Defense Concludes Cross-Examination of Witness TF1-568, Mohamed Kabba

9:30am: Court resumed and defense counsel Courtaney Griffiths continued and completed the cross-examination of Witness TF1-568, Mohamed Kabba. During said cross-examination, defense counsel asked several questions relating to mining activities in Kono, the Abidjan Peace Accord, the killing of 60 alledged Kamajors in Kailahun, attack and capture of arms by SLA and RUF fighters in Kambia, shipment or arms and ammunition into RUF territory, trip made by Bockarie et al to Burkina Faso, and the January 1999 invasion of Freetown.

Mining Activities in Kono

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he was also involved in mining activities in Kono. The witness admitted that he had civilians mining for him in Kono. He also agreed that other RUF commanders, including radio operators had people mining for them in Kono. Defense counsel suggested to the witness that Kono was a free for all mining zone. The witness responded that while it was the case that anybody who wanted to mine could do so, there was an RUF representative anywhere mining was going on. He therefore disagreed that Kono was a free for all mining zone.

The Abidjan Peace Accord

Defense counsel suggested to the witness that two things affected the efficacy of the Abidjan Peace Accord.

1. The disagreement on the issue of elections before peace or vice versa, and

2. The attacks on RUF targets by Kamajors especially at camp Zogoda.

The witness agreed with counsel on these. He also agreed with counsel that in 1996, the RUF genuinely wanted peace but all such prospects were destroyed by persistent attacks by Kamajors.

Killing of 60 alledged Kamajors in Kailahun

The witness agreed that the said killing of the 60 alledged Kamajors in Kailahun happened in 1998, after the retreat from Freetown. The witness agreed that the RUF were under constant attacks by the kamajors upto the time of the AFRC coup and that the RUF were suspicious of Kamajors all over the country. He agreed that during the retreat, ECOMOG and Kamajors were constantly attacking RUF positions. There was therefore a great deal of suspicion about anybody looking like a Kamajor. He agreed that Sam Bockarie ordered the execution of the 60 suspected Kamajors because he was angry that Kamajors were attacking them and that some Kamajors had infiltrated the RUF. He agreed that Sam Bockarie was a man who could take decisions in anger and that sometimes, the decisions could be irrational. Defense counsel asked the witness to explain why he only mentioned this incident in September 2008. The witness said that since he could not remember all that had happened during the war, he only spoke about that issue when he was asked by prosecution investigators.  Defense asked the witness whether he refused to talk about it in his earlier statements because he was ashamed of being associated with Sam Bockarie. The witness disagreed and said Sam Bockarie was his own man who should take responsibility for his own actions. He said that Bockarie is to be blamed for those executions.

Acquisition of Arms by SLA and RUF Fighters

Defense counsel referenced the witness’s statement where he said that between 1998 to 1999, he did not see arms brought from Liberia into Sierra Leone for the RUF. He was also quoted as saying that the RUF had enough arms after the attacks on Guineans in Kambia. He said the arms were stored in Kailahun. The witness responded that he spoke of arms being captured in Kambia and not ammunitions. He said that Superman and the SLA soldiers mounted the attacks in Kambia and captured a huge chunk of arms. Gullit and SAJ Musa, he said, were part of this attack. He said that after this attack, the group advanced to Freetown. Asked whether the captured arms were used to attack Freetown, the witness responded that arms were sent to Kailahun but he cant say whether they used some of it to attack Freetown.  He said that the arms that were sent to Kailahun were kept in his home in Yandowahun, two miles from Kailahun town. Defense counsel suggested that the arms were so large  that they could not carry all of them to Kailahun and so SAJ Musa decided to blow up some of them, thus resulting in his death. The witness responded that the account of SAJ Musa’s death was that an explosion took place at Benguema and that was where he died. Gullit then took over the forces that advanced to Freetown.

