Taylor Says Liberian Fighters in Sierra Leone Were Recruited By The Sierra Leone Army

Liberian nationals who fought in Sierra Leone during the civil conflict were recruited by the Sierra Leone army, Charles Taylor told judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone today.

Mr. Taylor, testifying in his own defense told the court that during the war in Liberia, many Liberians traveled to Sierra Leone  as refugees.  These Liberians, Taylor said, later became members of the rebel group United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO) and were armed by the Sierra Leone army to attack Taylor’s forces in Liberia.  According to Taylor’s evidence, many of these armed Liberians later stayed in Sierra Leone and became known as the Special Task Force (STF).  Taylor’s defense presented evidence that these STF forces were armed by the Government of Sierra Leone and fought alongside the Sierra Leone army.

Taylor’s defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths read from the statement presented to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission by former President Tejan Kabbah in which he said that the STF were remnants of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Liberian Police who traveled to Sierra Leone and became members of ULIMO.   President Kabbah’s statement further read that these fighters were received and armed by the then government of Joseph Momoh in Sierra Leone to go and attack Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).  President Kabbah’s statement read that those who stayed in Sierra Leone were later renamed the STF and were almost incorporated into the Sierra Leone Army. When the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) coup took place in Sierra Leone, the STF joined them and were part of the fighters who attacked Freetown in January 1999.  President Kabbah, however, said that he only knew about the STF when the AFRC coup took place in May 1997.

Responding to the contents of President Kabbah’s statement, Taylor said that “it is very clear who they are – remnants of ULIMO who had been engaged as mercenaries in Sierra Leone. They are not my people.”

Prosecution has alleged in evidence that Mr. Taylor sent Liberian fighters to join the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone and that these Liberian fighters were part of the group that attacked Freetown in January 1999. Many witnesses have also testified that rebels who attacked their villages in Sierra Leone spoke with Liberian accents, and they believe these Liberians were sent to Sierra Leone by Charles Taylor.

Mr. Taylor told the court that he “heard that there were Liberians fighting in Sierra Leone but only became aware of the name STF after the 1997 elections in Liberia.”

Mr. Taylor denied that he had given arms and ammunition to rebel forces in Sierra Leone during the country’s civil conflict.  He accused ULIMO soldiers of traveling to Sierra Leone with their arms and ammunition, which he said could have found their way into rebel hands.  “We were receiving reports that ULIMO fighters were going back and joining their friends in Sierra Leone with their arms and ammunition,” Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor also told the court that his election as president of Liberia in 1997 was free and fair.  He said that when he became president of Liberia in 1997, the country was at “rock bottom” and so much work needed to be done to improve the country’s infrastructure and economy. Taylor said that he set up a broad based government of national unity in which members of all the former armed groups were represented.

Asked by his defense counsel what was on his mind when he became president, Mr. Taylor said “Liberia, Liberia, Liberia.  That’s what is on my mind, to get this country started.  How do we get this country forward? I am occupied with Liberia, Liberia and Liberia. That’s my preoccupation.”

There will be no trial session on Friday. Taylor’s testimony continues on Monday.


  1. Did the prosecutors know about this testimony??? If so, why didn’t they present it as evidence??? This case again is not about Freetown but something deeper.

  2. Charles Taylor, why are you denying involvement in Sierra Leone. Were you not the one that brought Foday Sankor from Libya and he was Commander at ELWA Junction? Please Mr. Taylor admit to your doings. Truck loads of NPFL were seeing running to Sierra Leon and back on dailing basis.
    Mybe if you admit to your doing, you might go to rest for at least ninety years. Talking about America releasing you from jail is not to anyone interest but, your active participation in Sierra Leone rebel war is the question.
    May Al-Mighty God be with you in your ninety years jail.

    1. Fallah, your support to LURD and lies about Mr. Taylor involment in your crazy war in Sierra Leone does not necessary mean that Mr. Taylor is guilty. Please read carefully what Hellen lift for you about Foday Sankor. We have nothing to add, she just served as an eye opener for you.

