Witness TFI-539 Continues Evidence with Facial and Voice Distortion

9:30(10:00 with 30 mins delay in video and audio): Court resumes in open session with facial and voice distortion of the witness.

Judge reminds witness of his oath.

Judge: Please proceed Mr. Koumjin

Pros: Your honour, just before we proceed, i just want to inform you honours that pursuant to the oreder of the chamber yesterday, regarding the production of the original photograph that was in question, we sent a message to Freetown and all efforts to trace the original have not been successful.

Judge: Mr. Munyard, do you have a response?

Def: Just that i am astonished that such an important exhibit cannot be traced. But i’ll warn that we try to rectify that kind of problem the next time.

Judge: I agree with Mr. Munyard on this. I hope we try to avoid a situation liek this the next time. You may proceed with your evidence.

Pros: We ended up yesterday when your plane landed in Burkina Faso. When the plane landed, can you tell us where you went?

Wit: Yes, when we landed, two vehicles came and in one of them, there was general introduced to us by Gen. Ibrahim as his boss, his name was Gen. Samba. He took us to a house which he said was the house of the Liberian ambassador. Eddie Kanneh and Bockarie left us and went to France. It was not a hotel, it was a house.

Pros: So which members of the delegation went to the house?

Wit: Gen. Ibrahim, Pa Sesay Musa, Razak and myself.

Pros: How many nights did you spend at that house?

Wit: We spent three nights there and on the fourth night, Eddie Kanneh and Bockarie came. We went to the store that was not far from the house. I tried to identify some of the arms i had knowwlege about. Gen. Ibrahim hisself had vast knowlege of weapons. Together with his contribution, we were able to indicate some weapons that we needed to bring.

Pros: What do you mean when you say the store?

Wit: It was a place that had big doors that rolled up, including the two other personel whom i said were in Burkinabe uniform. They were the onee we went with to the store.

Pros: Was it this place that you called a store, was it a civilian or military location?

Wit: It was a military location. It belonged to the Burkinabe armed forces. It had gates and was well secured.

Pros: How long did it take you to drive to the store from where you were staying?

Wit: It did not take an hour, they were short distances

Pros: Can you remember who were with you when you went there?

Wit: Bockarie, Eddie Kanneh, Gen. Ibrahaim, Col. Razak and those two Burkinabe military officers. Pa Sesay Musa and Gen. Ibrahim’s boss stayed behind.

Pros: Can you explain when you say Gen. Ibrahim’s boss?

Wit: I am refering to Gen. Sarah Samba. Himself and Sesay stayed at the place where we were lodeged.

Pros: What was Gen: Sarah Samba’s nationality?

Wit: He was Gambian

Pros: Can you describe what this store looked like inside?

Wit: It was a warehouse, a very big one, that can take even vehicles, those like the ones you can see at the airport, that airplanes can get into. It was divided by appartments, it was a big store. It had gates manned by security with weapons and sand bags around.

Pros: What happened when you and Gen. Ibrahim were identifying arms?

Weit; We were able to identify them and the people who came around who loaded some of the arms were military personel from Burkina Faso. They came and started loading them. The first five trucks were loaded and the consignemnets started leave, that was when we drove back tio the house where we were to get prepared because the plane which took us to the place was still parked waiting. So we came back to the house to get porepared.

Pros: can you describe these trucks?

Wit: they were military trucks, they had military licence plates and all the drivers had green uniforms.

Pros: So what happened after you left the warehouse?

Wit; As i said we went to get ourselves prepared. After they had finished loading the trucks, the same vehicles that originally picked us up at the airport were the ones that took us back to the airport. When we got there, the plane’s engine had already started. We onboarded and left.

Pros: So when you left the warehouse, where was the next place you went to?

Wit: We went back to the house where we were lodged to get ourselves prepared to leave. Gen. Samba informed us that we were to leave. The plane was already loaded and the engine warming up when we got to the airport.

Pros; Sir, during your stay in Burkina Faso, did you learn whether Sam Bockarie met with anyone?

Wit: As i told you, when we landed in Burkina faso, Bockarie and Eddie kanneh, because Eddie kanneh had already told me that they had a trip to France, that Bockarie was going to buy a house there. Other than Gen. Samba, i dont know if he met with any other person. He also told me that himself and Bockarie were to go and meet with the president of Burkina Faso but i was not there so i dont know if they met him.

