Taylor Refutes Rebel Radio Operator Evidence

Charles Taylor today dismissed as “lies” the evidence of a former radio operator for Sierra Leonean rebel  forces, who said Mr. Taylor had talked regularly to Sierra Leone’s top rebel commander during the country’s conflict, asked the rebels to build airstrips in Sierra Leone for weapon deliveries from him, and provided food to the rebel forces when in Monrovia.

During his testimony in February 2008, the prosecution’s 10th witness, Mohamed Perry Kamara, (alias King Perry) alleged that Mr. Taylor was in constant radio communication with Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leader Foday Sankoh. The witness had told told the Special Court for Sierra Leone that based on Mr. Taylor’s advice, the RUF launched an operation to capture the diamond rich town of Kono. Mr. Taylor today denied this allegation.

“I never talked to Sankoh about any operations in Kono,” Mr. Taylor said. “Never did, never instructed, never discussed it with them at all.”

Witness Perry also testified that in 1994, Mr. Taylor advised RUF Leader Foday Sankoh to construct an airstrip where arms and ammunition will be delivered by aircraft for use by the RUF. In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor denied having any contact with the RUF in 1994.

“What am I going to be talking to Sankoh about in 1994? There was just no contact in 1993 or 1994 between me or the RUF,” the accused former president said.

“I will not dispute if some of these boys were communicating with each other. It will not be unusual if a Liberian who was fighting on the other side of the border in Sierra Leone wanted to contact a friend or family member in the NPFL [National Patriotic Front of Liberia],” Mr. Taylor added.

Witness Perry told the judges in February 2008 that he knew that Mr. Taylor and Mr. Sankoh had radio communications regularly and that the code names used by the two men were “Toyota and Beverly” respectively. In his testimony today, Mr. Taylor agreed with code names but denied that he spoke with Mr. Sankoh.

“I agree with the codes but I contest that we spoke,” Mr. Taylor said. “I never spoke on the radio.”

Mr. Taylor dismissed as “totally untrue” Witness Perry’s allegation that the RUF “will undertake a major attack” on the advice of Mr. Taylor to Mr. Sankoh.

Witness Perry’s testimony reinforced prosecution allegations that Mr. Taylor provided support to RUF rebels and that through his advice, the rebels launched strategic operations in Sierra Leone such as the attack on the country’s diamond fields. Witness Perry further alleged that diamonds mined by the RUF were taken to Mr. Taylor in return for supply of weapons, food and other materials needed by the rebels. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.

In response to Witness Perry’s allegations that Mr. Taylor provided radio communications equipment for RUF commanders, Mr. Taylor today explained that while he provided a satellite phone for use by RUF commander Sam Bockarie, he did not provide the phones used by RUF leader Foday Sankoh and Issa Sesay. When Mr. Sankoh was arrested in May 2000, Issa Sesay took over the leadership of the RUF.

Witness Perry had also said that while Sam Bockarie acted as leader of the RUF during Mr. Sankoh’s detention from 1997 to 1999, Mr. Taylor gave Mr. Bockarie instructions to construct an airstrip in Kono where flights would land with weapons for the RUF. Mr. Taylor dismissed the allegation as false.

“I did not give such instructions. If this was the case, then Sam Bockarie’s Salute Report is incomplete and he deceived his boss. I believe he will not have hidden these things from Sankoh. He must be ungrateful then,” Mr. Taylor said.

“Your honor, this thing is all a lie. I gave no such advice. So help me God,” the former president added.

Mr. Taylor further denied the witness’s allegations that he (Taylor) used to provide food supplies to RUF leaders when they went to Liberia. “I did not give RUF any food. Sankoh bought rice when he came to Liberia,” he said.

The former Liberian president also denied giving rice to Mr. Bockarie for use by the RUF and the witness’ allegations that Mr. Bockarie informed other RUF members whenever he returned from Liberia with food and weapons from Mr. Taylor.

Also in his testimony today, Mr. Taylor expressed shock at Witness Perry’s allegation that in 1998, Mr. Taylor sent a herbalist to provide traditional treatment for RUF rebels in Sierra Leone so as to prepare them for battle.

“I don believe in juju. How am I going to take someone to Sierra Leone when I don’t believe in juju and I didn’t use it in the NPFL?” he asked.

