3:00pm: Court resumed after lunch break and witness TF1-045 Augustine Sama Mallah continued and concluded his examination-in-chief. The witness spoke about several things including Foday Sankoh’s return to Sierra Leone after his release from prison, problems between Sankoh and Bockarie and the latter’s subsequent departure for Liberia.
Foday Sankoh’s Return to Sierra Leone
The witness testified that after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord, Foday Sankoh was released from prison and he returned to Sierra Leone. The witness said that they were originally expecting Sankoh to go to Buedu but that the international community convinced him to travel straight to Freetown. When Sankoh went to Freetown, he travelled to Buedu together with the UN Force Commander Gen. Jetley in order to meet with RUF fighters. When Sankoh went to Buedu, the witness said that he asked Bockarie to assign 30 bodyguards to live with him in Freetown. The witness said he was one of those assigned to serve as bodyguard to Sankoh and they travelled to Freetown. The witness was in Freetown for about 2 to 3 months and lived at Sankoh’s residence on Spur road in Freetown.
Problems Between Sankoh and Bockarie
The witness said that at some point, he left Freetown for Segbwema. Asked why he made the trip, the witness said that he was sent by Sankoh to go and address the fighters there that they should no longer take orders from Bockarie. He said that Sankoh accused Bockarie of refusing to take orders from him. He said that Bockarie on the other hand said that Sankoh had been away for sometime while he (Bockarie) had taken care of the RUF and now that Sankoh was back, he was supposed to listen to him about the reality on the ground. The witness siad that Bockarie on the other hand had told the fighters in Segbwema that they should not allow any unauthorized persons from Segbwemah to Kailahun including RUF fighters and UN peacekeepers. The witness said that while in Segbwemah, Issa Sesay arrived there with armed men and told them he was on his way to go and advice Bockarie in Buedu that it was unacceptable for him to refuse to take orders from Sankoh. He said that Issa called Bockarie on radio and told him he was on his way with armed men to give military advice to him and let him know he will not be allowed to corrupt the RUF. Bockarie on his side said that he had struggled to keep the RUF together and that if they were going to attack him, he was leaving with all the things he had for the RUF, including diamonds and money. The witness said that they joined Issa to go meet Bockarie in Buedu but by the time they got there, Bockarie had left for Liberia with many fighters and civilians.
RUF Mining Activities in Tongo
The witness said that when Bockarie left the RUF and went to Liberia, his position was taken by Issa Sesay. The witness said that in 2000, he moved to Tongo for RUF mining activities there. The witness said that when he went to Tongo, there was government and private mining activities taking place there. Government mining he said meant RUF mining while private mining was that undertaken by private commanders. He said that the mining policy was that all private mining was to be done with the approval of the mining commander and that government mining had priority over all private mining. He said that any diamonds found which were over 5 carats were to be handed over to the RUF mining commander. He said that civilians were used as miners. He said that there were various mining commanders at different times in Tongo. He said that when they wanted civilians to do mining, they would convene a meeting of all batallion and brigade commanders and the mining commander would tell them how many civilians he needed for mining on a particular day or within partecular periods. The witness said that they would move around and arrest the civilians to do forced mining. The witness said that all diamonds mined were handed over to the mining commander who will in turn hand them over to Issa Sesay. He said that Issa took most of the diamonds to Taylor in Liberia and returned with lots of arms and ammunition plus United States dollars. He said when Issa brought the dollars, he told them that since the RUF was going to become a political party, they needed the money for elections. He said Issa told them that the ammunitions were necessary because during peacetime, it was necessary to propare for war.
The witness further spoke about problems that occured between himself and some of his colleagues on the one hand and Issa and Kallon on the other. He said that at some point in Makeni, Issa and Kallon had them beaten and almost executed. The witness said that when he was released, he returned to Tongo, took his arm and disarmaed to the UN.
This brought the witness’s examintion to a conclusion. Defense cross-examination commences tomorrow.
Court adjourned for the day.