Pros: Did anyone tell you whether or not Bockarie met with the president?

Wit: It was Eddie kanneh who told me. He gave me that information.

Pros: Did he tell you how he knew about such meeeting?

Wit: As i told you earlier, Bockarie could not speak French but Eddie Kanneh spoke very good French. So he was the one who interpreted for Bockarie.

Pros: Did Kanneh tell you when this meeting took place, during your trip or another time?

Wit: he said before they were to leave for France, i only saw them after three days when they returned.

Pros: Did Eddie Kanneh indicate to you whether there was a meeting with the president?

Wit: he told me that they were to have the meeting before their departure for France. He told me that they had the meeting.

Pros: Do you recall anything that he told you that occured at the meeting?

Wit: No. He only told me that the president was the host.

Pros; When you got to the airport, can you describe what you saw at the airport after coming from the lodge?

Wit: We came back to the airport when we left the lodge. The first movement we made was to go to the warehouse where we got the information. From there, we went to the lodge and then to the airport. We got onboard the flight and returned to Monrovia.

Pros: was there anything around your plane?

Wit: Except the vehicles

Pros: was there anything on the plane when you got inside?

Wit: yes, they had already loaded the ammunition into the plane. We occupoied the only empty seats.

Pros: Who returned on this trip?

Wit: All six of us returned

Pros: What time of day was it when you returned to the airport?

Wit: It was day time

Pros: Morning or afternoon?

Wit: It was around 11, because we landed in Liberia in the afternoon.

Pros: Did you see the pilots on the plane on the way back?

Wit: the same pilots who flew us out of Liberia were the same pilots who took us back.

Pros: Were they staying at the same lodge with you?

Wit: I dont know where they stayed. It was a special plane.

Pros: Where did the plane go from Burkina faso?

Wit; We returned to Liberia

Pros: What happened when the plane landed?

Wit: When the plane landed, we stayed in the plane for sometime. One of the pilots came and opened the side door. But later, i saw him close it again. That was when i realised that vthe ECOMOG who were at the airfield were coming close to the plane. We were there for sometime until i started seeing other vehicles coming with Liberian security personel, the SSS. Vehicles were bringing more of them and they outnumbered the ECOMOG soldiers at the airfield. I can recall Zigzag Marza came with a honda vehicle, somebody else drove a jeep and came under the plane. At the back of the plane, they released a step that opened the plane and that was how we got down. I went straight into the vehicle that Marza had brought. Razak and Eedie Kanneh joined me in the same vehicle while the other guys went into another jeep. Chukie was sitting in the front seat of the jeep. We left straight for the mansion and went to Sesay Musa’s office.

Pros: Who was Chukie?

Wit: he was the commander for the men who came and he was Taylor’s son.

Pros: Whie place are you talking about when you talk about the mansion?

Wit: The president’s office. Razak and I went to Sesay Musa’s waiting room while the others went to see President Taylor.

Pros: So were all the items on the plane there when you left?

Wit: yes

Pros: What about the SSS security that met you at the airport?

Wit: They stayed with the plane.

Pros: You told us that when you were in Monrovia, you heard about the Jan. 6 incident?

Wit: That was a long time ago.

Pros: How long after the jan. 6 incident do you think it was that you made this trip?

Wit: jan 6 had past long ago. It was about the second phase that Yeaten discussed with me, that we should try and gain all ECOMOG grounds. jan. 6 had past long ago before that happened.

Judge: What we want to know is can you remember the year or month when you went to Burkina Faso?

Wit: It was around March, in 1999, not in 2000.

Pros: just to follow up to make sure on the question from the bench. Did this trip occure before or after the Lome Peace was signed?

Wit: No, before the Lome accord

Pros: your honours, i will like this evidence to be noted in light of the Report of the Commission of Experts that was testified by the first witness.

So what happened when you went to the mansion?

