Taylor Says He Did Not Know About The Establishment of the RUF in Sierra Leone

Charles Taylor did not help plan the rebel invasion of Sierra Leone in March 1991, nor know about the existence of the revolutionary group that started the 11-year Sierra Leonean conflict, he told the Special Court for Sierra Leone today.

“I had no knowlege in March 1991 of a group called the RUF planning a war in Sierra Leone,” Taylor said.

Taylor was referring to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a  Sierra Leonean rebel group that Taylor has has been accused of working with and controlling as it comitted crimes in Sierra Leone after 1996. The RUF and its then leader, Foday Sankoh, were not among those Taylor met while his troops were undergoing military training in Libya between 1987 and 1989, he said.  Foday Sankoh, Taylor told the court, had no credentials of a revolutionary and that he would not have supported Sankoh to wage a war against the then Sierra Leonean president Joseph S. Momoh, who he considered a friend.

“Those in Libya were not the RUF but the Sierra Leone Pan-African Revolutionary Movement and I only met with Ali Kabbah in Libya,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he was “shocked to hear that a war had started in Sierra Leone” in March 1991 and contrary to prosecution allegations, he was not part of a meeting which planned the invasion against neighboring Sierra Leone.

“I was never present at such a meeting, its a lie. If there was such a meeting, I would not know. I was not present at such a meeting,” Taylor said.

Taylor did admit, however, that between August 1991 to May 1992, he had some relationship with the RUF, during which period he offered some help to them. He considered the RUF to be fighting the same foe as his own revolutionary force:  the United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO) rebels operating in Liberia with support from the Sierra Leone Government.

Since the two groups had a common enemy in ULIMO, Taylor said he asked to meet the leader of the RUF, Foday Sankoh.  Taylor said the first time the two met was in Liberia when Sankoh visited him to discuss the placement of troops from Taylor’s rebel group – the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) — around the Sierra Leonean border to try to contain ULIMO attacks against the NPFL and RUF.

Taylor  said he gave Sankoh a house in NPFL headquarters in Gbarngha, Liberia where he would stay whenever he visited. He said that during such visits, Sankoh had access to NPFL communication facilities but that he “had no control over Foday Sankoh.” During this period also, Taylor admitted to supplying the RUF with small amounts of arms and ammunition since they were fighting a common enemy in ULIMO.

Taylor said that the relationship between the two groups ended in March 1992 when RUF rebels had serious clashes with NPFL fighters present in and around the Sierra Leone-Liberian border.  Taylor said that after severing relationship with Sankoh in May 1992, he only spoke with him again in July 1999 during the peace talks between the Government of Sierra and the RUF in Lome, Togo.

Mr. Taylor also told the judges that he took actions to stop the intervention of West African peacekeepers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia. These peacekeepers, he said, intervened because they believed that the presence of a civilian revolutionary movement in Liberia would have influenced many people in the West African sub-region.

He said he “had warned that certain ECOWAS countries had taken sides in the conflict” and therefore their presence in Liberia was against NPFL interests. ECOWAS peacekeepers, Mr. Taylor said, attacked NPFL controlled territories, launching cluster bombs which caused several civilian casualties.

Taylor’s testimony will continue tomorrow.


  1. If President Taylor said he had no knowledge then he had no knowledge. The question is how do we as human find that out?

    1. Teah,

      That statement is not true that Sam Bockerie called Taylor his boss. If that did happen the Prosecution who had all the BBC interviews would have definitely presented that audio statement to the court.

    2. Teah,
      Did you hear the WORDS yourself or did someone LIE to you?? The prosecutors had ALL INTERVIEWS Mr. Taylor gave to BBC….if true, why didn’t they present this “BOSS” one to cement her case??

    3. You are not reading my friend. never in human history did Sam Bockerie called Mr. Taylor his boss. The BBC does not have such they say recording as you guys believe from the start of this case. Please wake up and give your ears a better chance to hear Mr. Taylor side of the lies that was told about him by people of Sierra Lone and their white masters. For us, we will never bow to the white golden image never.

