Court Resumes After Lunch Break: Cross-Examination of Witness TF1-568, Mohamed Kabba Continues

2:30: Court resumed after lunch break and defense counsel Courtaney Griffiths continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-568. Defense counsel asked the witness several questions relating to radio communications in the RUF, the relationship between Benjamin Yeaten and Sam Bockarie, the involvement of Liberian NPFL fighters in the RUF, and mining activities in Kono.

Radio Communications in the RUF

Defense counsel suggested to the witness that communication in the RUF was a very sensitive matter. The witness agreed to this suggestion. The witness agreed that because of the sensitive nature of radio communications, that is why Sam Bockarie was mad when the radio log book in his possession got missing.  The witness agreed that only a limited number of people had access to radio communication.  Defense asked the witness whether there was a secret frequency for communication with Taylor. The witness responded that he was unaware of any such frequency. Defense counsel referenced the witness written statement in which he is quoted as saying there was a secret frequency for communicating with Taylor.  The witness responded that he meant to say the frequency was for communicating with Sunlight, who was based at Taylor’s mansion ground.

Defense counsel produced a log book in which there were several radio messages from RUF commanders. Upon seeing the messages, the witness recognized the contents of some of the messages and the persons that they came from. Defense counsel noted a message sent by Dauda Fornie, aka DAF, from CO. Isaac and addressed to Concord (Sam Bockarie) for Foday Sankoh. The message stated that the fighters on the ground were anxious to maintain the peace that had been signed by Sankoh and the government. Defense counsel noted another message sent by DAF again, from Mike Lamin and addressed to Sankoh. The message was a complaint that ECOMOG had blocked the passage of 30 RUF security personel headed for Buedu. The witness clarified that the fighters were headed for Freetown to work as guards for Sankoh. Defense counsel noted a third message sent to Sankoh from Issa that they had captured large chunks of ammunition from the Guineans. Defense counsel noted other messages that were from CO Nya and Superman.

Relationship Between Sam Bockarie and Benjamin Yeaten

Defense counsel asked the witness to clarify who between the two commanders was senior. The witness responded that Yeaten was a Special Forces trained fighter from Libya while Sam Bockarie was a Vanguard trained in Liberia. He said that despite this, Sam Bockarie did not want to take orders from Yeaten. Defense counsel reminded the witness of his statement yesterday that Sam Bockarie was subordinate to Yeaten.

Involvement of Liberian Fighters in the RUF

Defense counsel asked the witness whether Jungle was a Liberian fighter who spent time with the RUF and was therefore cut off from his own links in Liberia and became member of the RUF. The witness responded that Jungle was based in Foya with CO. Fayia. He said that when CO. Fayia moved to Monrovia, Jungle spent most of his time with the RUF but he used to move between Monrovia and Buedu. Defense counsel asked the witness whether Jungle was in Abidjan with Sankoh for the 1996 peace talks. The witness said that he could not recall if that was the case. The witness agreed with defense counsel that many Liberians who had fought with the NPFL later willingly joined the RUF. He said that some of them were sent to help the RUF in Sierra Leone but later refused to return to Liberia. The witness referred to these fighters as wayward kids who refused to listen to instructions for them to return to their country. The witnes agreed with defense counsel that STF fighters from Liberia fought alongside the RUF. Asked whether said STF fighters were part of the bank robbery in Kono, the witness said that he could not tell because various factions were involved in the bank robbery.

RUF Diamond Trade

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he agreed that effective mining started in Kono at the end of 1998. The witness agreed. The witness also agreed with defense counsel that he did not see Eddie kanneh taking any diamonds to Liberia. The witness was quoted as having said the only incident he could remember was when Eddie Kanneh took diamonds to Ivory Coast with the two Lebanese looking white men. These diamonds were to be sold in Ivory Coast and the money given to FOC to take to Issa Sesay. In his statement, defense pointed out that there was no mention of Taylor’s name in this transaction. The witness, however, said that Eddie Kanneh had instructions to show the diamonds to Taylor before proceeding to Ivory Coast. Asked why they needed to show the diamonds to Taylor when they were meant to be sold in Ivory Coast, the witness said it was for the purpose of evidence so Taylor would know what was going on.

Defense counsel asked the witness to state the time that the white men went to Buedu and Kono. After moving forward and backwards with answers, the witness stated that he cannot recall the month that the said visits were made and also cant recall whether the men went to Buedu before going to Kono. He, however, said that it was Sam Bockarie who took the white men to Kono.  He said this happened after the capture of Kono. Defense counsel put it to the witness that in all his accounts when making statements to prosecution investigators, he did not mention that Taylor was involved. The witness responded that it was because they did not ask him about Taylor.

Court adjourned for the day.