Wit: Razak and I were in the Protocol Officer’s office while the others went to the president. I dont know what they discussed there but when they left, Pa Sesay Musa told me that i was to expect some money because i was expecting that if i got that money, i should use it to take my family to Liberia. Because Sesay Musa had assured me that i will be with them and he will take me as his son. And i will work with the Liberian government. But the amount that i expected was not given to me at that time. he only gave me about $2000(US) and we went to his house where i stayed. I was expecting an amount that he had promised me, that was $20,000. He gave me just $200 and adviced me to wait till i get further instructions.

Pros: Which hosue did you go back to?

Wit: To Sesay Musa’s house. In the evening, he came home with a Land Rover discovery. he told me that the vehicle was from President taylor and he said that was what i will be using as long as i am working with them.

Pros: What did you do with the money that Sesay gave you?

Wit: Zigzag Marza had now become a personal friend, so i gave him some money, i gave Memuna too, and the rest, i took care of myself.

Pros: did you understand this money to be Sesay Musa’s money?

Wit: No, he told me that the money was from President Taylor. He told me that i will get the other amount because i had told him i want to bring my family to Liberia.

Pros: Do you know what happend to what was being carried on the plane?

Wit: As i told you, some of the ammunition that we went for were in the plane. I asked Sesay Musa about the consignment in the plane and he said ECOMOG had left the plane and it had been offloaded.

Pros: Did you find out where the ammunition went to?

Wit: As i told this court, my situation was a little delicate. There was no need for me to be finding out. I dint bother to ask again.

Pros:So what did you do after you returned from this trip?

Wit: I was at Sesay Musa’s house where Memuna was but most of the time i moved around with Zigzag Marza, sometimes we’ll be with Benjamin, just moving around. I still expected that Sesay Musa will give me the remaining money because i wanted to bring my family.

There is a break in video and audio transmission from the court.

Pros: What the witness just said must be redacted from the transcript

Judge: Mr. Witness, you should be careful when calling names for your security right?

Wit: yes, he said i will want me to forget about that. he said anytime Benjamin asks, you just say you want to go to Sierra Leone to work with your colleagues. I will advise you to stop talking about bringing your family here. So i took that advice. So when Benjamin called me, i told him just the way Marza had adviced me.

Pros: I just want you to clarify. Who did you say these to?

Wit: That was Benjamin Yeatan. he called me one afternoon and asked me what was happening. So like Marza had adviced me, i told him i will want to go and organize my artillary men in Sierra Leone and to see Johnny Paul. He told me i should not be worried about that and that when Bockarie arrived, he will take me to Buedu.

Pros: Whjat happened to you?

Wit: Within those few days, Marza allowed me to go to the radio at Yeaten’s place. he called a commander in Sierra leone, Col. Tito. They started discussing. Tito responded that they had been monitoring the VHS radios regarding all communication about me and they were waiting for the outcome. he said that was the same allegation made against kabia and they killed him. He said that if they were to do the same mistake in assasinating me, everything would have gone wrong. He said their cooperation would have been hindered. Marza told him that i was standing right by him and that nothing was wrong with me. He said very soon, i will tell his boss that i want to go back to Sierra Leone.

Pros: Who was Tito?

Wit: He was an SLA

Pros: Do you know where he was when this conversation was taking place?

Wit: yes, he was around Magbeni

Pros: What did he mean they were monitoring?

Wit: From the VHS, we always had a standby set to monitor the variuous frequencies. It were from those radios that Tito said they were monitoring all the conversations.

Pros: So what happened after this?

Wit: the followng, it was about 1 something in the morning when Marza went to Sesay Musa’s place and told be i should pack my luggage as Sam Bockarie had arrived. I went in and packed my things but he adviced that i should just take few things and hand the remaining to him so he will keep them. He said sometimes when Bockarie did not come to Monrovia, he will send Victor Kemoh and so he will give the things to kemoh. So we went to yeaten’s place and Bockarie was there with the same trucks that he came with the last time. they had loaded the trucks with ammunition already. He told me to get into his own Landcruser. I bade farewell to all the men and we drove off to Sierra leone.

Pros: Did you see from where they obtained the ammunition to load the truck?

Wit: It was the store at the back of Benjamin’s house. Among the things, there were gymnastic equipments used for exercise and some drums of petrol amd diesel.

Pros: Do you recall anyone else who was with you on that trip?