    2. Fallah,
      Are you really following this case?? The man has told the court his involvement with RUF…and you’re still whinning???? Foday Sankoh was NOBODY in Libya…..

  3. So far in only two weeks the Tayor Defense team has presented oral, written and photographic evidence to buttress their case. The Prosecution after years of preparation and tens of millions of dollars were only able to present oral evidence and a lot of it hearsay.

      1. My mistake. Comment should have read: The Prosecution presented a good deal of written evidence.

    1. Aki,

      I realistically differ with you again. You still lack proper information. However, in your statement, you’ve contradicted yourself. How? Your final statement says the prosecution were ONLY able to present oral evidence whereas you initially stated written and photographic evidence.

      Aki, I beg thee, kindly be reeducated that there are 6 main kinds of evidence:
      1. Circumstantial evidence
      2. Conclusive evidence
      3. Corroborative evidence
      4. Cumulative evidence
      5. Direct evidence
      6. Prima facie evidence
      Explanations/definitions to the above listed will not be done here. I leave that to you for research.

      Notwithstanding, before this date, the prosecution has brought to court, Mr. Zigzag Marzah (Prima facie evidence), Vahmuyan Sheriff and many others.

      Have you and others not heard the evidence of the BBC interview with Robin White where Taylor incriminated himself as direct a command influence of RUF?

      1. You are wrong. There are only two types. Evidence can either be direct of circumstantial. Either can be corroborative where it proves a specific point to which evidence has alerady been adduces, cumulative where it tends to add nothing more to the other evidence that has already been adduced in court, conclusive where itproves the point to which it is directed or Prima Facie where it is the primary evidence necessary to prove a point.
        Examples: A marriage certificate is Prima Facie evidence of a valid marriage all things being equal. Evidence of Witness W that the accident occurred at XYZ intersection is corroborative of the Police testimony and his report. Cumulative evidence is where two or more witnesses are testifying to the same facts with no difference in testimony. Cumulative evidence can be excluded at the discretion of the trier of fact. Evidence that someone had an abortion is conclusive on the issue of whether or not that person was pregnant and corroborative of her pregnancy. Another way that evidence can be conclusive is if there is a stipulation on an issue then no evidence will be introduced on that issue then the stipulation between the parties becomes conclusive. For example a stipulatione between the parties that Charles Taylor was the leader of the NPFL, becomes conclusive on the issue of whether or not he was the head of the NPFL.

      2. Kessely Korboi,

        You should re read my post. I never said the prosectuion presented written and photographic evidence. Concerning your other point you listed circumstantial, conclusive etc. This was all oral my friend. Do you think Tayor’s witnesses are not going to corroborate and give direct evidence also? Not to mention circumstantial. You must be dreaming. I know you were one of those who thought the prosecution was going to show the billions in bank accounts, diamond transfers to Europe, Gun manufacturers saying they sold weapons to Taylor etc. However you were disappointed none of this was shown

  4. I am getting to feel that Liberia and Sierra Leone fought a proxy war. STF? ULIMO? RUF? wow, how can you blame it all on an individual?

    1. Taylor foretold what would befall Sierra Leone in a BBC Interview. His grievances against Sierra leone’s President Momoh were twofold.

      Firstly, Taylor was not happy over the fact that Momoh refused him the chance of using Sierra leone as a springboard to launch his insurgency. Don’t forget that Monrovia is nearer the Sierra Leone border and a “launchpad Sierra Leone” would have proved a logistical blessing.

      Secondly, as far as Taylor was concerned, Momoh added salt to his injury by hosting the ECOMOG intervening force. He warned him that he would taste the brutality of war. True to his words, he unleashed the RUF babarians on Sierra Leone.

      Charles Taylor’s NPFL and RUF have been almost indistinguishable from the outset. Most of the senior commanders fought on both sides of the border. ULIMO was supported by Momoh to help stop the rapid advance of RUF into Sierra Leonean territory. Do you get it. If you could get at the BBC Focus on Africa archives, you will see how Taylor incriminated himself.

