October 28, 2008
Examination of Ibrahim Fofana continued
Prosecution Counsel Julia Baly continued her examination in chief of 75th prosecution witness Ibrahim Fofana. The witness continued his testimony where he left off yesterday. He and his family went back home to Paema but then fell into an ambush. Soldiers in full combat came and tied up the witness and others. The house of the witness was put on fire, with his three children and his aunt still in the house. They could not get out and all four of them were burnt alive. The witness and the four others had to carry loads to Tombodu, Kamara Chiefdom. When they reached Tombodu, the rebels took them to one of their commanders, Staff Alhaji and were subsequently tied to an orange tree. A group of 53 people were put together in a house. A report was presented to Staff Alhaji, that 53 prisoners were in the house and that they were from Masundu. The 53 prisoners were locked in and the house was set on fire. There was screaming and then there was silence. Staff Alhaji came to the orange tree and said that ex president Kabbah needed hands to vote for him. He assigned a man, Rambo, to do this. Rambo was dressed in uniform. Rambo amputated the hands of all five men.
At this moment in Court the witness raised his arms and showed his arms to the Court. Both hands are amputated above the wrist.
All five men tied to the tree had their hands amputated. The five were released and went on their way to find ECOMOG. The date was April 5, 1998. Three of them fell down, bleeding profusely; they were older than the witness. The witness said he does not know if they ever got up or died there, he never saw them again. The witness himself and the other man, Mustapha Mansaray, reached ECOMOG who took care of them both. Their arms were bandaged and they were given medicine. The following day they were taken to a hospital in Makeni, but there they could not take care of them well, so the following day they were taken to Connaught Hospital in Freetown. The hospital was full with persons like him. A photograph taken from a video is shown to the witness and he identified the person as himself. The photograph is marked for identification as MFI-1. Since this event he has had two more children. He can not work anymore and begs in the street. His wife takes care of him.
Defense Counsel Morris Anyah referred to the video where the photograph MFI-1 is taken from. He would like to show the video but the video needs to be tested in the Court room which will take about 30 minutes.
Court is adjourned for an early mid-morning break at 10.15 a.m.