Charles Taylor Did Not Send Gambian Fighters To Sierra Leone; NPFL Did Not Use Child Soldiers, Witness Says

Charles Taylor did not send Gambian fighters to help in the March 1991 rebel attack on Sierra Leone, nor did he use children in combat while he served as leader of rebel forces in Liberia, according to Mr. Taylor’s first defense witness today.

Yanks Smythe, a Gambian national who Mr. Taylor appointed as Liberian ambassador to Libya and Tunisia, today refuted claims by a previous prosecution witness that the former Liberian president had sent two  Gambian fighters to assist neighboring rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), in their attack on Sierra Leone in March 1991.

Prosecution witness and fellow Gambian, Suwandi Camara, had told the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2008 that Mr. Taylor sent two Gambian rebel fighters, Lamine Campaore and Ibrahim Bah to support Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in their attack on Sierra Leone in March 1991.

Asked by Mr. Taylor’s defense lawyer, Morris Anyah, whether he was “aware of Ibrahim Bah and Lamine Campaore being assigned by Charles Taylor to join Foday Sankoh in Sierra Leone in 1991,” the witness responded that “no, I’m not aware of that.”

The witness said that the Gambians stayed exclusively within the areas controlled by Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group.

Talking specifically about Mr. Campoare, the witness told the court that “Lamine never received any assignment out of the NPFL assignment in Gbangha.”

He added that if Mr. Campaore had received any such assignment, he would have know because he (the witness) was the deputy leader of the Gambians in Liberia.

“I would have known because I was the deputy leader so anything that has to do with assignment I am always aware of it,” the witness said.

Asked whether the second Gambian, Mr. Bah, would have gone to Sierra Leone, the witness explained that “Ibrahim Bah was not always stationed in Gbangha. He was in Buchanan. He was asked by the then defense minister, Tom Worweiyu, to be assigned to a company called BMB to provide security for them, deter the soldiers from harassing the members of the company or their properties.”

Mr. Smythe also refuted prosecution allegations that Mr. Taylor and his NPFL recruited children and assigned them into groups called the Small Boys Unit (SBU) and the Small Girls Unit (SGU). Previous prosecution witnesses have testified that children younger than 15 years old were used for combat purposes by the NPFL. Some children served as bodyguards to NPFL commanders while some were used to man check points, witnesses have said. Mr. Smythe said that this was never the case.

“We ourselves, we the commanders created that name because most of the commanders have these orphans with them, some of their families, some people, you know, they go to the front and found this child who has no father no mother, bring him with you and he stays with you, so you can call him a Small Boys Unit. I, you know myself I had about five of them who lived with me up to the time you know we moved to Monrovia…Most of them, their parents were killed, some of them they can’t find their parents. In fact a good example was one of them, I took him with me to Libya and currently he is in Spain,” the witness said.

The witness also responded to the testimony of former Liberian Vice President, Moses Blah, who in 2008 told the court that Mr. Smythe’s appointment by Mr. Taylor as ambassador to Libya and Tunisia was illegal. The witness today disagreed with Mr. Blah.

“It was not illegal, it was legal,” Mr. Smythe said, since ” I became a Liberian citizen in 1998.”

Before he became a member of the NPFL in Liberia, Mr. Smythe said his original name while in The Gambia was Yankubah Samateh.

Mr. Smythe’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. Ok, folks. This is where things get tricky as it is about claims by persecution witnesses and now counterclaims by defense witnesses…something those of us lacking legal minds might not determine who is telling the true or who is lying under oath. But it is good on the part of the defense to parade these witnesses with contrasting versions of what occur. Ms. Hollis and team had their day and now the defense team is having theirs.

    Folks, since cousin 5 is the scorekeeper for the defense, could we get a scorekeeper for the persecution – fair game?

    1. Folks,

      Much as I admire the courage and audacity of this witness, I am struggling with certain aspects of his testimony because the group of jittery NPFL militias who conducted a mopping up operation in the part of Grand Bassa County that I lived in around 1990 had some very young berretta tooting fighters. In fact, after we were ordered out our home that afternoon, the fighter who ordered me to drop my pants in the presence of my family to check my legs for marks that will identity me with the AFL was very very young.

      Now, whether this was a localized ( occurring only in my area, my county, or at my home) or an isolated case, it is not mine to say but what I experienced is what I know.


      1. Peace,
        The assertion you are making is very tricky. Just couple of questions; Did you ever ask this fighter his age? is so what did he tell you, if not how did you come to the conclusion he was “very young”?

        I have seen individual who are either older or younger then that age. Looks, I’ve being told is quite decieving and assumption is not a very good reflection of the person making it. Hope you had confirmed the fighter age, you would have been a great asset to the Persecution in convicting Taylor.

        1. Hishighnessjake,

          I too have seen folks who are older or younger than their age but there are several ways one can figure out if a person is young or very young. Voice maturity and behavior are just two of those means. Moreover, if you grew up in a particular culture, it does not take the knowledge of a ‘rocket scientist’ or developmental psychologist to figure out who is young or old. Does it?