    4. THANK YOU TEAH. ASK THE LIBERIANS WHO KEEP DEFENDING HIM THAT QUESTION. Taylor claims Momoh was his friend, but yet, he joined forces with his enemy (RUF). He claim to work with them for a year from 1991 to 1992 the begining of the S. Leone war. Offering them weapons and giving Sankoh a house. Sankoh had no connects for sophisticated weapons, the guy was hardly educated. He was a photographer for God’s sake. So they relied on Taylor to get them those things. Read the testimony from Moses blah, You’ll see that taylor had contacts with RUF after 1992

  2. Wow, Charles Taylor is saying that he had no Idea of the RUF waging war on Sierra Leone In 1991? I dont believe that because they entered Sierra Leone through a territory that Charles Taylor controlled. How is it possible that he could not have known? The court has to prove that this is not true with evidence…. I think Bockerie was a mercenary who fought in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and possibly the Ivory Coast. So, I think when he fought for Charles Taylor, charles Taylor became his boss. That guy was killed some where in Nimba on his way to or from the Ivory Coast

    1. Solo, you don’t really know what you are talking about. Even as it is today in Liberia, with over 8000 United Nations troops, a group of people can enter Sierra Leone without the knowlege of UN security forces. What do you say about ULIMO operating from inside Sierra Leone to attacked Mr. Taylor’s position in Liberia? was the government in Sierra Leone aware as stated by Mr. Taylor? please let us hear from you.

  3. Well, we as Liberians need to be very much careful with our politicians, they are liars…… Even though not all, but this is a clear prove that they are not to be trusted.

    I saw Sam Bockerie and the late Sankor in Gbarnga, how then can Charles Taylor says he does not know about the formation of the RUF? Someone please help me out. The facts could have been unfolded, again the evidents are all lost, because Bockeri and Sankor are all dead people.

    1. You may have saw Sam Bockerie and Sankor in Gbarnga, but it was not about the formation of the RUF? Sam Bokarie did not join the RUF until mush later on, by then everyone knew who the RUF were and who the leader of that group was, Sankor.

    2. You saw Bockerie and Sankor in Gbarnga, yes, like other people that were seeking safe heaven in the 190s. But that does not mean Mr. Taylor knew about the formation of the criminal RUF. You don’t need to be help inorder to know this. All you need to do is to listen to Mr. Taylor and understand the facts about Liberia and Sierra Leone. The white lies will not help us in Africa if we embrace them like in the past.

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  5. Teah Brown
    Sam Bokarie did referred to Taylor as CHEIF in the interview you mentioned. He said “since the cheif have called for ceasefire we are going to honor it.” Isn’t it common in West Africa to make such reference to reputable folks?

    Solomon King, ULIMO attacked Liberia from Sierra Leone and killed thousands in the process. Can we conclude that the Sierra Leoneans Government had knowledge of ULIMO and supported them?

    1. Thomas, Momoh did have knowledge of this. Kabbah even stated this. You have to remember that these guys were rebels, who killed without caring who or what they were killing. Mosquito was the most ruthless of them all, so there’s no way he would have taken directions from taylor if there was no relationship between them. I believe it was moses blah who stated in his testimony that Sankoh called taylor with the maiming started in Sierra Leone and complained about to taylor about it with taylor replying that those sort of things are suppose to happen in war. The Guy is a murderer and is guilty. I do have to agree tho that the prosecution didn’t present any evidence of these acts. BUT THAT NEGRO IS GUILTY.

  6. All this talk about Taylor sponsoring war in Sierra Leone reinforces that negative perception of many people toward the lack of justice on the part of the international community. ULIMO committed , in my estimation, dangerous atrocities in Liberia more than the NPFL and made Lofa county into a moslem state. ULIMO imposed isamic laws in Lofa and used the people of Lofa in a chattel slavery manner.

    Is this socalled international court or the United Nation only interested in the human rights of Sierra Leoneans but not Liberians? The reason why we have this court set up against Mr. Taylor is simly due to the influence of prominent Sierra Leoneans in the international community. James Jonas , a SL was former under secretary of the UN and Abbas Bundo was executive secretary of ECOWAS. Combined with their political friends in Liberia like Dr. Boimah Fahnbulleh who went to school with Abbas Bondu. As a matter of fact, Fahnbulleh was special envoy for Dr. Amos Sawyer’s IGNU in Monrovia. This whole case is a pure MOJA operation to get rid of Taylor.

