Mr. Allain Werner: Good afternoon your honours, i’ll be leading this witness. The witness will testify in Krio and he is a Christian. Witness has said that he wishes to rescind earlier protective measures.
Judge: Please bring the witness in.
Witness is sworn on the Bible.
Pros: Good afternoon Mr. Witness
Pros: Could you state your name?
Wit: My name is Albert Hindowa Saidu.
Pros; Do you have any nick name?
Wit: yes, they used to call me Abor, my colelagues with whom i lived in the jungle. The Liberians who came to us. My name was Albert so since the Liberians could not pronounce it well, they called me Abor so everybody got used to it.
Pros: Are you known by any other nick name?
Pros: What is it?
Wit: Later on, some of my friends called me Uprising.
Pros: What is your date of birth?
Wit: April 23, 1967
Pros: Where were you born?
Wit: Taiama, Moyamba District, Kori Chiefdom
Pros: What is your ethnicity?
Pros: What is your education level?
Wit: Right now, i am a graduate from an institution in Bo. SAIDAC. I did a diploma in agriculture.
Pros: Before the war, what was your educational level?
Wit: Before the war, i was a final year student, doing my Teachers Certificate at the Bunumbu Teachers College. That was from 1988-90.
Pros: Where did you do your diploma?
Wit: Bo, the second city in Sierra Leone. At Southern Agro-Industrial, Development Associate Center (SAIDAC)
Pros: When did you finish your diploma?
Wit: Last year
Pros: Is there another Bunumbu in Kailahun Dostrict?
Wit: Yes in Luawa Chiefdom.
Pros: So where were in 1990?
Pros: To your knowlege, what happened in Liberia in 1990?
Wit: Well, we heard that a rebel war had started in Liberia.
Pros: And who were fighting there?
Wit: We heard that it was the NPFL.
Pros: Who was the boss of the NPFL?
Wit: We heard that it was Charles Taylor.
Pros: What can you remember hearing about Taylor and the war in Liberia?
Wit: We heard that they were fighting in Liberia. We also heard that Taylor said they were using Sierra Leone as an ECOMOG base and so Sierra Leone will taste the bitterness of war.
Pros: Who did you know was Taylor?
Wit: We heard that he was the rebel leader for the NPRC?
Pros: How did you know that it was Taylor talking?
Wit: Well we heard him call his name when Robin White interviewed him on BBC.
Pros: Do you remember the year 1991?
Pros: What can you remember happened in 1991?
Wit: We heard about a rebel invasion in Sierra Leone through Bumaru.
Pros: What were you doing at that time?
What: I have said i was a student at Bunumbu
Pros; And what happened?
Wit: From March to May, in May, we saw the rebels when they entered Bunumbu teachers college.
Pros: When you say the rebels, who are you talking about?
Wit: the RUF and some Liberians. We were there when they entered and we ran to the bush.
Pros: And what happened?
Wit: We ran to the bush, later, they went and captured all of us in the bush and they brought us to the town.
Pros: And what happened?
Wit: After we had been captured, we were with them there for about a week, and they decided to send us to the training base in Pendembu. They said we should go and train to fight for our country.
Pros: Do you know how many of you were sent to the training base?
Wit: We were many, up to about 100. We were mixed, young ones, adults etc.
Pros: How old were the young people?
Wit: From their looks, they looked like about 9 years of age.
Pros: What were their gender?
Wit: Both male and female.
Pros: In which district is Pendembu?
Wit: kailahun District
Pros: So what happened when you arrived there?
Wit: When we went there, we met our companions training there. We met categories of people. The young boys were SBUs, the girls were the WACs and we the men were put in our own group.
Pros: Like how many people were there?
Wit: Many people, cant say the number.
Pros: What does SBU stand for?
Wit: Small Boys Unit.
Pros: What does WACs stand for?
Wit: I didnt know what the letters stood for but it was the group for women
Pros: How old were the female in the WACS group?
Wit: Some were young, some youths, some old, they were mixed.
Pros: How young?
Wit: From 17, 18, thats what i mean by young.
Pros: How long were you in Pendembu?
Wit: I spent about three months there. Thats when we graduated.
Pros; What did you do in these three months?
Wit: We underwent military training, how to shoot a gun, how to attack a town, how to cover when you see your enemy.
Pros: One question about the SBUs, how old were the boys who were trained in that unit?
Wit: From the same age group, 9 to 13 years.
Pros: Who trainied you?
Wit: The training instructors.
Pros: What if anything did you learn about these instructors?
Wit: They were Liberians
Pros: How many Liberian instructors are we talking about?
Wit: About 8-9.
Pros: What else did you learn about them?
Wit: The training was hard. They were giving us hard training.
Pros: When you say they spoke in Liberian language, what do you mean?
Wit: It was not Krio. The usual Liberian language. Even their names suggested they were Liberians.
Pros: What if anything did you learn about where these Liberians themselves were trained?
Wit: All i know was that they were from Liberia. They were called Special Forces. Those of us who they trained were called Junior Commandos.
