September 24, 2008
This morning Prosecutor Alain Werner called to the stand the 44th prosecution witness TF1-065 Samuel Bull, who will testify in Krio.
The name of the witness is Samuel Bull, 48 years old, from the Kono tribe, living in Motema Town, chiefdom Nimikoro in Kono. He has had education up to form five, speaks Krio, Kono, Mende and English and knows how to read English. He is married and has five children. Bull is a pastor for the IMC, the International Mission Church in Sierra Leone.
Events in Kono District in May 1997
In May 1997 the Witness was in Kono District in Sierra Leone. On May 25, 1997 Bull was in church teaching Sunday school. They stopped as soldiers were approaching singing a song and heard them singing: “Anybody who does not want the soldiers will be killed like a chicken”. The members of the church stopped the service and went outside, to find out why words like this were being sung. It appeared the AFRC, the Junta had ousted President Kabbah. A few days later we heard Foday Sankoh say over the radio that the RUF should leave the bush, join the AFRC and join the People’s Army.
Events in 1998 and capture by the RUF
In February 1998 the witness was in Koidu Town, Kono District. Koidu Town is about five miles from his hometown Motema.
Shops were open and were looted by the AFRC and the People’s Army, the latter being another name for the RUF, Foday Sankoh’s fighters. They had guns and stole everything. Bull has not seen the actual looting, but when he arrived in Kaikondo Road and around there the shops were empty. On February 21, 1998 the witness was in Motema. Gunshots were heard on the road leading from Freetown to Kono. They were Kamajors and Donso’s (the Kono version of Kamajors, hunters). He took his family to Fakoya Bush, near Fakoya village where he and others have land to do farming. Fakoya is about three miles from Matema. Bull went with his wife, his uncle, his younger brother Immanuel, his children and a man called Thomas Kobie, a long time friend to which Bull also refers to as his brother. They hid in Fakoya Bush for almost two months. The junta had fled from Freetown and retreated to Kono District. The day after he and his family escaped, so the day after February 21, 1998, they heard from other civilians that at Masimbi Highway members of AFRC and People’s Army had killed people.
Events in Fakoya Bush
On April 15, 1998 Bull went to search for bush yams with his younger brother Emmanuel and Thomas Kobie, while one of his relatives and one of his cousins went on search for vegetables. Before the witness continued, he wrote down the full name of these two, his relation to these persons under A. and B. to protect their identity. The Defense agreed to this being done in such a manner, but added it was something the Defense normally objects to. The document is marked for identification as MFI-1. The witness continued saying that A and B went to search for vegetables. They were captured by members of the RUF. Close to the place where we were hiding Bull heard a gunshot upon which they dropped the yams and ran away. Later Bull met his brother in law and B, who told him A and B were captured by the RUF. B had been released but not A. B explained they both had been raped. A had been raped in such a way she could not even stand on her feet.
Here the Court takes a pause because the witness began to cry and resumed after a few minutes.
Bull continued to say that some men who were also captured were released, all of them having been captured for about three hours. Some of these men were relatives of the witness. Bull did not see A again until April 1999.
The released men gave him a message from the RUF: they would come back the following morning to meet the ones they had not captured yet. So the whole family left to go to Tongbodu in Kanaka chiefdom. The day after they arrived, the witness and six others decided to look for A. They met RUF men who had guns. Bull and two others were captured. After a long interview with them one of the RUF members admitted that A was with them, so the witness knew they were the same RUF men as the day before. He was taken away by a pikin, a child soldier, to be executed. Issa, the leader of that RUF group told the witness to take of his shirt. He did not take of his shirt. Pikin told him to lie on the ground, but Bull began to weep bitterly. The RUF commander told pikin to allow Bull to get up. The interview restarted and the witness told the RUF again that he was from Freetown and did not know anybody around Kono. Bull’s father was told to leave. The RUF was in search for civilians for reasons unknown to the witness. The witness and his younger brother Immanuel were forced to go with the RUF. They met other civilians who had to turn over rice and palm oil and one civilian was beaten up. One RUF man was called Ngoba. The witness later escaped but Immanuel could not and Bull was able to locate his wife, children and father. He heard from others that Mary Nelson, a 14-year old girl, Thomas Kobie and B had been taken by the RUF, the witness did not see them back until 1991.
The witness was in Fakoya Bush from February 21 until 15 April, 1998. He and his family went to Banankoro later in April 1998 and met the Kamajors there. The Kamajors told them to leave as they were fighters, so the witness left with his family for Mamboma in Nimikono Chiefdom.
At 11.30 Court adjourned for the mid-morning break.