Taylor Did Not Order The Assassination Of RUF Commander Sam Bockarie, He Says

Charles Taylor today said he did not order the the assassination of one of Sierra Leone’s top rebel commanders during the country’s civil war, and dismissed as “lies” allegations that he knew that Sierra Leonean rebels were recruiting fighters in Liberia in areas controlled by Mr. Taylor’s own fighting force.

In a day of testimony focused on refuting prosecution witness testimony against him, Mr. Taylor told the Special Court for Sierra Leone “I did not order the killing of Sam Bockarie.”

Mr. Taylor was responding to the testimony of  the 37th Prosecution Witness, a Revolutionary United Front (RUF) insider and mining commander who testified under protective measures, using the pseudonym TFI-367. In his testimony from August 20 to September 1 2008, Witness TFI-367 explained that a relative of  Sam Bockarie’s wife had told him that Mr. Taylor ordered the assassination of the RUF commander and his entire family because Mr. Taylor was concerned that Mr. Bockarie knew too much about his involvement with the RUF. In order to protect such information, Mr. Bockarie and his entire family had to be killed.

In his response today, Mr. Taylor said that “it is the silliest thing that I have heard. What will Bockarie have to say about me? That I was giving arms to RUF? If this is true, he would have said so to Foday Sankoh when he returned from custody in 1999.”

“What is there to hide that he would not have told his boss, that I will have to kill him for many years later?” Mr. Taylor asked.

Several prosecution witnesses have testified that when RUF leader Foday Sankoh was detained in Nigeria in 1997, he gave orders to Sam Bockarie that all diamonds mined on behalf of the RUF were to be handed over to Mr. Taylor for safe keeping. Witnesses also said that Mr. Sankoh told RUF commanders to take all orders from Mr. Taylor.

In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor questioned why Mr. Bockarie had not mentioned anything in his report to Mr. Sankoh about diamonds given to, or orders received from, Mr. Taylor after Mr. Sankoh’s release in 1999.

“Except they were ungrateful people but he [Bockarie] would have told Sankoh. As a good commander on the ground, he is supposed to give a full report to his boss,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor also refuted Witness TF1-367’s testimony that RUF leader Foday Sankoh was recruiting fighters for the RUF in National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) controlled territories in Liberia and that Mr. Sankoh was making public pronouncements in Liberia about Mr. Taylor’s support to the RUF. The witness claimed that he was personally recruited by Mr. Sankoh in Liberia and that he was trained alongside other RUF commanders like Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon at Camp Nama in Liberia. Mr. Taylor dismissed the witness’ claims as lies.

“I have no knowledge of Sankoh’s recruitment in Liberia. I was not even aware that Sankoh was in Liberia, not to talk about recruiting there. There is no way Sankoh would have been in Liberia in 1990 and speaking my name publicly there. I did not know that there was a Foday Sankoh training Sierra Leoneans at Camp Nama and planning to invade Sierra Leone,” he said.

Also in his testimony today, Mr. Taylor made efforts to refute the testimony of the 42nd Prosecution Witness, Stephen Smith, an American professor who worked as a journalist in West Africa and has written extensively about issues in the region.

In his testimony on September 22 and 23 2008, Mr. Smith testified that the conflict in Sierra Leone was fuelled by the conflict in Liberia and that the same faces could be identified in Mr. Taylor’s NPFL and Mr. Sankoh’s RUF. “It felt like a regional war that was spreading out like a regional cancer,” Mr. Smith said in his testimony in 2008.

Dismissing Mr. Smith’s claims that the war was like a regional war, Mr. Taylor told the judges today that “I don’t accept that at all. If we say so, then it should have gone to Guinea or Ivory Coast. Why didn’t the war in Mozambique spur conflicts in other countries?”

Mr. Taylor dismissed Mr. Smith’s work as a “one man workshop.” Mr. Smith, he said “wrote a lot of nonsense across the African continent.”