    MOJA people were the most educated in Liberia at the time and even today have always felt that they must take power in Liberia. Only Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh have somewhat seperated from that group, as the last Liberian presidential election shows. Tipoteh finally decided to support George Weah who was the people’s candidate while the rest of the socalled heavy wieght Ph.ds supported “lady politicain,” “the madam” Ellen Johnson. So this whole case against Mr. Taylor is politically motivated and lack any sensibilities for any thing called human rights abuses. Otherwise they would have also been prosecuting Sierra Leoneans who sponsored war in Liberia as far back as 1985. This case is about perception and not FACTS.

    1. I have tried resisting the temptation of adding my voice to simplistic ideals of Taylor’s loyalist. So i will drop some short hints for king Gray

      1) Taylor is on trials for crimes in Sierra Leone not Liberia. Your posting refers to alledge crimes by ULIMO and other factions in Liberia not Sierra Leone.

      2) There is nothing stopping Liberia from setting up their process of war crimes, i guess king gray will call this western conspiracy again. Do you therefore accept the TRC recommendations for war crimes?.

      3)Have Liberia ever ask UN to setup a court for right abuses in Liberia by Sierra Leone?

      4) By the way also, a mere invasion of a country by another does not constitutes war crimes. So let Taylor defend himself. We are all loooking and watching but from my own experinces of Liberia and Sierra Leone, it is good that this case is heard.

      1. Eagle eye,

        Welcome back! Remember it was the prosecution that introduced evidence about Liberia. What does Zizaz Marzah testimony about cannibalism in Liberia have to do with the case? Nothing! the prosecution is only trying to inflame the case because the their facts linking Taylor to Sierra Leone is so weak.

  7. Every news out of west Africa at the times in question suggested that Mr. Taylor had the most influence over the RUF,Accounts of night times chopper flights from the diamond mines of Kono in Sierra Leone to Mr. Taylor residance in Gbanga, and Mr. Taylor admitting to providing logging/residance to these RUF masterminds in the same Gbarnga town?

    1. Please stop these lies. No RUF chopper flight ever came to Gbranga, if so it would have being shot down like Nigerian aplha jets. Gbranga was no fly zone during when Mr. Taylor was operating from his Gbranga mansion.

  8. Tracy Gurd,

    Please see if you can get some Expert Commentary on the case so far. It seems that the Prosecution case was so weak none of the international law experts want to give an opinion.

    1. Dear Aki,

      We will try to get some more commentators for this site as you suggest. We may also do some legal analyses ourselves.

      Thanks for the comment.


  9. Hi

    Well Ziggy Salis you really had good ears ooh my brother you could here helicopter flight at night.
    to help you Mr Ziggy helicopter don’t normal fly at night even with the most experience pilot. and more beside these are forest region.

    My Taylor resident in Gbanga do not have anywhere for helicopter to land his modern house at congo town do not have such facility.
    so wake up my brother you are draming

    1. Zobon, I was not in Gbarnga during the war but there are things that you should know about copters: They can fly at night and day. They can land anywhere; they don’t even have to land they can hover above the ground and people jump from it.
      Lastly, you can hear the roaring of the helicopter engine miles away.
      BTW, it was known that Charles Taylor was the sponsor of the RUF. You had to have your heads in the sand to deny that fact. We Saw Foday Sankoh all around Monrovia, he refered to Taylor as Chief, even Mosquito did the same.

      Come on, Taylor got what he deserved, he should rot in jail.

  10. Tracey,
    Some of us have follow this trial from day one through this medium with the posting of transcript of the trail “Prosecution vs Charles Taylor”. Now, we are even more interested in this aspect of the trail and would appreciate it were you to provide us with the transcript of the trail instead of daily summaries which lacks the details that we want to know. If you are unable to bring the transcript then I suggest that you give us a link or subscription that will enable us have full details of Taylor testimony.

  11. King Gray,

    Im just curious to know exactly what MOJA means or stands for?

    I think too its best we dont deal with the case isolating human rights abuses from the political factors associated with them…So if it is some type of politically motivated reason Taylor is being brought before this court, my opinion is that it is important.