Witr: yes on our way, at about 3am, we stoped at some area where we collected Tamba Brima’s wife, we also colleceted Bazzy’s wife Anifa and they all came onboard the jeep. I can recall also that we dreove until the morning hours. We got to a point where one of the trucks broke down and the convoy stoped. There was an SLA driver called Jalloh. We all alighted and Bockarie decided to install a radio set. He called the commander, Col. Fayia in Foya and explained to him. Fayia responded that he was going to send one of the AFL trucks that he was using at the border. So as we were waiting, i cant tell what happened. Bockarie became angry with me and said if i did not die in Liberia, i will die in Sierra Leone. He took out he revolver pistol and he cocked it. He started using some words like we the SLA guys are trying to sabortage their operation. he said if Marza did not kill me, he was going to kill me. I said to him that it will not be good to kill me innocently. You can see the effort i have made to travel with you and have willingly come to fight alongside your men. But by the grace of God,  some of the SSS that came with us, one was Jungle and the other Samson. One of his security guys also told him that he should not kill me because i was a nice man. he said at this stage of the war, i was very useful. Bockarie still insisted to kill me. But Jungle and samson who were always with him, representing the Liberian governbment, came in and took the weapon from him. I was now standing in fear. Jungle said that Bockarie had already received instructions from Taylor that he should not kill me. He did not kill me. The truck then arrived and we transfered all the ammunition into the truck. The road was bad so we travelled for a long period of time. Finally we got to Buedu. When we got there, while everybody was alighting from the vehicle, just as i alighted, general…

Pros: I raised my hand to stop the witness. Did you have any kind of radio on the journey?

Wit: yes, the VHS radio. Bockarie always had one with him.

Pros: Was there any regular FM radio?

Wit: No. the VHS was very powerful. You can use it to tune commercial radio. There was a time when he tuned BBC and the BBC said the government had decided to release Sankoh from prison. That Eyadema had agreed to serve as mediator for peace talks. I think that was one of the reasons why he camled down. he said that he will force Kabbah to sit at the table and talk with them. The VHS radio was on and it was when Colo. Tengbeh sent the truct to come, he sent people to come repair the other truck. When we got to BVuedu, he called an SLA called Marvin and told him to take me to the MP, the Provo Martial.

Pros; Where were you when you heard the brodacast on BBC?

Wit: At the same point i made mention of where he wanted to shoot me.

Pros: was it before or after he pointed the gun at you?

Wit: They had spoken to him already but by then , he had established the VHS set and it was duriung that time that he tuned the BBC 3:05 Focus on Africa.

Pros; How do you remember that the broadcast was 3:05?

Wit: You know that the reporter will give the time when he is reading the news.

Pros: On this trip, do you recall in total how many people there were?

Wit: Like i said, Boickarie, his men, Foday, Victor kemoh, the two SSS, including the wives of the AFRC accused.

Pros: Were these the only people on the trip?

Wit: There were other people but those are the ones i recall. The others were just guards.

Pros: can you tell us approximately how many people in total?

Wit: I am unable to do thay. I dont want to say something that i am not sure of.

Pros: So what happend when you go to Buedu?

Wit: When we got there, we alighted the vehicle. Bockaroe called on one of the SLAs, Col. Marvin and orderd him to take me to the Provo Matrial, Kaisoko. he took me there. The Provost Martial said they should put me in a dungeon, a hole that was undergrpoudn. I was placed there. I met people in there, Fayia  Musa, Dr. Jalloh, Palmer, and a lady whom they said was Sankoh’s wife. I met them there. I was crying. Palmer adviced me to stop crying. he said he had been there for years and said i was just arriving. I refused. I was there for four days. Within those four days, another SLA, Hon. Adams, he came from his deployment area from the Joru jungle. He came to the MP office and he was talking. I shouted his name. He responded. I called my name and explained myself.  I told him to go and explain my situation to JPK and he agreed. He went.

Pros: So what happened then?