Pros; What if anything did you learn about the Special Forces?
Wit: Even the way they passed commands, they were different. They were NPFL.
Pros: Can you remember the name of any of them?
Wit: Yes, like C.O Big Darling, C.O Nyamator, C.O After the War, C.O Rebel Baby, etc
Pros:Who if any one was in charge of the training?
Wit: We used to see other Liberians there. There was one called C.O Sam Tua, Gen. Ndopo, Gen. Mustapha. They were very frequent there.
Pros; Are you saying these people were in charge of the base?
Wit: Like in the case of C.O Sam Tua, he was in charge of the base.
Pros: To your knowlege, what was Sam Tua’s nationality?
Wit: he was a Liberian, NPFL.
Pros: How do you know that?
Wit: The instructirs who trained us always answered to him as boss.
Pros: Who was Ndopo?
Wit: He was one of the Special Forces who used to visit the base.
Pros: And Mustapha?
Wit: he was a Gambian. His accent was different and even the instructors told us.
Pros: Who were the Jr. Commandos?
Wit: Those of us who were captured in Sierra Leone.
Pros: Were you aware of any other group?
Wit: We heard about Vanguards also
Pros: What did you hear about them?
Wit: We heard that they were the ones trained in Liberia to fight in Sierra Leone. Some of them told us later.
Pros; Who was the vanguard who told you this?
Wit: Morris Kallon
Pros: Which nationalities were the vanguards?
Wit: Some were Sierra Leoneans ad some Liberians
Pros: When you were at the training base in Pendembu, which Vanguard did you meet there?
Wit: I didnt know of them at that time until the time we graduated
Pros: Which other vanguards did you meet there?
Wit: I met Kallon as the commander. there were other vanguards there but i cant remember their names.
Pros: Who was in charge of the RUF at this time?
Wit: Foday Sankoh
Pros: How did you know this at the time of your training?
Wit: There were some songs that they taught us to sing calling Sankoh’s name, saying he was the president of Sierra Leone.
Pros: Did you ever see Sankoh himself?
Pros: When was the first time you saw him
Wit: The first time was when i was with Kallon. We travelled together to a place called Mansion Ground, that was where i saw Sankoh.
Pros: You said you were singing at the training base, what kind of song were you singing?
Wit: There was a song where we said Lion and when we asked, they told us it was Sankoh that was called the Lion.
Pros: What happened again at the training ground?
Wit: My friends and i thought of escaping. Two of our friends tried to escape and were caught and seriously punished. C.O sam Tua said that he was setting an example for all of us to see. Right in my presence, he shot the two men in our presence. That was the first time i saw a human beign killed. he said if any of us tried to escape, he’ll do the same thing to us. This created so much panick in me because i was also thinking of escaping. They dragged the two men away. I dont know if they were buried or were just left in the bush.
Pros: How many training bases were there in the RUF?
Wit: the base was in Pendembu. They were trying to have another base in Kailahun. To prevent people from escaping, they established some other base in Kailahun town. On the Methodist Secondary School campus.
Pros: Which kind of training did the SBUs undertake in pendembu?
Wit: they had their own training, not as difficult as ours.
Pros: Were you the only one who graduated at that time?
Pros: How many of you?
Wit: We were many. I cant say the exact number.
Pros: What happened to you after the graduation?
Wit: They sent me to Bunumbu Target
Pros; You said there were two Bunumbu’s in Kailahun district, which Bunumbu are you refering to?
Wit: Bunumbu Teachers Colege, Kpejeh West Chiefdom.
Pros: Explain what you mean by Traget C
Wit: These were the codes given to various targets
Pros: Were you the only fighter at Taget C?
Wit: There were other fighters there already
Pros: How many fighters
Wit: Well when we went there, we met some Liberian fighters there.
Pros: What group did the Liberians belong to?
Pros: How do you know that?
Wit: they always said so and created a difference between us.
Pros: How did they create a line of difference?
Wit: Because they said they came and trained us, so they were the boses
Pros: So how about the vanguards?
Wit: Well they had their misunderstandings with them too.
Pros: What else if anything did you do when you were at this Target C
Wit: Most of the men there were not educated. So when an issue of administration came up, they asked me to write. After that, Kallon asked me to serve as his adjutant.
Pros: So how many adjutants were working for Kallon?
Wit: I do not know. The position was not permanent. But when i started working with him, i became his permanent clerk.
Pros: Can you explain what you did for Kallon in the course of your duties as adjutant?
Pros: When he received calls, like when sankoh called him to Pendembu. I went with him. We met Sankoh. he asked me to write down all the details of his discussion with Sankoh.
Pros: So what kind of document did you see?
Wit: At one time, Sankoh invited him for briefing. He asked me to go with him and we went. When he received the letter, he told me that the Lion had sent a letter and that i should read it for him.
Judge: Mr. Witness, we now need to break for the day and the resume at 9:30 tomorrow. I must remind you that you should not discuss your testimony with anybody. Please adjourne court for 9:30 tomorrow morning.
Court adjourns at 4:30PM.