    These “political movements” and political leadership (not just Taylor’s but others as well) have fostered gross human rights abuses.

    As to ECOWAS and ECOMOG involvement in the war, from stories published it seems they were called in as “Africans helping other Africans” instead of America and/or the UN. However from what we have seen reported, it seems these forces did alot of harm versus good. Taylor might be right when he says they “chose sides”…this is wrong, but when innocent people are dying from 2 revolutionary factions how does one mitigate the war without choosing sides?? Call for a “cease fire”?

    Politics and Morality must go hand in hand!

    I reiterate what I have said in other posts…Liberia needs to gather it’s intellectual powerhouse and also bring the warlords involved to trial @ the ICC for crimes committed in Liberia. Taylor, and anybody else who has published a book, spoken about, preached about, their involvement in this “political movement” should all be included.

    1. Concerned Citizen in the US.,

      MOJA stand for the Movement of Justice in Africa. It was a marxist-Leninism idea that alot of opposition party members associated with in Liberia and other parts of Africa.

  12. i thought gbarnga is far from sierraleone,i was living in logan town and i know most of the area that share border with siearraleon was occupy by ecomong and ulimo.i remember when taylor want to take over monrovia and ulimo and ecomog join toghter to push him back by that time inpfl was run over by chralse taylor.and they did push taylor back.so how come they guy supported ruf,if ecomog and ulimo occupy all the space to sierraleone and npfl was hold bushrod island.

  13. Eagle-Eye, in response to your question: Let me categorically inform you that I do support the recommendation of the Liberian TRC. I am in favor of prosecuting those who committed crimes in Liberia. And let me inform you also that I am aware about the nature of this case for crimes committed in SL.

    This case is a deceptive political ploy to distract us from the real issue that occur in that region. Take for example that RUF had a foriegn bureau in Ghana which directly implicate Ghana in supporting the activities of RUF but those socalled lovers of human rights careless about this.

    All we continue to hear about is diamonds. Liberia have many diamonds site and if Taylor wanted money he could have dig as much diamond in Liberia. Any sound mind can understand that charging Taylor for crimes in SL by an international body displaces justice for all victims that were affected by war in our region. Moreso, the prosecution case was center on Liberia to link Taylor to SL and no serious evident was presented. This case is hogwash. I will wait to see whether these International people will support the TRC recommendation in Liberia or they will say let the people of Liberia make their own decision. HYPOCRISY!!!!

    1. King Gray, You’ve just partially answer my questions and have gone on to talk about so people deceiving us. The only person I sense decieve here is seem to be you.
      If you are indeed in favour of the TRC why not wait and see where it takes us. I will hold my judgements on that for now.
      Further more, I must state this quiet clear, SUPPORT for warring faction does not equal WAR CRIMES. Indeed as you just mentioned, in your view the prosecution case is weak, so why are you so furious. Taylor has not been found quilty yet, so why the uproar.

      I must say I am of the school of thought which subscribe to the idea that Taylor has questions to answer on sierra leone. Whether he is guilty or not is for the judges and the evidence to decide. The so-called international people you keep referring did support sierra leone in their quest for justice, I don’t see why they cannot for liberia. I STILL MAINTAIN THAT TAYLOR HAS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER REGARDING THE CONFLICT IN SIERRA LEONE

  14. Dear Readers,

    I have been closely following the trial of Taylor. While i do not sympathise with the accused, it is pity that the ongoing prosecution seems to be influenced by international politics, rather than by the sense of rendering justice to the victims of human rights abuses in SL. Again, there is a serious issue of double standards in this case. Indeed, almost or all african conflicts are fuelled by external actors who tend to benefit from the lootings of natural resources of countries in conflict. Look for instance the salient case of DRC – Kinshasa, the whole world knows that the current rwandan president, paul kagame, as a proxy of his masters, is behind the conflict which has ravaged that rich country since 1996 up todate. More than three millions of people have lost their lives as a result of the war in Eastern Congo, there are UN Reports which evidence this. When will UN establish a Court for the prosecution of alleged perpetrators of heineous crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes commited against Congolese people by Paul Kagame and his masters?

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