Wit: he conveyed my message to JPK and the following day, i overheard somebody shouting at the door of the MP and asking for me. I answered that i was in the hole. There was one Major Tom Sandy. I later realised he was the one asking for me. he asked me to come out as Bockarie was waiting for me. When i got out, i saw Bockarie. he advice them to return my clothes since i was naked. he told me we should go to JPK at Kangama, about 3 miles from Buedu. he said JPK asked that we go and see him. they were using the Pajero that i had mentioned, which he was using in Monrovia. In tha Pajero, SYB Rigers was in there. Eddie kanneh was driving and we all went. Rogers was layter intrioduced as the head of the RUF war council.

Pros: Did nyou arrive in Kangama?

Wit: yes. In the Pajero, i forgot to mention that Jungle and Samson were also there. When we arrived in Kangama, i was fortunate that since we had withdrawn from the city, that was the next time i saw him and his family. he was there with Jumu Jalloh and pastor Momoh. We entered the Verandah and took seats, JPK greeted me. he called for a tape recorder and an blank cassette. the cassette was put into a tape recorder. Bockaroe started explaining about me in Liberia, the trip he made, etc. That was recorded. he said the reason why he got to that point was that he understood the SLA were trying to blame him for Kabia’s death. he wanted to make it clear that he had nothing to do with Kabia’s death in Liberia. He said that was why he convene the forum. Eddie kanneh also highlighted his own point. I was made to understand that Cobra wanted to blame Eddie Kanneh for allegations that i was an SLPP spy. Kanneh explained that such allegation was made by Sierra Leoneas at the Freeport. After that, Jungle also spoke. The cassette was replayed in my presence. After that he, he handed it to Jungle to takle it to Liberia so that Taylor can get it. From that point, JPK and Bockarie moved aside and stood a little far from us. From that point, JPK told me to feel free around until i receive instructions from Bockaroe. He told me that i should go by what Bocklarie says since he was in charge of all operations.

Pros: Did you learn why Sankoh’s wife was in the dungoen?

Wit: yes, when i spent some time down there, Palmer told me that after the Yamasoukrou peace talks, they came back to the Guinean border to talk about the outcome of the talks. they were accross the river. Bockarie said they will not be accross the river talki8ng to them. he asked them to cross over. he said as soon as they crosse over, they arrested them and beat them seriously.

Judge: Are you saying that Sankoh;s wife was one of then?

Wit: yes, she was. They were put in the dungoen for years. She was the only woman wmong them.

Pros: You said at some point, JPK and Bockarie steped away from you people at Kangama, do you know where they went?

Wit: they just moved some distnace from us.

Pros: was it only the two of them?

Wit: yes

Pros: You said the cassette was given to Jungle to take to Taylor, why was that?

Wit: Well, that was just what they said in our presence. They put it in a envelop and handed it over to Jungle, I didnt know the reason why they said he should take it to Taylor.

Pros: What happened to you after this meeting?

Wit: Bockarie, we drove back, all of us, we drove back to Buedu. When we arrived there, he asked somebody to prepare some food for me. he called on a nurse to give me some firat aid treatment and some drugs, and he handed me over to Maj. Victor kemoh.

Pros: Were you freed from the dungoen?

Wit: yes, i stayed with Kemoh in his house until the time i got well.

Pros: What happened when you got well?

Wit: Bockarie called on me one particular day and said i should fee free around. he promoted me to the rank of Major. he signed as the Chief of Defense Staff. he told me they were faced with threat at Sebwema and it will be nice to go with him to Pendembu. He said someone will come from Liberia to help us construct a ferry that we’ll be using at Monowa. he himself went with us. Someone arrived from Liberia, the Liberian Mosquito. he came with 12 well armed SSS men. We organized ourselves and went to Manowa and constructed a ferry there.

Pros: How long after the first arrival in Buedu that you went to Buedu?

Pros: the time i spent in Buedu, it was total of three weeks, the fourth week was when we left with Bockarie to go construct the ferry.

Pros: Was the Liberian Mosquiton in Sierra leone or Liberia?

Wit: he came from Vahun and to Sierra leone

pros: So what happened there?

Wit: they came and help us put idaes together and we constructed a local ferry. The intention was to cross the two tanks over, but the first attempt we made to move the tanks over was not possible because the tanks ended up going into the river, the Moa river.

Judge: We have got to the time of our mid-morning break and so we’ll now adjourn. Mr. witness, we are going to adjourn to 12:00. Please adjourn court to 12:00.

Court adjourns for mid-morning break.