9:30am: Court resumed and defense counsel Courtaney Griffiths continued the cross-examination of Witness TF1-568, Mohamed Kabba. Defense counsel asked several questions about things said in the witness’s written statement, which differ from his oral testimony in cour, instructions from Sankoh that the RUF should join the AFRC, purchase of arms and ammunition during the AFRC period, witness’s trip to Liberia, and the whereabouts of radio communication sets in the possession of the witness at the time of the disarmament in Sierra Leone.
Sankoh’s Orders for the RUF to Join the AFRC
Defense counsel asked the witness about comments in his written statement that Taylor had written a letter to the RUF, instructing them to join the AFRC. He also referenced another portion of the witness’s written statement that he did not know of any instructions from Taylor that the RUF should join the AFRC, rather, he only knew of Taylor’s efforts to mediate disputes between Sam Bockarie and Johnny Paul Koroma (JPK). Defense counsel sought to establish which of the witness”s two accounts was the correct statement. The witness responded that when the AFRC overthrew President Kabba in 1997, Sankoh made a phone call to somebody in Liberia, who then passed the information to Osman Tolo, the RUF radio operator in Monrovia, who inturn sent a radio messages to all RUF radio operators in Sierra Leone, that Sankoh wanted them to join the RUF. He said that Sankoh later sent a letter, through Taylor, who inturn gave it to Jungle, and was taken to the RUF, confirming that they should join the AFRC. He therefore stated in clear terms that he did not know of any orders from Taylor that the RUF should join the AFRC.
Shipment of Arms during the AFRC Junta Rule
Defense counsel asked the witness about the radio traffic between the AFRC and RUF radios during the AFRC junta rule. The witness agreed that there were radio traffics between the two groups since they were using the same frequency. Defense counsel asked the witness whether he monitored any radio communications regarding the shipment of arms into the country, when there was an arms embargo on the country. The witness responded that the shipment of arms was a very sensitive military matter which was not discussed on radio. Defense asked the witness about arms brought to the Magburaka airstrip by an aircraft from Burkina Faso. He responded that he did not know of any such thing. Defense counsel asked the witness whether he knew of any other airstrip in Sierra Leone during the junta rule. The witness responded that he saw an airstrip that was constructed in Buedu. He said the purpose of the airstrip was to enable arms to be flown directly into Sierra Leone from Libya, rather than passing through Liberia. He said the airstrip in Buedu was never used.
AFRC and RUF Conflicts Over Diamonds
The witness agreed with defense counsel that after the removal of the AFRC from power in 1998, there was a sense of mistrust between the RUF and AFRC. The AFRC, he said, did not like the fact that they had to take orders from the RUF in the jungle. He said there were allegations that JPK had diamonds that he wanted to escape with. The diamonds were retrieved from JPK and were given to Issa to take to Liberia. Issa, he said, came back and said the diamonds were missing. He said there were suspicions that Issa had used the diamonds for his own purpose, rather than misplacing them.
Witness’s Trips to Liberia
Defense counsel referenced the witness’s statement that he never went to Liberia. The witness responded that he meant to say he had never gone to Monrovia but had gone to other parts of Liberia such as Foya, Kolahun and Voinjama. The witness could not say how many times he went to Liberia. Defense counsel also referenced witness’s written statement that he had gone to Liberia to fight against ULIMO. The witness responded that he meant to say he fought against LURD rebels, not ULIMO. The statement further stated that the witness had gone to Liberia to fight against ULIMO on two occassions. The witness responded that the facts were wrongly stated and that he had gone to Liberia to fight on only one occassion. Defense also produced the hand written notes taken during the witness’s statement, which quote the witness as saying he was sent to Liberia to fight against ULIMO on two occassions. The witness said he was misquoted.
Radio Sets in Witness’s Possession
Defense counsel asked the witness about the number of radio sets he had in his possession after the disarmament in Sierra Leone. The witness said he could not recall but only had radio sets that were operating in the Kono area. The other radio operators in other parts of the country, he said, disarmed with their radio sets. He said the police took all the radio sets from him when they searched his house in Kono for arms and ammunition. He said he also once gave one radio set to somebody to sell for him. He said the person did not give him any money in return.
Court adjourned for mid-morning break.