Morning Session: 46th Prosecution Witness TF1-173 Tamba Mondeh Takes the Stand

The Hague

September 29, 2008

Prosecutor Alan Werner made an application to rescind the pre-trial protective measures the 46th prosecution witness TF1-173 has been enjoying, the witness would like to testify in open Court.
The Defense does not oppose a general rescission but does not waive the right to challenge a rescinding application.
After having conferred the judges decided the witnesses’ protective measures to be rescinded. The witness was sworn in and will be testifying in Kono. Prosecutor Alan Werner will examine the witness and Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths will cross-examine the witness.


The name of witness TF1-173 is Tamba Mondeh, he lives in Motema, Kono, Sierra Leone, he speaks Kono and a little Krio, he is married and has four children.

Escaping the rebels

At the time when the government of President Kabbah was ousted by the AFRC, the witness was living in Motema with his family. The rebels came and harassed people, so he fled with his family to a village in the bush called Sawako. They stayed there for a while but then moved to another village called Timgbor, where he and his family also stayed for a while. From there they went to another village but Mondeh cannot remember the name of the village. They spent about three weeks there, the rebels came and caused destruction. From there they fled to Kangama Ngorama, where they stayed not very long. The witness saw a man there whose arms and neck were mutilated by the rebels. ECOMOG soldiers in the village took this victim to Kenema hospital where he could be treated. A child of the witness, Sahr Mondeh fell ill and died in Kangama Ngorama. Later Mondeh heard that ECOMOG soldiers were in Ngaiama, Nimikoro and also in Bumpeh and Koidu. Whenever ECOMOG would capture a place, an announcement would come from Freetown. Then people would go there to be safe from the rebels. The witness and his family also went to Ngaiama, Nimikoro, then to Bumpeh and then to Motema. ECOMOG was there too. In Motema Mondeh and his family stayed in the house of Samuel Bull. A lot of civilians were in that house, a house under construction. Mondeh and his family and others were on the ground floor.

Attack by the rebels in Motema

One day the witness and the other civilians were sleeping in the house and they heard whispering outside. The rebels had come. The house did not have a door, they used to block the door with a zink. When the civilians wanted to go outside the rebels told them to go back in the house. They returned into the house. The rebels outside said that the civilians did not want them, but ECOMOG and that therefore all civilians would be killed by their leader Fixobio. The witness was inside the house, but he could hear them say this. The witness knew Fixobio from the time he was doing diamond mining. The rebels went inside the house and took the civilians outside. The witness was inside and a rebel shot him in the chin/throat. He has a scar of about 9 cm going from his lower lip until his adam’s apple as a result of that. Another man called Aiah and his young daughter were shot and died. After the shooting of the three of them all civilians were brought outside and were told to queue. Outside the witness saw Fixobio face to face and he recognised him. Then the witness heard the sound of gunshots. The rebels were shooting, they broke people’s legs, they broke people’s arms, they killed people. The witness’s wife’s foot was broken this way. His child too was shot in his shoulder. The witness himself fell down in a bush. He removed his shirt and tied it around his chin. Mondeh has witnessed the rebels set two houses on fire. Later ECOMOG soldiers arrive in an armoured car from Koikema. The rebels left and the ECOMOG soldiers came to the civilians. Later that day the witness went into Motema town and saw many corpses on the street. ECOMOG said that if the rebels would come, the civilians should not run, because the ECOMOG would take care to them. When he was in the hospital in Lebanon, Kono District, Mondeh heard from Samuel Bull, who visited him there, that 25 people were killed by the rebels on that day. Later the wounded were transported from there in a vehicle to Makeni by ECOMOG. On the way to Makeni a man, who had been shot in his back, died. The wounded were brought to a hospital in Makeni where they were treated. The following morning ECOMOG returned to take the patients to Freetown to the Konot (spelling?) hospital where they received further treatment. The witness was in the hospital for a year for his chin. His jaw bone is not like it used to be as a result of what happened at the time in Motema. Even while talking his chin and head hurt. He cannot work to take care of his family, he is a beggar. He is not able to work because of these injuries caused by the shooting of the rebels. He feels pain in his heart that he cannot take care of his family.

The Prosecution has no further questions and Court is adjourned for the mid-morning break 10 minutes early due to the absence of Lead Defense Counsel Griffiths who is on his way to Court and who will cross-examine the witness after the mid-morning break.