Arms and Ammunition from Liberia

Defense counsel referenced witness’s testimony during examination-in-chief that he had said Taylor adviced Bockarie to attack Kono so that the RUF will get arms and ammunition because  the bits and pieces that Taylor supplied were dwindling. Counsel asked the witness to explain what he meant by bits and pieces. The witness responded that he was refering to the 2 or 3 boxes that Jungle would bring to the RUF from Liberia.  The witness agreed with counsel that from 1992 to 1997, the RUF were cut off from Liberia. So when the border was opened after 1997, the RUF relied on the 2 or 3 boxes that Jungle would bring for them. Counsel asked the witness whether they got arms from any other person, to which the witness responded that he only knew of Jungle. Counsel asked the witness about Vamunya Sheriff. The witness responded that he heard his name but never met him. Counsel asked the witness about the arms trade with ULIMO, but he said this only happened prior to 1997. Counsel asked the witness how he knew the arms brought by Jungle were not pruchased in Liberia independent of Taylor. The witness responded that Jungle and Bockarie used to travel together and they went to Taylor. He said that whenever Jungle came from Liberia, he would give a salute report that it was Taylor who had sent the arms and ammunition. Defense counsel reminded the witness that the period during which Jungle brought these arms was during the disarmament process in Liberia and so fighters could easily have sold their weapons to make profit.

Bockarie’s Trip to Burkina Faso

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he knew of Bockarie and others making a trip to Burkina Faso. The witness said he never knew of such a trip.  He said he knew that Bockarie went to Liberia but dont know whether he proceeded to Burkina Faso. When asked about Gen. Ibrahim Ba, the witness said he heard of him but never saw him. Defense counsel referenced witness’s statement to the prosecution when he said he saw Ibrahim Ba once in Buedu. The witness responded that he indeed saw Ba but had forgotten when asked about him. Defense counsel asked the witness about documents shown to him by OTP investigators. He responded that no documents were shown to him. Defense counsel showed him the investigator’s solemn declaration that he had shown the witness a document, but the witness insisted that he was shown pictures but not documents. Defense asked that the witness be showen Document with ERN No. 00015487, which was a report by SYB Rogers about a trip that Bockarie, Eddie Kanneh and others made to Burkina Faso and negotiated a huge chunk of arms and ammunition. The witness responded that he did not recall knowledge of any such trip to Burkina Faso and cant recall being shown the said document. Defense then suggested two propositions which should be established:

1. That in late 1998, Bockarie and others made a trip to Burkina Faso where they negotiated a huge chunk of arms and ammunition, and

2. That in late 1998, SAJ Musa and others acquired a huge chunk if arms and ammunition from Kambia.

January 1999 Invasion of Freetown

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he agreed that Sam Bockarie ordered Gullit and others not to attack Freetown in 1999. The witness agreed with defense counsel. He agreed that despite orders from Bockarie to the contrary, SAJ Musa and Gullit decided to go ahead with the planned attack on Freetown.. As a result of Bockarie’s opposition to the Freetown attack, SAJ Musa prevented King Perry, the RUF radio operator from communicating with Bockarie via radio. Witness agreed that the forces that invaded Freetown were mainly SLAs and some STF fighters. He agreed with counsel that it was only after the fighters had entered Freetown and had got to State House did they call Sam Bockarie in Buedu. He said that they first heard of the Freetown attack on BBC but they knew that troops had been advancing in that direction.  He agreed with counsel that when King Perry called Bockarie, Gullit asked him to send more reinforcements because the fighters in Freetown were being suppressed by ECOMOG. He agreed with counsel that Bockarie was initially angry because he said Gullit had disobeyed him and that he only contacted him when he needed reinforcements. He said that Bockarie indeed sent the reinforcements but the men could not get into the capital. Defense counsel asked the witness whether he was sure that Bockarie and Taylor spoke via satelite phone during the January 1999 invasion of Freetown. The witness said that he did see and hear them speak during said period. Defense counsel suggested to the witness that prosecution investigators might have told him to say he did see and hear the two men speak via satelite phone during this period. The witness disagreed.

Defense counsel concluded the cross-examination of the witness and count adjourned for mid-morning break.