Mr. Taylor also said that Mr. Smith had traveled to Liberia at the start of the conflict in order to locate Americans who were in the country. He said that the NPFL had instructions from the United States to protect Mr. Smith, which the NPFL did. He said that Mr. Smith did not travel to Sierra Leone and that by the end of 1990 to early 1991, Mr. Smith was escorted out of Liberia by NPFL rebels through the Liberian border with Ivory Coast.  The RUF, Mr. Taylor said invaded Sierra Leone in March 1991, by which time, he said, Mr. Smith was already out of the country.

“He got his facts all mixed up. I don’t see how he could have spoken about something that had not happened. I mean, there was no war in Sierra Leone then,” Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor dismissed Mr. Smith’s entire report, saying that “It is very immature of him to speak in such loose terms. This is not a language of a journalist. This is a language of an intelligence analyst.”

Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues on Monday.


  1. “Witness TFI-367 explained that a relative of Sam Bockarie’s wife had told him that Mr. Taylor ordered the assassination of the RUF commander and his entire family because Mr. Taylor was concerned that Mr. Bockarie knew too much about his involvement with the RUF.”

    What kind of testimony is this? A relative of Sam Bockarie’s wife told this person that this thing happen. So why that relative self could not come to this court to tesitify? But more importantly, how could such a witness be credible just from third party hearsay?

    Wow! So who testimony will the judges take over the other. The man who say someone told him that another person told them or the man himself who was actually involve in those situation. Gosh! This case is nerve wrecking!

    1. This is the HEARSAY I have talking about……and this is the prosecutors CREDIBLE EVIDENCE…..based on that we send a man to jail for the rest of his life. JUSTICE???

  2. Yes, that is how the Americans work around the world. They say to you protect our intrest, but at a later stage the same Americans do everything to bring you down if not kill by their socalled intelligence analyst like Stephen Smith. How would someone like Sankor, allegedly connected to Mr. Taylor, recurit men from Monrovia in 1990 without being arrested by the Doe government? Everyone knows that relatives of Gio fighters not one step close to Mr. Taylor were killed in cold blood. I’m sure Smith can not be serious about this.

  3. bullsh*t. We all know u killed mosquito and Johny paul. Your vice even testified that Benjamin Yeaten was with Mosquito the day he was killed, they came to his house, then later Yeaten killed him, and Yeaten was your general. You had a reason for killing those two. You didn’t just kill Mosquito, you killed his whole family. If he was alive, the prosecutions case would’ve been much more stronger than it is.

    1. Madman,
      I hope your name is does not reflect your reasoning(sorry no offence). if not any reasonable person would have concluded that based on Moses Blah’s testimony, he agreed that Benjamin Yeaten became so powerful that it was possible for him to do things that he was not ordered to do by Mr Taylor although observers would erroneously conclude that he was carrying out mr Taylor’s orders.

      Moreover, I think it will be good for us to wait for the defence case to conclude on Charles Taylor’s reply to the testimony of Moses Blah before drawing any conclusions here. Because if you recall how Moses Blah faired under cross examiniantion, you will know that at best he was only trying to save his neck and protect himself from being indicted for conspiracy in the killing of Sam Bockarie.

      How could he have accidentally encountered Sam Bockarie and Benjamin Yeaten in his house that night? How could he have also accidentally encountered Benjamin Yeaten who by and large gave him a report of his mission and showed him sam Bokarie’s body in a Saw mill on his way to Monrovia the next morning? As a trained special forces How could he reconcile his testimony with the established fact that Sam Bockarie did not die of strangulation but rather died of gunshot wounds sustained in the upper front part of his (sam Bockarie) torso, which he (Moses Blah) could not recognise in broad daylight? will he be able to explain how accidentally, he more-or-less excorted Sam Bockarie’s body from that sawmill into Monrovia?

      Only God knows the amount of pressure/intimidation Moses Blah was subjected to by the prosecution for him to come up with this incredible piece of evidence which the prosecution hopes to use to justify its apparent lack of Material evidence to prove LINKAGE between Charles Taylor and the RUF in order to deceive the court into thinking that charles Taylor tried to cover up evidence.