      1. Yes, Monrovia is closer to the Sierra Leone border and would provide the best and quickest land route from Freetown (thru Bo-Waterside) to Monrovia. However, even Quiwankpa’s original NPFL coup attempt, which was launched from Sierra Leone, failed. Personally, I think Taylor should thank Momoh for rejecting his efforts to launch a subsequent coup from Sierra Leone. Launching Taylor’s NPFL uprising from Cote’ d’Ivoire through Nimba County, where the Doe regime had earlier conducted brutal ethnic reprisals, was very successful; Nimba residents were easily recruited to take up arms against the Doe regime. What was Taylor’s motive for getting involved in Sierra Leone? Revenge against Momoh? Profit (i.e., diamonds)? Who knows! But Taylor was involved in the Sierra Leone Civil War, as well as ECOMOG, the Guinea government, Executive Outcomes, and many, many others.

    2. And therein lies the rub. Hence the huge effort to prove the JCE. Always a massive undertaking in any war crimes tribunal. We already have the ICTY as an example to observe. This trial will go for a long, long time.

  5. Hi All,

    I just wanted to get you all’s feedback and impressions of the case so far? With all of the detailed explanations, photos and etc Mr. Taylor is providing what and how might the prosecutor counter that in their cross-examination?

    At this stage, it’s seems to me that in his questioning, Mr. Griffiths is playing both the prosecutor and defense, seemingly trying to tie up any loose ends the prosecution might try to unwrap. Let me know your impressions please.

    1. Yeah you on it 100% look am learning a lot and can you imagine because of this case i cannot go to work until 3pm GMT. Taylor’s defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths is just tooo MUCH!

    2. Mas,
      You’re on POINT…….his defense team is covering ALL basic and angles. I too await to hear what the prosecutors have to show. This court has met her MATCH and it won’t be a CAKEWALK….

  6. Thanks, Mr. Taylor, now we know who were the STF in Sierra Leone war. It is weitten in the Bible that when GOD is with you, your enemies will be confused in their battle against you. Former President Kabbah evidence has set you free from all involvement with the so called AFRC criminal group who supose to be proffessionals soldiers. What else will the prosecuation and their white masters say? But let be warn you, do not expect to sleep well after you set your neighbr’s house on fire. A War Crime Court for Liberia is what is needed most. Coming soon….

  7. This is just mind boggling.Seems that Sierra Leoneans themselves are responsible for all the atrocities meted to them.ICC should begin to look at this angle,rather than going by what Western prosecutors have fixed

  8. John, you are right brother. But they will stay long in side. It is only a matter of time, the pa-pay will soon come back to Mama Liberia. Shame on the prosecutors and their white masters. Be ware that the 1960s are all over. We african will never be silent on the wickedness of the so called Western Powers. Go on Mr. Taylor and expose their wickedness. We all know that you are one of their pupets, but a REAL AFRICAN HERO. Bravo Dankpannah, we will alway love you.

    1. Sorry for the over sight. Mr. Taylor can’t never be one of their pupets, but a REAL AFRICAN HERO and the life time DANKPANNAH of Liberia.

  9. Mr Taylor is a very clever man, he pick his words wise to avoid any selfincrimination. As he stated, “I did not knowingly send any body to fight…” out of Liberia. This case is not going too good for the prosecutor if you ask me. At the end of the day, the physical facts will superceed the verdal. the deffence has the physical.

  10. African Leaders must be very careful…it obvious that Charles Taylor may have to answer to the Liberia people…not sure how on god’s name Mr Kabba…well mr kabba is just a kabba….how president Obasanjo the leader of the most powerful nation in west africa allow this Anglo saxon schizophrenia’s to confuse and make a nonsense of the people of west africa yet again…why do they allow their intelligent to be undermine so badly….go on Mr Griffiths expose this scum bags and their dim witted old african soul(kabba,obasanjo).Why Nigeria???? the power was in your hand but the old fools think their oppressor know’s better.

