Second afternoon session: Witness testimony continues

Superman asked the money from the bank robbery to be given to the witness to bring it to Sam Bockarie. The witness took the money from the robbery and some more money (in total about SLL 256 million) and a diamond, all of which he handed over to Sam Bockarie at Buedu. Sam Bockarie used part of the money (25 million) to change to Guinean francs because Sierra Leone Leones had lost a lot of value.

The witness was sent to another town to buy arms and ammunition from disarmed ULIMO, for which Sam Bockarie gave the witness the money that was changed to francs at the Guinean border. This happened close to the rainy season. After buying the weapons, the witness communicated to the RUF and wait for men to come and collect the weapons to take them to Sierra Leone. The ECOMOG had deployed all over the area and eased the movements, so there were not many checkpoints. The witness recalled that they would use a bypass to cross the border between Liberia and Sierra Leone instead of using the main road. The witness went up to four times and followed the same procedure.

The witness testified how Foday Sankoh came with the white people in a helicopter to Buedu and gave Sam Bockarie money. Asked about his assignment, the witness stated that he did not have a special assignment. Sam Bockarie trusted the witness and that is why Sam Bockarie sent the witness on missions to buy arms. After those missions, at the end of 1997/beginning of 1998, Sam Bockarie and Issa Sesay sent him to Kono to replace the mining commander. The loyal SLA were there. The witness was based at Guinea highway (on the road to Guinea), about 3 miles from Koidu Town. Issa Sesay arrived there a few months after the witness. A meeting with the commanders was held to discuss the attack on Koidu Town. The plan was to attack the roads leading to town, because Kono was a stronghold of the then government in administration. From there, the plan was to go to Freetown and free Foday Sankoh. Everything possible had to be done to free him. It was to be an operation to scare the enemy.

The prosecution moved to show the witness a document, but the defense objected and asked to follow the correct procedure. The court allowed the objection, asking the prosecution for more foundation in respect of the document to be presented. The prosecution proceeded to ask the witness questions in relation to the document, such as what a “tin” of AK runs means (the witness explained that there were two tins in a box), and what a G3 is (the witness stated that it was one of the heavy weapons they used, stronger than an AK). The prosecution then requested the document to be shown to the witness, but the defense and the court still requested more foundation. To address this objection, the prosecution asked the witness if records were kept of ammunitions. The witness stated that an adjutant would keep records of ammunitions. The court ruled that no proper foundation was laid for the document and that it could not be shown to the witness.

Back to Issa Sesay: The witness stated that he was sure his title was BFI: battle front inspector. Issa’s adjutant was Djaba. Asked about Morris Kallon, the witness stated that he also had nicknames. Asked what BFC means, the witness replied that this acronym stands for battle front commander.

The prosecution then asked the witness about RUF meetings. The witness stated that reports of meeting were made by the clerk or adjutant of the commander. The witness assumes that a report was made of the meeting at Guinea Highway. The document that the prosecution intended to show to the witness could not be shown for lack of foundation.

The attack on Koidu Town was successful, thanks in part to new ammunition. The forces defending Koidu Town were well armed. They were ECOMOG. The RUF captured ammunitions from the ECOMOG. Some ran away, taking the main road between Makeni and Freetown, others the road between Tongo and Kenema. After Koidu Town was taken, the frontline soldiers advanced towards Makeni (among other, Rambo). The witness stayed in Koidu Town to assemble the mining equipment. Akim took Tongo. Issa Sesay was not at the front line, but went to Makeni once it had been taken.

Before the attack, at the meeting to attack Koidu Town, there was no talk of mining. The priority was for the attack to succeed. But the witness knew that he would stay in Koidu and be responsible for the mining. Asked about the ECOMOG weapons, the witness stated that they were captured and repaired.

The prosecution moved to present an exhibit with a signature to the witness. The witness identified the signature as being Djaba’s. He did not know from when the document was.

The court was adjourned until 9.30am on Thursday.