Mr. Taylor’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. Tracey,

    Can anybody give a precise date in february 1998 for the transcript when this witness perry testified?

    I have to read the transcript of his examiniation in chief and the cross by the defence before reacting to charles taylors testimony.

  2. The question now becomes, HOW CAN YOU PROOF A LIE??? According to Witness Perry, TWO AIR STRIPS were b;uilt….does anyone remember any evidence provided in this court about those two air strips?? I believe a picture was produced of an AIR STRIP…..was that the same AIR STRIPS. Alpha, I missed most of the testimony yesterday, can you help me with where Mr. Sankoh airstrip was located?? I see Kono for Mr. Bockerie.

    Folks, we have to use COMMON SENSE to disect these testimonies since the prosecutors didn’t do it….WHO CONTROLLED THE AIR SPACE IN LIBERIA FROM ’91 thru ’98?? ECOMOG will be my answer unless some UFOs were flying. DID MY TAYLOR OWN AN AIRCRFAT IN ’91 thru ’03??? No is the answer. So can anyone help me WHAT would be the purpose of him asking for airstrips????

    So what was this JUJU suppose to do??? Win the war?? I am lost on this one.

    1. Noko 4,
      Good question about the alleged construction of the airstrip. Here is my understanding of that issue based on the testimonies of witnesses. The witness here in question said that Mr. Taylor advised Foday Sankoh to construct an airstrip for the delivery of weapons by flight. He, however, did not say whether the said airstrip was constructed by Sankoh. Sometime last year, other witnesses testified about the construction of an airstrip in Magburaka in 1997 where arms were delivered for use by the RUF and AFRC. Also, another witness said that Mr. Taylor advised Sam Bockarie to construct another airstrip in the east of Sierra Leone. The witness said they commenced work on the airstrip in Kailahun (which is close to Kono) but could not continue with the said project. Meaning, that airstrip was not constructed. The witnesses further said that based on Mr. Taylor’s advice, arms and ammunition will be flown directly from Libya or Burkina Faso for use by the RUF.
      Note that we do not vouch for the veracity of any of these testimonies. It will be for the judges to determine whether these witnesses are lying or saying the truth.
      Hope this helps,

      1. Alpha, this is my first time commenting to you directly. However, I do really admired your writing style, especailly the identical piece that I ‘m responding to. You made it very clear, that you do not vouch of the veriacity for the witness’ testimony. It is crystal clear. The witness said, Foday Sankor was advised by Taylor to build an Airstrip for the sole purpose of weapons and ammunition delivery. However, another witness said Taylor advised Sam Bockarie to construct Airstrip for the same obvious reason. However, there was no airstrip constructed. My question than is how did these witnesses know for fact that Sankor and Bockarie were advised my President Taylor. Were they present for the advice or someone else must have told them? Alpha, anybody can say anything about anybody; but whether what that person is saying is true and can be proven. In this case, there is no voice recorder, video recorder, transcript, admission from Mr. Taylor in order to support their claims. Seriously Alpha, what is this? it is easy for me to say Alpha Sassay advised me to write pro Taylor comments on this website, in fact, that’s why this website was created. Wouldn’t you challenge and ask for proof? We are watching.

        Another Interesting point. The arms and ammunitions will be flown from Libya and Bukanafaso. Does Taylor control both countries? Whose/what plane was to have allegedly transported these weapons? If you’re blaming President Taylor, why not blame the two countries that the witnesses said weapon supplies were to come from?

        1. Jose,
          You raise very important points. Many people on this forum are concerned about the strength of the evidence given by prosecution witnesses especially as it relates to Mr. Taylor’s direct links to the crimes committed in Sierra Leone and his alleged relationship with RUF commanders in Sierra Leone.

          On the issue of the airstrip, i know that some of the witnesses who have spoken about this are radio operators and other RUF insiders who have said that they were either present when such dialogue took place between Mr. Taylor and Mr. Sankoh or later Sam Bockarie, or that they were told by either Sankoh or Bockarie that Mr. Taylor had given such an advice. On the strength of such evidence without a recorded or written message, that will be for the judges to determine. The judges will have to weigh the entire evidence of the various witnesses, consider the credibility of said witnesses, see whether other witnesses have corroborated what has been said by one witness or the other, etc.