  11. Mr. Taylor:
    Let me inform you that what ever evil a man does, follow him. Did you forgot the evil committed to us in Liberia by your NPFL?
    1. You opened a pregnant woman stomach in Liberia.

    2. You cut my brother head off and made it with a lincence plate in Bomi Hill, simply he was an ex-soldier, AFL

    3. You used to transpot million of arms to Sierra leone from our Airport-RIA in the night time thru Lofa and many attrocitties. Today you made us fatherless and motherless in Liberia and Sierra Leone
    My God and your will not forgive you in this trial and you shall be guilty for 90 years.

    1. Moses, I don’t know what you mean about you in this statement. But if your you refers to Mr. Taylor, then you are one of the many lairs that have been telling lies about Mr. Taylor all these years. Where were you when Mr. Taylor opened a pregant woman stomach? Does he has to do it himself? Taylor had over 10000 strong fighting men in Liberia to do anything that he needed done. Mr. Taylor is not some one like your father to come that low. Mr. Taylor’s car never carried a plate until 1992 during the time of the NPRAG Government in Gbarnga when his offical car was plated PR 1. Please stop all these lies and open your mind let us educate you and your misinformed prosecution team.

  12. Fallah,
    What you said is a lie. I was in Liberia during the war and lived in the ELWA area. First of all there was no Foday Sankoh anywhere there. That area was indeed commanded by Sam Lartoe. If you do not know the characters being mentioned do not just jump to conclusions here and try to muddy the waters.

    As for your other comments as to why Mr Taylor is talking about his escape from prison and other things before the indictement period, you would know had you been following the case. First of all it was the prosecution who brought into play the issues of Liberia and the quesion of the character of Mr Taylor. It is therefore incoumbent upon the defence to paint a full picture of who the man Charles Taylor is and where he is coming fromn in terms of his philosophy etc. If you do not see the relevance then you have a very myopic view of the situation.

    By the Defence painting the full picture we are able to see how the west and some of our so-called politicians in Liberia and west Africa have had hands in the conflict that developed over the last several years. It shows that despite how they presented the issues it is not this one man Charles Taylor who is to blame for the problems in the region. I believe that the Defence is doing an excellent job to refute the lies, misconceptions and misunderstandings that has characterised this case for several years. I am very grateful for the level of information being provided to us all. we now can see the picture clearly and not in piecemeal as they try to let us see. Now we know who the real culprits are.

  13. It is clear that the confusion about Taylor supporting war in Liberia comes from the fact that indeed trucks might have been coming out of Liberia with arms and ammunitions , and fighters but it was not Charles Taylor providing such assistance.

    We now know that the Kamajors were trained and armed in Liberia, we now know that ULIMO were suppling weapons to RUF. Even prosecution witnesses testified that ULIMO provided military support to RUF. So I think what has happen is that ordinary people who saw these trucks and weapons leaving Liberia assume that it was Charles Taylor sending them into Sierra Leone. And to make matter worse, ordinary Sierra Leoneans believe that any fighters speaking with Liberian accent in Sierra Leone was send by Charles Taylor since he was well known to be fighting war in Liberia.

    But those things were not done by Charles Taylor and could not have been done by him especially considering the ULIMO was in control of Lofa and the Guineans was also protecting their border. But here is the question: if Taylor was so powerful and had all that military force how come he was not able to prevent ULIMO from taking over Western Liberia?

    The prosecution are all liars and wasting their nations tax money. These are the kind of people that lie to their government and make Western nations look bad around the world. Taylor should be set free and send back to his homeland.

  14. there are accounts of some of Mr. Taylors’ top and well known security aides visiting sierra leone, while there listening in on radio conversations between Mr. Taylor, Sankor and mosquito{ both RUF masterminds }, and even admitted to delivering arms, and were escorted by mosquito with dimonds through Voinjama to Taylor in Gbanga. and these people could be recalled by the prosecution. I hope Mr. Griffiths is not setting himself up for a fall.

