Morning session: start of examination of Witness TF1-367

This morning Charles Taylor is present (completely dressed in white). The Prosecution stated that the next witness will be examined in open session but filed an application to go in private session whenever necessary for the security of the witness. The name of the witness will not be disclosed; he will be referred to as Witness TF1-367. Court convenes shortly and grants the application by the Prosecution. The witness is called upon which the Court goes in private session for the security of the witness (identification).

In 1990 witness was in Kakata in Liberia. Charles Taylors rebels,  NPFL, attacked the city. Everyone had to leave the house he was in, if you were not of an Liberian tribe you were killed. All ‘Mandingos’ were killed before the eyes of the witness. The witness survived by taking another name. There were 4 checkpoints along the main roads; 1) Gbarnga, 2) Monrovia, 3) ‘Bommines’, 4) Harbel Highways. There people were killed and decapitated and heads were put on sticks at the gates. Court takes a short break as the transcript is not recorded properly.  

Court resumes. Prosecution continues. Witness saw Charles Taylor in Kakata in 1990. His house was located at the ‘Bommines’ park nearby a police station. Witness saw Charles Taylor there with his men when Charles Taylor came from Gbarnga. In coming there Charles Taylor had to pass 2 checkpoints (‘Bommines’ and Gbarnga).

After the attack, witness spoke with his brother Mike Lamin, member of the NPFL. He knew him before the attack on Kakata. Brother is used in the sense that they are both Sierra Leonians. Mike Lamin visited him often in Kakata. Mike Lamin advised him to change his name and to join the rebels, the NPFL. Witness testified that people from other nationalities were molested as Charles Taylor ordered that all people from the countries they were fighting to were to be arrested. It concerned people that were fighting war in Liberia from Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Mike Lamin told him about Foday Sankoh who was to fight in (and liberate) Sierra Leone and suggested to join him.

Witness met Foday Sankoh in Saint Augustin, a school compound. Foday Sankoh explained the war to be fought in Sierra Leone; it would be similar to the war in Liberia and with the full support of Charles Taylor. Witness was picked up by a truck a week later to be brought to camp Naama via Gbarnga to be trained. 

Foday Sankoh went to prisons to talk about the upcoming fight in Sierra Leone with prisoners and to free them to fight along as the witness heard of ‘Jaffa Masakoi”. One of the prisons was Katta Hight. The prisons were controlled by Charles Taylor after the attack.    

The witness spent three months in camp Naama. There were also soldiers of Charles Taylor. He received a training; both physical (including weapons) and ideology. The trainings were given by Sierra Leonians (Mohamed Tarawalli, Rashid Mansaray and Mike Lamin – who gave ideology training) and Liberians (Isaac Mongor en PI, both NPFL fighters). Some of his fellow trainees became top rebel commanders in the RUF: Mike Lamin, Sam Bockarie, Issa Sesay, ‘Isak Collin’, and others. After the training Foday Sankoh decided to initiate war in Sierra Leone. This war was fully supported by Charles Taylor as he also arranged everything for the trainees in the camp.

The NPFL first launched the attack on Quedu. Subsequently, the witness went with the RUF; the other trainees, to Quedu. The leader of the RUF was Foday Sankoh. The witness’ leader was Isaac Mongor. After two months the witness returned to Liberia. The witness stayed as ground commander in Gbarnga with Foday Sankoh at Sugar Hill nearby Charles Taylor mansion ground. Foday Sankoh travelled a lot to Sierra Leone with arms and amunition and food supplied by Charles Taylor.  Foday Sankoh had contact with Charles Taylor with the help of a radio.

The witness returned to Siera Leone to be based in Pendembu in 1992. The attack on Quedu had already taken place when he returned there in 1995.

Mid morning break.