    2. Mr. mad or crazyman,
      We need some proofs on these allegations; Stephens RAPP’ paid sorogates came on board and said all they had to say with out some form of substantialities. NO TIME>

      1. Noko5, please stop killing me with laughter. I just can’t stop laughing about the way you address madman. When ever I think about how you call him “mad or crazy man”, I just burst up into laughter. Nice piece though.

    3. Madman,
      Who are the “WE”???? Were you there?? I wasn’t and that includes many on this site…what were are going by are testimonies. Mr. Blah told us he was killed in a fire fight….another witness told us it was a plan to kill all the Liberians/Sierra Leoneans….

      Which one??

    4. Madman, you and who know that he killed Mosquito. For me, I don’t know, and I will want to believe so many people on this website don’t know either until you can show proof. Did Moses Blah say Taylor Killed Mosquito and Johnny Paul Kromah? Stop making up your own stories. Nice try brother.

  4. Tracy,
    Please can please help to ascertain why the latest transcripts are not yet posted on the special court’s website? the last one I see there is that of sept 1.

  5. In law, it is called reasonable doubt or throwing in a monkey wrench. Double hearsay, thriple hearsay and God knows what else. This person said this and that person said that another said they heard. What crap is this? This trial is political, nothing else. If the judges are fair and I believe they’re, Taylor walks. I hope Taylor goes home to Liberia ASAP.

    Different strokes for different folks. The white man enslaved blacks and now they are trying him. When will a so-called White President from a so-called First World Country be tried in Africa, a Third World Continent for crimes against Africa and it’s people? This is long over due. Don’t forget, Blacks were considered 3/5 of a human being. It was then, and yes, it is now. Not much has changed over the years.

  6. Guys, let’s take this moment to honor those victims of SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 unprovoked attacks by terrorists against innocent people. On behalf of this website, we observe this day in a special way in remembering this painful tragedy meted against peace loving citizens.
    Jose personally will not post in remembrance of the Day. Also, be advised, where some of us live has time variation from other places like the US.

    1. Jose,
      We all share your thoughts concerning the rememberance of September 11. It is a known facts that Liberians were killed in the attack. I also have heard some Sierra Leonenians were also killed. Having said that Charles Taylor held a special program after September 11, 2001 at the Centineal Pavilion in soladarity with the American people. All these gestures meant nothing to the Bush administration.

  7. Tracy,

    We appreciate very much the work you and Alpha continue to do. For this reason I have another favor to ask. Please get us some expert commentary on how they feel the trial is proceeding so far. Mostly let them concentrate on if the Burden of Proof has been established or will be established.

  8. Denied all you can Mr. Taylor, but what is becoming more clear is that all of these witnesses accounts continued to serously implicate you on a daily basic.and the looks from the faces of these judges implied that you are not conviencing any more.what is more foolish is your testimony that the war in the mano river union was not a regional war like Mozambique, could someone help me here please! Guekiedu, Kissidu, were attacked in Guinea by both the RUF and the NPFL, and Taylor own admission that Bocakarie and some of his men went to fight in the Ivory coast, how is that not regional? .it is one thing to denied your involvement in the killing of Sam Bockarie by your own apponited general and right hand man [ Benjamin Yeaten ], but with no investigation after the fact, and possible punishment for his [Yeaten] actions under your [ Taylor] leadership is quite another, at some point this defense will come to relised that it was Taylor who armed and protected Benjamin Yeaten, signed his monthly pay checks and must take responsibility for his actions. lies and denied will not set you free the world and this court will respect you[ Mr. Taylor ] if you admit to your wrongs during this war and let the chips falls where ever. it will be so shameful when the people come to cross examine and expose your lies.

    1. Ziggy,
      I hope you’re not confuse.Just read what you wrote(because charles Taylor sign Yeatan monthly pay check so he’s responsible for what all yeatan did) Where in the world does the President of a country sign pay checks? Is the President a pay master? We are not here for fun ok.

