Morning Session: 51st Prosecution Witness TF1-263 Komba Sumana is Called to the Stand

The Hague

October 6, 2008

This morning Prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian made an application for the protective measures of prosecution witness TF1-263 to be rescinded and made a new application that part of the identifying data of this witness, namely his address and current whereabouts, not be disclosed to the public and the media. The Defense had no objections. The judges ruled that the first application was redundant and granted the second application. The witness will testify in Kono and was sworn in on the Bible. Prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian will do the examination in chief.


The name of the witness is Komba Sumana, he was born in Koidu in 1984, from the Kono tribe and speaks Kono and Krio. He had education up to form 4 and does not know how to read. His father was a policeman and had workers mine for him in Bumpe, Koidu District.

Change of government

When there was a change of government, Sumana was still young, he can not tell when that was, but does remember hearing about it over the radio. At the time he was living with his parents and brothers and sisters in Koidu Town in an area called Tankoro. Life changed after the change of government: schools closed down, offices, including the police station closed down, businesses closed down. Soldiers, some in uniform and others in civilian clothing but with guns, were harassing people. Some civilians stayed in town, others left for the villages. The Lebanese and Marakas left. Some who had the opportunity left for Guinea. His father stopped mining, Sumana does not know if others were mining there, because he and his family no longer went there.

Leaving home

Within one month after the change of government, Sumana and his family left Tankoro for his mother’s village Yekeyor. Nearby in his father’s village Pakidu the family had a coffee farm. The distance between Pakidu and Yekeyor is less than an hour’s walk. The family spent three weeks in Yekeyor and then went to Pakidu. While in Pakidu the rebels burnt houses in Yekeyor, also the house of Sumana’s family. That same night the family, as well as everybody else in Pakidu, went into the bush. The next day Sumana’s elder sister Kumba went to Yekeyor to find out but she did not come back. Sumana never saw Kumba again. Civilians from Yekeyor told the family later that she had been killed by rebels. The family spent a month in Pakidu Bushes, living in a hut, it was the rainy season.

Captured by rebels

One night six rebels came, some were in full combat, others in combat trousers and civilian shirts. Some spoke Mende, others Liberian English. Sumana could escape but stayed close to the house and could see what happened. The rebels asked for rice, when they did not get it, the poured hot water from a pot that had been on the fire, on a man who was visiting Sumana’s family. The man still has the scars up to this day. One rebel tied a rope around his father’s throat, but when his father started to cry, untied it again. He heard people screaming. The rebels stole rice, clothing and other items. The rebels then took away his family, the witness following them at a little distance. He met his aunt, the younger sister of his father and was able to stay with her for a while, hiding in the bushes. Later they heard ECOMOG was in Koidu Town and they went there. On the way they saw corpses lying beside the road, civilians. They did not find ECOMOG, but were attacked by rebels. Everybody fled in different directions and Sumana lost sight of his aunt. While on the run the witness met a man called Pa Hassan who took care of him for a while. After a while both of them were captured by rebels with guns, youths not adults, and taken to Kissi Town.

Article 4c Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone

The witness presented to the Court the original voting identity card that he received in 2002 during elections in Sierra Leone. In 2002 the witness was 18 years old. This means that at the time of his capture he was under 15 years old. Lead Defense Counsel Courtenay Griffiths rose to have this voting identity card copied in colour and marked for identification in connection with article 4c of the Statute of the Special Court. Article 4 deals with other serious violations of international humanitarian law and article 4c states: “The Special Court shall have the power to prosecute persons who committed the following serious violations of international humanitarian law: conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate in hostilities.” A copy of this voting identity card is marked for identification as MFI-2. A copy of Sumana’s birth certificate was already marked for identification as MFI-1.

Time in Kissi Town

A commander of the base in Kissi Town was major Wallace, a Liberian, who spoke Krio (but with an accent), Liberian English and a language from a Liberian tribe that Sumana could not understand. Wallace served under Superman and used to be a ULIMO soldier under Alhaji Kromah. Pa Hassan was released but Sumana had to become an SBU (member of Small Boy Unit) and as such had to perform domestic duties such as fetching water and pounding rice.


It was custom that captured civilians stayed in the house of their capturers, therefore the witness stayed with his capturers: Wuya, Opong and Alie. One night these three went on patrol and captured women and children. All were released except two women. The two women were raped in the house by the three rebels. The witness could hear the women crying and saying: “Get off me, get off me”.

Different rebel camps

There were different rebel camps in the area, each with a different commander: Superman was the commander of Kissi Town, General Issa was the commander of PC Ground and Morris Kallon was the commander of Banya Ground. All commanders were subject to Mosquito. Alie had once pointed out General Issa to the witness and Sumana has seen Morris Kallon visit Kissi Town.

Witnessing killing of civilians

One time the witness was taken beyond PC Ground. Five civilians were tied up and General Issa who had a pistol and Issa’s bodyguards were standing around these civilians. The witness walked away and subsequently heard gunshots. When he came back, the five civilians had been shot to death.
Another time on patrol the witness and others approached Banya Ground when they heard gunshots. When they approached, a man had been shot and Sumana saw the man “struggling to die”. Later he heard that Morris Kallon had killed the man because the man had let one of Kallon’s sheep die.

At 11.30 a.m. Court is adjourned for the mid-morning break.