October 6, 2008
General Issa had sent a message that all captured civilians had to come to P. Ground for an announcement. So the witness was sent there by Wallace. There was a big meeting in PC Ground, more than 200 were present. Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon were there. Mosquito wanted to have people trained. Morris Kallon selected the people who were going to be trained, men and women, adults and children. The witness was selected. The selected ones had to queue and they left the same evening. There was no choice, they were held at gunpoint, anyone refusing would be killed. They travelled on foot by footpaths to Kailahun, it took three weeks to get there. They arrived at an open place with huts. They slept there and the next morning Mosquito came with his bodyguards. The rebels said that if the training was finished they would go back to Kono “to clear Kono”. One woman trainer was called Monica, she spoke Liberian English. The training lasted for two months. The training started each day with jogging. They were taught how to crawl in an ambush and how to shoot. First they used sticks, later guns: AK 47’s. The witness was taught how to dismantle, assemble, clean and shoot a gun. They were taught by the rebels how to take over a town: they would be divided into three groups and attack the town from different directions. The woman Monica taught them how to burn a house. During the training they were treated badly: beaten up with canes and given little food, sometimes not more than a spoon full. The witness showed the scars on his knee and leg. It was caused by his training, crawling over the ground. Not everyone survived the training, one man fell ill and died.
Mission in Kono
At the end of the training Mosquito came again and brought two vehicles with guns. Sumana and the other trainees were again told by Mosquito that they would be going back to Kono “to clear Kono”. There were soldiers in the vehicles, one rebel said to the witness that they were Charles Taylor’s soldiers, they were wearing red caps and spoke Liberian English. These soldiers came from Buedu and brought weapons: RPG bombs, mortars, AK’s and large guns. The weapons were new and old ones. The rebels gave the adults the new ones, the children were given the old ones. The witness received an AK 47, but no ammunition. When the weapons were distributed, Mosquito again said they would go to Kono to clear Kono, they would leave the next day. They arrived in PC Ground after travelling three weeks and six days. The commander on the way was called “Blood”. Mosquito and General Issa were not with this group. After they had arrived in PC Ground General Issa said they would have to do “Operation No Living Thing” the next day. The witness felt frightened and hid himself that evening, he escaped to KissI Town. He explained to Wallace that he was not used to fighting, he gave his gun to Wallace. He did not go on the mission but Wallace did. The witness stayed at home with Wallace’s wife, she was Sierra Leonean, Temne by tribe. The fight was between the rebels and ECOMOG and took place in Koidu Town. The attack was not successful for the rebels. At the time Wallace’s commander was Superman and Superman’s commander was Mosquito.
Moving to Tombodu and Kurubonla
Superman called a meeting and said he was moving to Tombodu, everybody in Kissi Town, including the witness and Wallace went along. In Tombodu there was a rebel called Savage, he killed one civilian a day and there was a pit with decaying bodies to prove it, referred to as the “savage pit”. To avoid being killed by him, the witness stayed indoors as much as possible.
Later there was a meeting and it was decided to move to Kurubonla, they travelled on foot divided into three groups, the witness was in the middle group. In Kurubonla there were commanders: SAJ Musa, Five-Five and General Bropleh. There were members of three different groups: STF (Special Task Force), RUF (Revolutionary United Front) and SLA (Sierra Leonean Army). The next day there was a meeting. Superman told SAJ Musa that he had brought bullets after which it was decided that the next day they would launch an attack on Mongo Bendugu. Sumana and Wallace went on this attack, it was a three day walk. The attack was successful and they captured a lot of weapons and ammunition and carried these back to Kurubonla.
Court is adjourned for lunch break at 1.30 p.m.