  15. Mr. Taylor you will be free and come back to Liberia. What is being said about you is all about lie, but be forcus and truest the all mighty God. Just as you told us and I quote; God’s willing I will be back. We have the strong believe that you will be back in you homeland Liberia.

  16. It’s hard times that certain individual are refusing to look beyond their noses to realize the deadly and catastrophic blow Taylor dealt Liberia, Sierra Leone,Guinea and the West African sub-region. Perhaps a sign of blind loyalty.
    While I am not rendering the final verdict in this case, it’s only obvious that one recognizes that the outcome for Taylor being a free man is slim.
    Firstly, Mr. Taylor is on record for recklessly threatening war against Sierra Leone as a revenge for that country allowing Ulimo to attack his notorious NPFL positions in Liberia.
    Secondly, Foday Sankoh was a direct creation of Taylor who committed mayhem and unspeakable attrocities against the Sierra Leaonean people. sam Bokarie and his likes flutuated between Liberia and Sierra Leone in persuit of Taylor’s diabolical war which was intended to spread his (Taylor) dictatotrial tanticles over the sub-region.
    Finally anyone sharing sympathy with Taylor in this matter is not only a blind loyalist but a friend of evil.

    1. Flomo, the typical Liberian with the mentality …”if you are not for me, your are against me”. No one have to see things the way you do; that’s what individaulism is all about, but then decect me to respect and tolerate each other even where we differ on political, social and economy issues. You just don’t want to admit that the IC would have a better chance convicting Taylor on crimes against Liberians. What is going on in The Hague is about “Cleansing” and “Closure”. the people of Sierra Leone what they inflicted upon their own people was the worse thing ever one can do to another person. Taylor is expected to the limb to be scrifice and his blood to cleanse thier sins. This is a Sierra Leone on Sierra Leone crime; nother more

  17. Hey, Hey Guys,

    lets speak the truth here. We all know that ULIMO was backed by the Sierra Leone Government, so how could they be the one to provide military support to the RUF? Another thing, Charles Taylor may not have sent people to Sierra Leone directly but his fighters fought in Sierra Leone along side the RUF that is the truth. Weather he send them or not they were there. and besides there were commanders from RUF working with the NPFL and vice-versa.

    Another truth to take into consideration, even if NPFL fighters fought with the RUF that does not mean that Charles Taylor sent them there they went on their own. Yes individual went on their own.

    I was in Ghana on the refugee camp when war broke up in Ivory coast and the government of Ivory coast came on the camp and at night got hundreds of X-fighters from all factions that fought in Liberia, Npfl, Ulimok and UlimoJ they went as mercenaries. That is the truth ask anybody that live on the refugee camp by 2003 to 2005. Another thing during the war in Ivorycoast, there were Liberians fighting on both sides, some were fighting for the government and others were fighting for the Rebels.

    All of those Liberians that were taken from the camp in Ghana were recruited by the Ivory coast Government, but interestingly I saw a video of a Liberian fighter that were captured. You want to know what he was saying? He was saying to the Ivorian authorities that it was Charles Taylor who sent him to fight in Ivory coast, that Charles Taylor paid him to go to Ivory coast to fight. This was a very big lie as I know this guy personally(he is of the Krahn ethnic group) he fought for ULIMO and was recruited from right on the Refugee camp by the Ivorian government itself. To my suprise after a few months I saw this guy back on the refugee camp with a lot of money. So, simply put he was paid to tarnish the name of Charles Taylor. I left this guy in Ghana and I believe he is there to this date. Because after I saw the video, I expected that the Ivorians would have killed him, but suprisingly they set him free and paid him a lot of money just to make charles Taylor look bad….

    I am not saying that Charles Taylor may not have send people there in Sierra Leone, but Seeing Liberian going there in trucks did not mean that they were sent by Taylor, they could have been paid my Sankor or went their to find Diamond and Values as they call it. I frankly think they went their on their own and was not require by the NPFL to go there as part of their duty.

