to go by Bunumbu/Sebwema end. he came together with Jungle, Gen, Ibrahim, etc.

Pros: You said Issa Sesay was there, where did he go after the meeting?

Wit: 2nd brigade was his deployment, he went to Kono

Pros: Who else went to Kono?

Wit: Superman, PB Vandy

Pros: You told us about several meetings, who if any one was in charge of taking the minutes of the meetings?

Def: Obj, compound questions, whats the foundation, which meeting?

Pros: I will rephrase. You spoke of the meeting in Buedu. Who took minutes of that meeting?

Wit: We had the security unit like the IDU, they were taking minutes, the IO too will take minutes and they will put all together as one minute

Pros: What was the joint security unit?

Wit: It was a combination of all the security units like the IO, the IDU, etc. There was one head for that unit.

Pros: Who if any one did you know working with the Joint Security?

Wit: It was one Jr. Commando, Sheku. He was the one who reported to Pa Sankoh or Bockarie

Pros: Mr. Witness, after you went to Buedu and were told by Shabado about the meeting, what did you do?

Wit: After that, i went back to my ground in Koindu.

Pros: And then what if anything happened at that time?

Wit: We heard that the offensive had started, that the 2nd brigade had gone and had their own meeting on how to launch their own operation.

Pros; How did you learn about this?

Wit: They were the first to start their offensive and were successful and the news spread round that Kono had been captured. They used to send radio messages.

Pros: What did the second brigade capture in Kono?

Wit: the captured Koidu town

Pros: Can you remember the date of the attack?

Wit: No

Pros: How long was it after the meeting was the attack launched?

Wit: It did not take long

Pros: What if anything happened in the 1st brigade after the 2nd brigade attacked Koidu?

Wit: We heard that they attacked Bunumbu Teachers College, they advanced and captured Segbwema, they attacked Komende and captured it,that was on the road to Kenema, they went to Jumu Kafebu and captured it.

Pros: Where were you at the time the first bridade attacked these places?

Wit: I was still in Koindu

Pros: can you tell us in which districk Komede is?

Wit: Kenema district

Pros: Jumu Kafebu?

Wit: This is also in the Kenema district

Pros: Well after they had reached Jumu Kafebu, Bockarie changed our assignment. harris and I were sent as reinforcements for the 1st Brigade. We met them at Jumu Kafebu. They burnt the entire town. It had a very big mosque and that was the only structure that was not burnt. From there we attacked Kenema.

Pros: So who burnt Jumu Kafebu?

Wit: RUF

Pros: So who was in charge of that offensive?

Wit: I met Eagle their, Keita, infact that was where i fisrt saw Keita. Shabado too was on that attack.

Pros: So who was in charge of the offensive?

Wit: Bockarie himself was in charge

Pros: Who was in charge on the ground in Jumu Kafebu?

Wit: I met Eagle there as commander

Pros: What happened to you after that?

Wit: We all attacked Kenema twice but the attack failed. It was during the attack that Shabado died and a few others. So we withdrew and came to Jumu Kafebu and Komende. We set defensives there.

Pros; Are you talking of kenema town or district?

Wit: Kenema town

Pros: How long were you in Komende?

Wit: When we withdrew, Bockarie withdrew some manpower from us. Harris was in charge of the troops that stayed. We were there till the first disarmament in 2000.

Pros: Do you remember July 1999, what happened?

Wit: We were in Komende when we heard that Sankoh and others had gone for the Lome Accord.

Pros: Where did Sankoh go after Lome?

Wit: When he signed the accord, we heard that the government had given him a position and so he moved to Freetown.

Pros: Where was he staying in Freetown?

Wit: It was at Hill Station, at a place called Mansion Ground.

Pros; Do you remember telling us about Jackson Swarray? Do you know where he was in 1999?

Wit: He was in Kono

Pros; How long did he stay there?

Wit: Upto the singing of the Lome accord. Sankoh called him to Freetown so he went there. he went there with some Black Guards

Pros: Who were these black guards?

Wit: I can remember some of them that Sankoh came with to Segbwema, Jackson, Gibril Massaquoi, Gbassay Ngobeh, Augustine Pine, Alloycious Alpha, Jaso Brima, a woman, FOC, Eddy kanneh, etc

Pros: You said the black guards were there, what else were you told about the people who were there in Freetown?

Wit: Like Gibril Massaquoi, Eddy Kanneh, these were not black guards but they were there.

Pros: You told us that jackson went to be with Sankoh in Freetown, who else went there?

Wit: Gbessay Ngobeh, Soriba Mohamed, Alloycios Alpha, Akim Turay, Jaso Brima, they were many who went there.

Pros: Who was Akim?

Wit: Akim was an AFRC soldier, even Soriba Mohamed but they were all there with Sankoh.

