Note: Technical problems with the live stream of the trial significantly affected the recording of details for today’s session.
10:00am: The prosecution today called the 84th witness in the trial of Charles Taylor. The witness, Dauda A Fornie (DAF) is a former RUF signal commander. DAF, as he was commonly called by his RUF colleagues also carried the allias Blue Diamond. He said that he was captured by the RUF at age 16 in 1991 while returning to his boarding school from holidays. He said that he was trained in signal communications by the NPFL Signal Unit in the Liberian provincial city of Tubmanburg, in Bomi County. He said that the first overall Signal Commander for the RUF was a Liberian named CO. Nyaa.
The witness said that he was in Tubmanburg in 1992 when RUF and NPFL fighters withdrew from the city and moved to the city of Kakata in Margibi County. The witness said he was in Kakata when the NPFL launched Operation Octopus in Monrovia. He said that during the said Operation Octopus, Mr. Taylor and Foday Sankoh made joint visits to the frontlines in Monrovia on a regular basis.
In describing the relationship between Mr. Taylor and Foday Sankoh, the witness said that the two men had a cordial relationship and that in mid 1992, Mr. Taylor was regularly informed abour RUF operations in Sierra Leone through high frequency radio.
The witness explained that in 1992, when the RUF attempted to cut-off the supply route of the Sierra Leone arms on the Bo-Kenema highway, the army pushed them out of Sierra Leone into Liberia. He described various NPFL units which provided support to the RUF when they came under attacks from enemy forces. Some of the groups mentioned were Zimbabwe, Special Task Force, SS Corpra, Death Squad, Black Gadaffa and Scorpion. He said that when the RUF retreated to Liberia in 1992, these groups reinforced them so that they would attack the enemy and cross back into Sierra Leone. Making special enphasis on the Special Task Force, the witness said that the group was comprised of purely Liberians.
Speaking of radio communications between the RUF and Mr. Taylor, the witness said he was present when they sent a message from the RUF frontline to Liberia that the enemies had attacked Pujehun District in Sierra Leone and were advancing towards the Bo Waterside on the Sierra Leone/Liberian border. The witness said he was at Bomi Hills in Liberia at this time.
When asked about code names used by verious commanders in the RUF and NPFL, the witness said that Mr. Taylor was called EBONY, Foday Sankoh was called TOYOTA and Gen. De Gbon was called ENERGY. Speaking of various call signs, he said that those in Pendembu were 35, and Mr. Taylor’s radio station was 3 Top at a particular point in time. He said that the code names were not static as they changed with time.
The witness is set to continue his testimony tomorrow. Court adjourned for the day.