          On the shipment of arms and ammunition from Burkina Faso and Libya and why not blame those countries, it is for the prosecutor to say why indictments were never filed against people in those two countries, and it will be for the judges to determine whether there is any nexus between the activities of people in those countries, Mr. Taylor and the RUF.

          I know that many people are focused on the evidence as it ought to be. As an independent monitoring program, we do not (at least, not right now) take a position on the evidence as it should/ought to be, but rather, the evidence as it is presented in court.

          I hope that i have been of help in explaining the issues.


      2. Thanks Alpha……just came across this reply.

        I understand the position on which you and Tracey will want to be or play. So let me be the judge on this matter and say LIE LIE and LIE.

  3. Thanks for the post. I’ll really like to know if you’re finding it difficult to post these summaries on time. Yesterday’s summaries were posted about 24 late on the next day. Is there a technical problem?

    1. Daniel,

      The lateness yesterday was my fault entirely as my schedule made it difficult to finalize. Apologies if the late posting caused any inconvenience.


    2. Alpha, awesome. It is left with the judges to decide. One witnesses corroborating another witness statament or testimony, that’s fine. I hope President Taylor witnesses will corroborate each other story also. I also hope they will say they heard prosecution witnesses saying that they were going to lie against Mr. Taylor in a meeting that with them.
      Alpha, the bottom line is we need concrete evidence such as videorecorder, taperecorder, voicemail, written letters with Taylor signature, Taylor physical presence in Sierraleone, confirmation from Taylor himself, photos, manefesto or some document. What is this? My words against your words court? The status of this court should be taken with all seriousness. This is a life and death situation. Even the UN always says Liberia is fragile. Will they continue to keep their fifteen thousands troops in Liberia forever?

  4. In today’s testimony Charles Taylor seemed to be irritable at times. I admonish him to stay relaxed as has been the case to date. When cross examination starts Ms. Hollis will intentionally try to annoy him with repetitvie question hoping to trip him up. Let us remember that from all indications Brenda Hollis is a skilled prosecutor that should not be taken for granted.

    1. It will be STEEL meets IRON…..I can bet on IRON to come out vitorious. He had to let the judges know that he is not some kind of ROBOT.

    2. King Gray — you submitted a very interesting comment today — however, I cannot post it until I do more research as publishing it could violate witness protection measures. At this stage, I do not think we can for legal reasons. I just wanted to let you know the status of your comment and why it is not posted.

      1. I understand your responsibilities Tracey. I hope you understand that the point was to expose some of these hidden witnesses who come to this court lying that they are afriad but in the background they are exposing themselves and boasting about their testimonies. We know them by their own utterances.

        1. King Gray — Thank you for your understanding. I will do my research and revert back to you. I do indeed understand the point you are trying to make.

  5. I don’t want to comment on Perry testimony because he is not informed about the functions of HF radios. We all know that HF radio communication is at no time secured from outside listeners. Mr. Taylor is not a fool to have communicated war related information over HF radio knowing the fact that he could be monitored by others tuned to that channel. Did Perry produce in court voice recording of Mr. Taylor talking to any one member of the RUF on HF radio? I remember the one Perry recorded from the BBC Focus on Africa. Tracey, Alpha can any of you help me on this Please?


    Harris K Johnson

    1. Hi Harris — I will have to defer to Alpha on this question. Let me check with him and see if he knows.

    2. No Harris, he didn’t but the prosecutors allowed his HEARSAY to be evidence. Again, how SERIOUS were these prosecutors??? If they were on the other side, what will be their thinkings???

    3. Harris,
      Perry or no other radio operator has produced recordings of radio communications between Taylor and the RUF or between any rebel commander and his colleagues. Based on the evidence presented so far, the radio communications were not recorded. They were rather noted in log books, i.e, note books in which the radio operators used to write any message sent or received to or on behalf of their commanders. Some of these log books have already been presented as evidence/exhibits by the prosecution but i cannot say what their full contents are. The recording of the BBC interview in January 1999 is different because it was a phone call made to the media for the hearing of the public unlike radio communications which were mostly confidential among the fighting forces.