  9. Ok. Mr. Taylor says he did not order the killing of Sam Bockarie, granted. The official account of the Government of Liberia I remember says Bockarie resisted arrest and a gun battle ensued between him and Liberian Security forces and he was consequently guned down. I stand to be corrected. The inevitable questions, considering this most notorious individual whose relocation to Liberia was santioned by ECOWAS, granted Liberian citizenship and subsequently enlisted in the Liberian Securiy apparatus and expelled without recourse to ECOWAS to according to Mr. Taylor, are:

    Who ordered his arrest? What was or were the probable causes for his arrest? Was any investigation conducted to ascertain whether his killing was judicial or extra judicial? Did Mr. Taylor as President of Liberia seek to find answers to these questions. Of course, as President, he was responsibe for the security of each and every Liberian citizen and resident within the border of Liberia. Mr. Taylor did not demostrate any effort to order the Ministry of Justice to investigate the death of Sam neither was anyone arrested since he had no knowledge of his killing. Could that point to Mr. Taylor’s silent endorsement over Bockarie’s killing?

    By the way, what happens to Bockarie’s family? They were part of the relocation program and granted Liberian citizenship. Was it a purge campaign to silent all and sundry?

    1. Musa,
      Can a President MONITOR all that happens within his border?? If not, how could Mr. Taylor be BLAMED for all that happened??

      I join you in asking what really happened to Sam and his family??? But since we cannot see the evidence in this case to back up whatever, we are left with two witnesses and both gave us a different take. That’s another problem the prosecutors are facing, but if you look at the CHARGES, none has to done with what happened in Liberia or witness obstructions.

      1. Musa,
        am quoting you: “The official account of the Government of Liberia I remember says Bockarie resisted arrest and a gun battle ensued between him and Liberian Security forces and he was consequently guned down. I stand to be corrected. The inevitable questions, considering this most notorious individual whose relocation to Liberia was santioned by ECOWAS, granted Liberian citizenship and subsequently ENLISTED IN THE LIBERIAN SECURITY APPARATUS (emphasis mine) and expelled without recourse to ECOWAS…”

        Where did you get the evidence that Sam Bockarie was “enlisted in the Liberian security apparatus”? I thought Mr Taylor has lead evidence in the court that Sam Bockarie was never at any point enlisted in the Liberian Securty apparatus. I stand corrected but I can not remember any prosecution witness’s account that under cross examination had proved that sam Bockarie was ever enlisted into any security angency in Liberia.

        1. Sam,

          I refer to you to Mr. Taylor’s testimony on August 17, 2009 transcript. The issues of Sam’s citizenship and recruitment into the Liberian Security Apparatus were thoroughly debated and laid to rest. Please see commentaries on August 27, 2009.

    2. Musa

      This is possibly one of the most rational and objective comments on the ‘killing of Bockarie et al’, and the answers to the questions you posed could well throw some much needed light on this vexed but crucial issue.
      We really do need more objective analysis of the kind you provide as a counter to the intellectual and emotional hysteria which seems to inform so many of the comments that assail us on a daily basis.
      As Always Wadi’The Zima’

  10. Musa,
    I went to Liberia recently and I had conversations with some old friends of mine and I was told by them that one Sundayboy Davis ( COL Morden war ) was there when Sam Bockarie got killed. It happened that Sundayboy is my cousin who was fighting for Charles Taylor back in 1990 and was later assigned at the Ivory coast- Liberian border after the July 1997 election that brough Mr. Taylor to the presidency. I was fortunate enought to have talked to Sundayboy Davis, who told me the story about Bockarie death.
    He said that Sam Bockarie took some Sierra Leonean men to the Ivory Coast after pressure was mounting on him to leave Liberia and relocate. After staying in the Ivory Coast for a while, the news came back that Sam Bockarie have decided to go back to Sierra Leone with some weapons he had gotten from the Ivory Coast with large number of fighters.
    So Taylor was informed about it and he ( Taylor ) order that if Bockarie should step foot on the Liberian soil with weapons, they should have him arrested. So there was task force set up for that reason and that he Sundayboy was part of that Task force.
    So when Bockarie finally crossed into Liberia trying to make his way to Sierra Leone, he ( Bockarie ) was told to disarm his men and report to Mr. Taylor in Monrovia or else they will have to arrest him. At that point, Bockarie order his men to open fire on them. They ( Task force ) lost 18 men that were killed by Bockarie men in that fire fight.
    He said that Bockarie shouldn’t have been dead by now if he was to listen because they were not order to kill him but they had no choice at that point because Sam Bockarie and his men were arm to their teeth. So I asked him as to what he think Bockarie was going to do with the quantity of weapons that he and his men had?
    He (Sundayboy ) said that Bockarie was on his way to fight in Sierra Leone. So I asked him if he was willing to testify at the ICC for Mr. Taylor and he said, yes and that there are other people who were involved in that fire fight with Sam Bockarie are line up to testify if they are call upon. He even told me how he got shot by Sam Bockarie on his upper right arm and I saw the marks as well! Other people same story about his injuries before I could even talked to him. so I really don’t know how the prosecution got all these misleading stories that had been told in the court room against Mr. Taylor.

