Morning Session: 79th Prosecution Witness Mustapha Mansaray Begins His Testimony

The Hague

October 30, 2008

79th Prosecution witness TF1-210

Prosecution witness TF1-210 is a category one witness and will testify in Open Court without protective measures. The witness is brought in sitting in a wheelchair, is sworn in on the Koran and will testify in Mende. Prosecution Counsel Nicholas Koumjian will lead the witness.


The name of the witness is Mustapha Mansaray. He was born in 1948 in Zimmi, Makpele Chiefdom, Pujehun District. He speaks Mende and a little Krio. Mansaray never went to school but later received adult education given to amputees.

Events in 1993

In 1993 Mansaray and his family werre living in Zimmi. The rebels were killing and amputating people. Foday Sankoh was the leader of these rebels. One day Sankoh came to Zimmi and assembled the people and gave a speech. The witness personally saw and heard him. Sankoh spoke of the war, told the people that they should feed the fighters and that if property was taken from civilians they should not swear or insult anybody, because he brought the war to free people from slavery. There was a war and property did not belong to the civilians but to the fighters. Some of the rebels dressed like civilians but had red head bands. The rebels spoke the Gio, Gola and Vai languages, all those “Mai Meh” languages from Liberia. With the last expression is meant: hey man, hey fellow. When the rebels attacked Zimmi Mansaray and his family fled to his uncle in Moala. On the way there the witness saw corpses. Moala is also in the Pujahun District. At that time there were no rebels in Moala, but the rebels did come later. The witness’s uncle one day was harvesting and the rebels came. The uncle was captured and brought to the centre of Moala. The rebels assembled the people and said that civilians should not harvest. His uncle Gibril Turay was decapitated.

Objection by the Defense

At this moment Defense Counsel Morris Anyah rose to object to make an application for adjournment because the name of the uncle had not been disclosed to the Defense before this Court session and it would be unfair to his client not to be given time to investigate this incident.
Prosecution Counsel Koumjian answered that the event had been disclosed to the Defense before in several statements, the first statement dating from 2003, however the name was not revealed until today in Court.

The judges conferred and ruled. They do acknowledge that the accused has the right to full disclosure and this has not been done as is the duty of the Prosecution. The event has been disclosed however. They will not strike out the evidence, but if required so, the Defense may apply for more time to investigate.
The Defense will wait with such a possible application until the examination in chief will have been concluded.


Prosecution Counsel Koumjian continued his examination in chief and established the following. The witness left Zimmi in 1993. There were checkpoints between Zimmi and Moala. At the checkpoints there were decapitated heads on sticks. The witness passed through checkpoints with his people. The first time he went through a checkpoint he had to step six feet away and the rebels wanted to kill him. His little son prevented that because the rebel took a liking to this son. The rebels took away his Koran from the witness.

Kono and mining

From Moala the witness and his family went to Ro-Nyortor in the Tonkolili District. From there they went to Kono, because other civilians had said it would be safer there because the South-Africans were there. When the witness arrived in Kono, he does not remember anymore exactly when that was, indeed the South-Africans were there. He stayed in the village of Tongoma. He would search and fetch wood and also was involved in diamond mining. He worked for different civilians in diamond mining. If the rebels would come they would wash the gravel or let other people to the washing and the rebels would take the proceeds for themselves. The witness remembered the election of President Kabbah in 1996, the witness voted and he was in Tongoma. The witness heard that Kabbah was overthrown by Johnny Paul Koroma and Sam Bockarie and their men; at this moment the witness was still in Tongoma. Foday Sankoh had said that the rebels and soldiers should join together and they did. Then things changed in Tongoma and Mansaray left for another town called Wordu, Sandor Chiefdom. Wordu has about 200 houses. For food they searched for cassava and bananas around the town.


One day the rebels and soldiers came, they did not attack the town, but they were capturing people. The rebels also came to his house and Mansaray was captured by a rebel called Farma, he thought it was April 12, 1998. It was a mixed group of soldiers and rebels, but Farma was a soldier. He was beaten up and was taken to where the rebels were lodged. There were more civilians captured, about five. The civilians had to carry the looted items, the rice and the palm oil. Three separate groups left, the first group left for Yarya, this group consisted of soldiers and rebels and civilians carrying loads for them. The second group also consisted of rebels, soldiers and civilians. The witness was in the third group and this group went to Tombodu, on foot. The first night they arrived in Masundu, Sandor Chiefdom; the second night they arrived in Peyima. In Peyima Ibrahim Fofana was captured. Apart from the witness there were five other civilians in that third group. The third day the group arrived in Tombodu. The civilians were taken to the head quarters and rested their loads there. Staff Alhaji was the commander there. The civilians were taken to the guard room. There were 53 civilians already there. The witness had not eaten in three days. All civilians had to strip naked. Sergeant Mohamed came and said they had fulfilled their duties and they were free to go, but the witness didn’t believe him. Then Staff Alhaji said he was going to do his work.


Staff Alhaji was completely dressed in white. Alhaji asked for a mortar and it was brought to him. Ibrahim Fofana was in front of the witness. Fofana had to put his arm on the mortar and Alhaji chopped the arm, but it was not severed. Fofana was told to pull his own hand off the arm where it was still partly attached. There were gunmen standing behind him, so Fofana pulled the hand until it dropped. Then they pushed the mortar towards the witness. Staff Alhaji chopped his hand and then his other hand until it was severed. The witness felt dizzy. The other man, Sorie, also had his two hands chopped off by Staff Alhaji. Sorie fell down and he died, he was older than the witness. Of all the ones who had their hands amputated, only the witness and Ibrahim Fofana survived. Alhaji said that the amputees would never use their hands again to vote for Pa Kabbah. Staff Alhaji told the two of them to go to ECOMOG. Then Alhaji told his men to put petrol on the house and set it on fire. 53 people were in that house. The people in the house were crying in their own language: Temne, Mende, Kono and Fullah. When they were crying the witness said to Pa Brima (= Ibrahim Fofana) that the two of them should go. The people in the house could not get out, the doors and windows were nailed. There were men with guns around the house to prevent people from escaping. Fofana and the witness left, the witness felt dizzy often. On the way the witness saw five corpses, all men. Mansaray met a suckling mother, she was on her way to Tombodu. She took off her wrap and wrapped it around the witness, as he was still naked.

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