  18. Yes, many people are saying, Charles Taylor never took part in Sierra Leone Rebel war but, to my surprise who the warring faction that captured Koindu Town, the most famous market Town on the boundries of Liberia and Guinea? Was it not the NPFL that distributed leaflets for the people to vacate the town in March 1991? Was not Koindu Town called Kuwait by the NPFL Fighters hauling goods from Koindu? After the capturing of Daru Barraks, was it not J. Tom Woiwuyu who said on BBC that reaching Freetown was just a 1, 2, 3, issue, when asked by Robin White from BBC when they will reach Fretown?
    My people, who were the “Special Forces” fighting along with Charles Taylor? All were decedents from various West African Countries waiting in Libya finding help to overthrow their various governments and some were there as refugees. He collected all these decedents and brought them to help overthrow the Liberian government and after that the other countries where these decedents came from. It is left with Charles Taylor to admit to the fact and tell us how he got support to bring these people to Lieberia eventhough, we’ve come to learn some details from Prince Y. Johnson who also was in Libya and Charles # 1 Commander yet, it’s not sufficient.
    ..”There is time to weed, and there is time to harvest. There is time to laugh and there is time to cry. There is time to implement actions and there is time to deny” but the Evil that men do leaves after them.
    Keep on helping Charles to deny his involvement in Sierra Leone Rebel war and hold the West responsible for ordering him to go and destroy his home, then another home (Sierra Leone) and another (Guinea) My people let us be realistic, Charles is our son but he acted beyond his limit. He should therefore stand responsible for his doings. We can guess that those who are crying for Charles release were either his surpplus girls’ friends who he built houses for or his loyalist during the crisis. It’s ridiculous to invoke an argument of a direct corelation between Taylor’s alleged assisted escape from a US prison in America and his involvement in the indiscriminate killing of thousands of Sierra Leoneans.
    It is always an African mentality of holding the Wester World responsible after the extermination of their own people. Our Leaders should desist of these attitudes and try to find ways and means to develop their countries with the abundance of rich minerals given to us by God.

  19. Fallah,

    You seem to be out of touch with the situation. Are you actually saying that the Special Forces were all foreigners? So what happen to the 175 Liberians who were trained were they not Liberians? Why do you people speak when you do not understand the issues. Taylor admitted that there were Gambians in Liberia but please do not say that the Special Forces was made up of west Africans in Libya. They were Liberians. This is common knowledge.

    Now as to the issue of cooperation between the NPFL and the RUF in 1991-1992, there is no dispute about this. Mr. Taylor did admit this and I believe this is common knowledge. This case covers the period of 1996-2002, NOT 1991. So I’m sorry your point is not relevant at this time,.

  20. Mr. Taylor and his defence team attempts to denial is involvements with the RUF, and also admitting to dealing with them to fight his ememies ULIMO in lofa county and providing residance to foday sankor and sam bokari in Gbanga is confusing. Mr. Taylor please speak the truth if you had dealings with these RUF guys { who committed the most atrocities known to man kind} or not? only the truth will set you free!

  21. To say the truth, Former President Tejan Kabbah has shamefully demonstrated his innocence about the profile of the fighting forces in Sierra Leone at the very time he was campaigning for presidency. The STF was set up in 1994 and stayed put up to the time Kabbah came to power in 1996. So, one can see how Kabbah was not au courant with pertinent developments in his country and hence his failure to help the country in ten years of his useless rule.
    As for Taylor, he is as usual feeling too clever than others by hiding the fact that the STF was truly set up by the Strasser government after the former Liberian fighters volunteered to help the loosing Sierra Leone Army to fight the RUF made up of almost 40% hare-core Liberian and NPFL fighters and diamond miners equipped by Taylor-Sankoh and who were very quickly gaining terrain in Sierra Leone’s eastern and southern diamond provinces against the forces of Valentine Strasser. And so the STF was like a thief set up to catch a thief!

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