    1. Jocone,
      This is getting really intresting. I have always had a bad feeling about the intent of Moses Blah’s testimony. I have always suspected foul play since the day he testified. How could an army General who has fought a war for many years not identify a bullet wound when he sees one? I smell malllaice there.

      I think the western people have grossly under estimated the influence and charisma/respect that Mr Taylor commands in Liberia and West Africa even today. Ordinary people would voluntarily flock to give testimony in defence of Mr Taylor and their testimony will tear into shreds the already weak prosecustion case.

    2. I am not sure that your version or rather the version of events presented by your cousin sunday boy fully explains the subsequent slaughter of members of ‘Bockarie’s family’
      I am sure that it would not have escaped notice that the most significant, potential providers of ‘Linkage Evidence’ (ie Bockarie, johnny Paul Koroma, Daniel Tamba AKA ‘Jungle’ etc) have all been killed or disappeared in or around Liberia. This may of course be coincidence, but at the very least it raise questions as to the possibility of targeted killings.
      As Always Wadi’The Zima’

  11. Musa,
    This version then makes Mr. Blah testimony a suspect. He told us Yeaten and Bockerie stopped by him on their way to the border and there where he was killed.

    1. Jocone your account could be right. I also had a cousin assigned with the executive mansion guard brigade. He told me that Bockarie was shot at the border in a firefight.

      But these accouts are inconsistent with Blah’s.

    1. Hi Andrew — I understand the court was in closed session for a large part of today’s proceedings.

  12. Guys,
    you shouldn’t allow Moses Blah to mislead your, right now I don’t want to name people who were part of that task force that were set up at the Ivory coast- Liberian border to arrest Sam Bockarie if he should come to Liberia with Weapons. I was told on August 7, 2009 while I was on rest and recovery leave in Liberia from Iraq that Yeaten was not there when Bockarie enter Liberia from the Ivory Coast. So as far as blah saying or making people to think that yeaten Killed Bockarie, I don’t think that is true. Yeaten pick up the body of Bockarie in Ganta from other security personnels from the border who were engaged in the fire fight with Bockarie and his men.
    in fact, Bockarie killed some of his own family members who were with him that day because he knew he wasn’t going to make it…. his wife was fighting as well, as Sundayboy Davis ( COL. Morden War ) have said and he is prepared to testify at the ICC on that account.
    I am telling your because I was able to talk to some of the former Soldiers who were involved in that fighting with Bockarie and his men at the border. Even a female who live at duport road now was there on that day because she was sick and on her way to the Ivory coast but they were stop because of that fighting between Sam Bockarie and the Liberian security forces. The man who took that shot that gun down Bockarie is still alive and he not even trying to hide himself. He is willing to tell the story in court at the ICC once he is call upon. Moses Blah girl friend whom I know even told me that he lied.

    1. So Bockarie killed his wife!!! This is a new allegation, are you sure you are not confusing Bockarie with Yeaten. There is as I recall an outstanding issue against Yeaten concerning the murder of his wife/partner
      As Always Wadi’The Zima’

    1. Hi Noko5 — I have posted it.

      At the same time, I just want to remind everyone of our policy to focus on the issues, and not on each other when posting comments on the site. They will not be posted otherwise.

      Also, Noko5 — my apologies for not getting back to you yesterday on witness protection — I ran out of time unexpectedly. I will do so today.


Comments are closed.