Cross-Examination of Witness TF1-367 Continues, with Frequent Closed Sessions for Security Reasons

9:30am: Cross-Examination of Witness TF1-367 continued this morning in closed session. After few minutes, the court was in open session.

Operations Top 20, Top 40, and Top Final.

Defense counsel asked the witness about the meanings of Top 20, Top 40, and Top Final. The witness explained that the title Top 20 was ascribed to some Liberian commanders who regarded themselves as bosses to the RUF fighters. The witness explained that after some time, the Top 20 was expanded to Top 40. He said that the Liberian commanders were wicked and committed several attrocities. He said after several complaints by Sankoh to Taylor, he (Taylor) decided to withdraw the NPFL commander who was based in Sierra Leone. His name was Pa Jim. Some other NPFL soldiers were also withdrawn from Sierra Leone.

The witness said that those NPFL soldiers who were withdrawn were not happy. He said they relocated to the Sierra Leone/Liberian border where they continued to commit attrocities. He said that the RUF fighters decided to wage war againts these NPFL soldiers and they were finally pushed into Liberia. This operation, he said, was called Top Final, meant to finnaly get rid of the NPFL fighters from among the RUF. He said that the RUF remained under the control of Sankoh but that he was backed by Taylor.

Relationship between RUF and ULIMO

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he knew of support given to ULIMO by the governments of Sierra Leone and Guinea. The witness confirmed his knowlege of such support.  The witness also agreed to defense cousel’s suggestion that ULIMO’s objective was to overthrow the Taylor government. Defense counsel asked the witness whether he knew Abu Keita. The witness confirmed knowing him and said that Keita was a ULIMO fighter who joined the RUF. He said that he first saw Keita with Issa Sesay in Kono. Asked whether he knew Senegalese, the witness said, yes, but could not tell whether he was ULIMO or NPFL. The witness, however, said he knew Senegalese was Liberian and that he saw him once with Sam Bockarie in Buedu.

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he agreed that ULIMO fighters were involved in the bank robbery in Kono. The witness agreed with counsel on this. The witness also agreed that the said ULIMO fighters ran away with their loot from the bank robbery to Guinea.

The witness agreed with defense counsel that he sent Mike Limle, a ULIMO fighter as his representative to the minning fields in Tongo. The witness explained that Mike Limle was originally NPFL, became ULIMO and then joined the RUF.

Asked about ammunition purchases from ULIMO, the witness agreed that he was sent on occassions to negotiate arms deals with ULIMO. Asked whether he bought arms from Vamunya Sheriff or Keita, the witness said no. He said that he only had dealings with ULIMO’s Col. Kundi. He agreed that monies from the bank robbery, some other US Dollars and sale from agricultural produce were used to purchase the ammunitions from ULIMO.  He said this situation obtained until the AFRC coup took place in 1997.

Defense counsel read portions of a letter written by Sam Bockarie to Foday Sankoh, updating him on evenst that occured while he was detained in Nigeria. Defense read a paragraph in which Bockarie said he bought arms and ammunition from ULIMO, which were given to Superman and used to attack Kono. The witness agreed that this happened but that this mission failed and that it was different from the attack that was led by Issa Sesay on Kono, which was successful.

Court adjourned for mid-morning break.