Pros: On the defensive in Komende, what if anything did you hear of that was going on in Foya or Lofa County?

Wit: I heard that LURD rebels had started attacking Lofa County

Pros: And what else did you hear about the LURD rebels?

Wit: I heard that they were trying to cut off the supply line that was between the RUF and the Liberian government

Pros: What else did you hear about Lofa County?

Wit: The next thing i heard was that Bockarie was trying to send some RUF manpower to help the Liberian government to fight against the LURD rebels.

Pros: Why did he send some men there?

Wit: As usual, there used to be our supply route through Liberia and if the LURD rebels settle there, our supply route will be cut off.

Pros: What if anything did you learn about the man power that went?

Wit: Some men went there and some of our men died there

Pros: Who died there fighting?

Wit: We had some RUF Jr. Commandos, like CO. Komba Gbundehma, he died there, Mohamed GMG also died there. Karankay also died there.

Pros: Who was in command of the RUF manpower that went there?

Judge: Leading, rephrase

Pros: To your knowlege, what was Komba Gbondehma’s assignment when he went there?

Wit: he was in the Northern Jungle. He was a commander.

Pros: What did you hear about his assignment in Lofa County?

Wit: he led the troops that went to Lofa

Pros: You said you stayed in Komende until the first disarmament, what did you mean?

Wit: Two disarmements took place after Lome. The first one was led by Sankoh. Sankoh and Gen. Opande met us in Swgbwema and told us about the accord. He told us that we should start disarmament. We were to go and disarm to the Indian Contingent at Daru barracks

Pros: What happened to you when you disarmed?

WiT: I withdrew with my troops at Komende, we went to Segbwema until 2000 and the CDF started some pocket resistances in those axis. They started tormenting some RUF men. So we wrote a report and sent it. Issa was based in Kono and was in charge. By then, Bockarie had left the RUF.

Pros: Where was Sankoh at this time?

Wit: He was arrested at that time.

Pros: Where was Bockarie at that time?

Wit: When  he left the RUF, he left with a huge amount of man power and materials, he went vto Liberia to Taylor

Pros: How did you know about thus?

Wit: I want 2 mins to explain something. At that time, Bockarie was causing some problems at that time.

Pros: You just answered my question and i want us to move forward.

Pros: So who was in charge at that time when sankoh was arrested?

Wit: Issa Sesa

Pros: So what happened when you reported the CDF activities?

Wit: Those of us in Segbwema wrote a report to Issa and informed him. We told him we had already disarmed. Issa wrote a letter and gave it to Gbessay Ngobeh. He gave me the letter and said Issa wanted me to take the letter to Gen. 50 in vahun.

Pros: Where was Issa located then?

Wit: he was resdiing in Koidu town.

Pros: You siad he asked you to take the letter to gen. 50 in Vahun, in which country is Vahun?

Wit: In Liberia, I think it was also in Lofa County.

Pros: Who was gen. 50?

Pros: He was a Liberian government Gen who was based there

Pros: What was his real name?

Wit: I used to hear people call him Benjamin but i dont know his last name

Pros: What did you do when you got the letter?

Wit: I passed through Pendembu. I met an RUF soldier there called Prince Kosia. Both of us went to Vahun. We entered in the afternoon. We met the ground soldiers, Liberians. The Liberians asked us. We told them Issa sent us to hand a letter to Gen. 50. One of them led us to the place. We met him sitting down playing music. We greeted him and gave the letter to him.

Pros: What happened after that?

Wit: he gave us chairs and we sat down. He opened the letter. he read it and said gentlemen, we’ll pass the night here and tomorrow you will return. I’ll talk to the father and tomorrow you’ll return. We ate and the following morning, we ate again. Around 10Am, he called us and said, the things you have come for are ready. We left and went to another place where two vehicles were waiting. There were ammunitions in the vehicle. he gave is the vehicle with the ammunition. He gave me fuel for my motor bike.

Pros: Who drove the two vehicles?

Wit: They were Liberians. the drivers were already there. There were few men who were there to escort. We all went to Bumaru and offloaded the materials. the vehicles returned to Liberia. They gave us manpower in Bumaru to take the arms to Pendembu.

Pros: Who were the manpower?

Wit: Commandos and strong civilians

Pros: What happened after that?

Wit: After CO Issa had sent for the ammunition and all the materials to be taken to Kono, i went back to Segbwema. He sent word that we should go to the first brigade and take our own supplies. We went and took 50 AK-47 rifles. We left back for Segbwema. We distributed the arms among ourselves. We took the arms from CO Pass-Away. We did not use the arms until we were disarmed.

Judge: Counsel for defense will not start cross-examination now because of the lunch break. We’ll adjourn and resume with cross-examination of the witness after lunck break. Please adjourn for lunch.