  6. listen to what Harris johnson posted on 9.16.09:that Mr. taylor is not a fool to have communicated war related information on HF radios.”we all know that HF radio communication is not at no time secured to outside listeners”. by Harris K. johnson. how then are we to believe that this very crafted criminal,gangay taylor, would not beat the odds in his own interest when he felt the time ripe? you guys who claim to know this monster are going to be duped the last time if you don’t wake up! Taylor was very calculative and always tried to stay ahead of an average thinker,like some of you guys who still hail him as chief! This is your last redemtion..to save your own souls! Taylor is a MONSTER WHO IS VERY MANUPULATIVE AND WILL get his will in seconds if not stopped by people who positive thinkers and ahead of his evil thoughts!

    1. J. Fallah menjor,

      We are in no way saying that you must believe what Mr. Taylor is saying. But we are looking at the possibilities of things happening as been stated by some of the many prosecution witnesses against Mr. Taylor. We are not convinced on many of their testimonies simply because there have been no evidence produced in this court to directly link Mr. Taylor to the many crafted stories like that of the likes of Perry. We are not people to swallow HEARSAY like members of the RUF who believed everything that they were told without investigating the source. We would appreciate were you to ask your brother Perry to produce some pieces of documentary evidence to support what he has said or you clench fist. Having said that, let me warn you to be very careful with the choice of words you use on this site against others. We can no longer take your insults as we stand ready to fire back. Tracey and Alpha, we think it is about time that you address this issue. We don’t intend to reduce this site to another RUF battle field as Fallah is thinking. The war is over, we must all be thinking in a positive direction.


      Harris K Johnson

      1. Harris,

        You are right that we don’t want to turn this site into any kind of battlefield — but we do hope to vigorously debate the ideas about the substantive issues raised by the trial.

        I do encourage everyone to keep tempers cool with each other and let’s focus on issues. There is so much for us to talk about without resorting to insults.

        I also remind people that I will not post comments that do not meet our policy of refraining from attacking others personally and specifically, and instead focusing on the substantive debate.


  7. Tracey, I was just curious to know whether J. Fallah Menjor is allow to personally attack and insult Mr. Taylor by calling him names like “monster”. I know you have been doing well in regulating this site but one would think Fallah outbursts could engender equal responses from other posters and disrupt the free and civil flow of exchanges. Just a caution.

    1. Hi King Gray — you raise a good and tricky question. The main policy on this site has been not to attack other people commenting on the site, but to focus on the substance of issues raised by the trial. Regardless of what people say about Mr. Taylor one way or another, I would encourage readers to go easy with each other in their responses, though I know it can at times be difficult when this trial raises such powerful emotions.

      As a general rule, however, I would encourage us all to try to keep our comments focussed on debating the substance of the issues.


  8. Tracey,

    You read Fallah post in which he referred to some of us as AVERAGE THINKERS, he even goes on writing names in lower case letters and you think your respond to King Gray is a fair one. No, I think you should go beyond that and take the bull by the horn. J. Fallah Menjor is not a lord and must not be served in this way.

    Thanks for your usual understandings.

    Harris K Johnson

    1. Hi Harris,

      I understand that you are upset about some of the things J Fallah Menjor put in his post. I continue to ask that all readers should be respectful of each other when posting. I also continue to believe that the best way to do that is to focus on the substantive issues raised by the trial. I agree with you it is the best way to avoid problems in our debates.

      Thanks, as always, Harris, for letting me know your thoughts.


  9. Gentlemen, thanks. I am today making a comment on the issues you have discussed today concerning the trial of Mr. Taylor. It is a good idea to debate the issues as one of the posters had remarked. Pls donot result into insults. Under the law, Mr. Taylor is innocent until proven by the court.

    Also, sometimes I think as to the jurisdiction of these courts. It is not that some strong people/countries want to get at certain people, hence the forums are used as the medium to achieve their wishes? I may be right or wrong. I am not saying that people accused of commiting war crimes should not be tried, bujt can they be tried in their countires, regions or continents?

    I hope we can reach the level where we can decide for ourselves in Africa.


    1. Zolu,
      Thank you, infact, I think africa should form her african court, likewise every continent. So that if there was an indictment, witnesses will be search for by people of that continent. Instead of some one from zurich coming to talk to a guy in gblordeala nimba county, like ziza marzah who has eaten all his neighbors and their children.

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