Prosecution Leads RUF Insider Witness TF1-567

July 2, 2008

The Hague

Prosecuting counsel Ms. Brenda Hollis led a new prosecution witness TF1-567.  The witness testified in Krio, with facial and voice distortion, with a pseudonym, and the court entered into private session when it became necessary.

Abduction and Training of Witness by rebels in 1991 in Bunumbu Town.

  • Ms. Hollis asked the witness if anything happened to him in May 1991. Witness answered that he was in Bunumbu Town when rebels attacked the township and captured him together with several other civilians. The witness said that they were taken to a Court Barry in Bunumbu where they were punished before being taken to the training base at the Bunumbu Vocational Training compound, where they were trainined by NPFL rebels fightting for the RUF in Sierra Leone. He said that the training commandant was a Liberian called Charles Timba and he was assisted by Monica Pearson. He said that among the trainees were small boys and girls as well as adult men and women.
  • Prosecution asked the witness if anyone among the trainees refused to undergo the training. The witness said that those who refused were severely punished by the training commanders.
  • The witness said that several other commanders were present at the training base including Morris Kallon, Kaifa way, Ndopo Mecanzin, Samuel G. Tua, etc.

The Formation of the Black Guard

  • Prosecution asked the witness what happened to them after the training. The witness answered that many of his colleagues were sent to the frontlines but he was among a group of 25 Junior Commandos who were chosen as Mansion Guards for Sankoh’s residence in Pendembu.
  • He said that there were also several Liberians among the Mansion Guards
  • The witness stated that while he was serving as a Mansion Guard, Sankoh sometimes left them and said he was visiting his brother Charles Taylor in Liberia. He said that on such visits, Sankoh would return with large chunks of arms and ammunition, which he said were given to him by Taylor.
  • The witness said that sometime in 1991, the Liberians who were part of the Mansion Guards were sent to the frontline. He said the name of the group was changed to Black Guards. He said that he stayed as a member of the Black Guards, serving as personal bodyguard to Sankoh.

Witness Travels with Foday Sankoh to visit Charles Taylor in Liberia.

  • The prosecution asked whether the witness ever went with Sankoh to Liberia. The witness answered that in 1991 and 1992, he accompanied Sankoh on two occasions to visit Taylor in Liberia and on those visits, Taylor gave them arms and ammunition for the RUF.

First RUF attack on Kono and Sankoh Trades Diamonds with Taylor in Liberia.

  • The witness stated that Sankoh ordered them to attack Kono in 1992 in order to mine and get diamonds. The witness said that Sam Bockarie, aka Mosquito was the commander of this operation. He said that they captured Kono and when Sankoh visited the captured territory, Mosquito handed diamonds to him, which he took to Taylor in return for arms and ammunition. The witness said he saw the diamonds and he was present when the arms and ammunition were brought from Liberia.

ULIMO occupation of the access route between Sierra Leone and Liberia

  • The witness stated that in 1993, ULIMO fighters led by Alhaji Koroma blocked the access route between Sierra Leone and Liberia and because of this, for several years, they could not have road access to Taylor in Liberia.

RUF and Jungle Warfare

  • The witness said that in 1993, when the government soldiers attacked their positions in various towns, Sankoh ordered them to embark on jungle warfare. He said that they moved into the bush and established various jungles including Zogoda, Kangari Hills and the Western Jungle.

The Abidjan Peace Accord

  • The witness stated that in 1996, Sankoh left for Abidjan in order to negotiate with the Sierra Leone government. The witness said that Sankoh consulted the various commanders on whether there should be a peace agreement, to which all the RUF commanders agreed.

AFRC Coup of 1997

  • The witness siad that in May 1997, they heard a radio announcement that the AFRC had overthrown the Kabbah government in Sierra Leone. He said that they later received orders from Sankoh that they should join the AFRC soldiers and form one government in the interest of peace. He said that they travelled to Freetown and joined the AFRC. He said that he was based at Benguemen together with other RUF fighters.

Diamond Mining During the AFRC/RUF Rule

  • The witness stated that when the AFRC/RUF were in power, they embarked on mining activities in Kono and Tongo. He said that the AFRC/RUF forced civilians to mine for them in these places.
  • Prosecution asked the witness whether any civilians refused to mine. The witness answered that those who refused were forced and any civilian caught trying to hide a diamond will be killed.
  • The witness said that all diamonds that were mined were handed over to Mosquito, Eddie Kanneh and Johnny Paul Koroma.
  • The witness said that on occassions when he visited Mosquito in Kenema, he met Jungle there.

Operation Pay Yourself.

  • The witness said that when the ECOMOG forces forcefully removed the AFRC/RUF from power in 1998, Mosquito ordered Operation Pay Yourself in Kenema before they retreated.

AFRC/RUF Attack on Kono

  • The witness said that after the ECOMOG intervention in 1998, they tried to recapture Kono. He said that Mosquito received orders from Taylor to capture Kono since the town was strategic for diamonds which they will use to get arms and ammunition.
  • The witness said that they captured some ECOMOG soldiers who were sent to Mosquito in Buedu.
  • He said they later proceeded to capture Makeni.

January 6, 1999 Invasion on Freetown

  • The witness said that in January 1999, AFRC soldiers, led by Gullit invaded Freetown.
  • He said Issa Sesay received orders from Mosquito to advance to Freetown to give reinforcement to Gullit’s men
  • The witness said that they advanced but because of ECOMOG presence on the road, they couldnt go beyond Waterloo.
  • The witness said that ECOMOG forces repelled Gullit and his troops from Freetown, who later met them in Waterloo.
  • The witness said that during this time, the RUF continued to mine in Kono, especially Tombodu.

The Lome Peace Accord of 1999

  • The witness stated that in 1999, Mosquito received orders from sankoh to select 17 men among the RUF fighters tio join him (Sankoh) in Lome, Togo for peace talks with the government of Sierra Leone.
  • The witness stated that he was among the 17 men that were chosen. He said that other members of the delegation included Dauda Forni, aka DAF, SYB Rogers, Rashid Sandy, Mike Lamin, Leather Boot, a woman called Agnes among many others.

At 4:30pm, Judge Dougherty indicated that it was time to adjourne for the day. The court adjourned to resume on Friday July 4, 2008 at 9:30am.