          Moreover, it would have been lunacy and risky on my part to ask a young lad for his age, when that young lad is tooting a weapon of destruction. Wouldn’t it? I guess the natural instinct will be to pray, obey orders, and observe. I guess some who tried to ask questions are no longer with us in this world.

          On you suggestion, I guess the persecution as well as the defense have more witnesses than needed and I have no desire to testify in this case for the persecution or for anyone. As a victim and an observer of the senselessness, lawlessness, and brutality that visited my country, I am here simply sharing my story. And you are welcome to disagree!


  2. This witness, yankubah samateh alias yanks smythe, in the first place, seems to be as dishonest, in my opinion, as the defendant! He did not only seems to have gotten a citizenship as reward from taylor just like Sam Boakarie and thugs,but given a diplomatic status to Libya and Tunisia, as if there were no qualified Liberians! Where were you guys that are following this guy to the pit? Why do you continue to waste your brains on this guy?
    Let me tell you this: even if this man goes free there is no way you can justify his actions in reducing your country, Liberia, to a farm, just like he never thought there would come a time when he would have to answer to questions! Those who still believe taylor’s actions were legal need psycotherapic evaluation in my opinion! No further question to this witness and Diplomat to NPFL government og charles gankay dakpana taylor,lord of Lies!

    1. Fallah,
      I am glad you’ve started to acknowledge our presidents freedom. We take that blessing from you in the name of Jesus; Now what’s your catch on Judges performance thus far……

      1. Cousin5,


        From your writings, i.e., “in the name of Jesus” it looks like you have some type of faith tradition that you hold dear. I suspect Christianity and on the denominational level, charismatic or something close. I love it when you embed your comments with eye catching theological statements.


    2. Falllah don’t forget to know that the Liberian constitution provides that all Liberians are treated equally.
      So it was not wrong for Yank to be given a job as a Liberian. Yank is just a Liberian as you are.

    3. Fallah,

      Where were you when Ellen made a Nigerian General Chief of Staffs of the Armed Forces of Liberia? NO WAY BOSS.

    4. The fact in this case is that the international community and human rights groups would have had a lot of advantages we they to pursue Taylor on his role in Liberia. I was in Sierra Leone from the on set of all the major incident including AFRC coup. If there were the hands of Taylor behind those incidents they were well hidden.

      Then again to persecute Taylor for his role in Liberia will be pulling on a rope tied to a bush, as our people say. Yes this entire fanfare is a waste of money that could have been used to assist the Sierra People in thier process of reconstruction.

  3. The prosecution lies was again exposed outrightly in open court on yesterday. A chart was presented in court that a prosecution witness has used in his testimony. Just only one issue will tell any Liberian, especially if you ever lived behind the lines that that prosecution witness is nothing but a liar. The prosecution witness had presented a chart in which he claimed represented the command structure of the NPFL.

    In his false prosecution command structure, the prosecution witness named Sam Lato as the battlegroup commander of the NPFL, then he named Isaac Musa as the deputy NPFL leader and battlefield commander. What a pure , pure white lie! Everybody in Liberia knows that Isaac Musa was the battlegroup commander and Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff of the NPFL because it was written on nearly all the NPFL vehicles. Isaac Musa rank and position in the NPFL was no secret, buses , trucks , and other NPFL vehicles bear the name of Isaac Musa clearly written for all to see. It stated clearly that Isaac Musa was the battlegroup commander.

    As for the deputy NPFL leader, everybody knew that the late Enoch Dogolea was vice president to Charles Taylor and deputy leader of the NPFL. These things were public knowledge and no secret. It was constantly annouced on radios and everywhere. So for a prosecution witness to provide contrary testimony just goes to show how careless this prosecution team was so politically motivated to prosecution Charles Taylor that they failed to do due delligence. Rather they choose to bring liars and hustlers in this court to offer false testimonies. Indeed this case is TOTAL, TOTAL, NONSENSE!!!

    1. King Gray,

      You are correct 100%. It was Isaac Musa who was the battle group/field commander and also Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs of the defunct NPFL. Like the way you say, these guys are bunch of liars and hustlers. Where are they coming from with Sam Lato? This case has no merit.

    2. My Brother King,
      When God is on your side, he confuses your enemies in all directions, so it is with the prosecution and its many witnesses. They have eyes, but can not see; they have ears, but can not hear. We that lived behind the line with clear minds during the war saw those writings on every moving object which say Gen. Isaac Musa, Battle Group Commander, NPFL. It is a shame if not disgrace for someone to present a chart of NPFL leadership without really knowing the leaders, but I’m not surprised for God is in control of this make up stories. God bless you my brother.


      Harris K Johnson

    3. Great memory bro. you have just given the exact picture of what the NPFL was during those days of the war.
      It seems that you are a historian. keep it on bro. I would have you to be one of the defense witnesses because of your sharp memory of things that happened some 10-15 years ago.
      victory to Dahkpanah.

  4. In my thinking Mr. Smythe is better than half of the prosecution witnesses who base their evidences on HEAR SAY, and THEY SAY so to speak. Mr. Smythe was a part of events that happened in Liberia between 1990-2003 and so has first hand picture of everything. I also see that the defense is well organized to totally destroy the million lies against Mr. Taylor.


    Harris K Johnson

  5. Hey Guys

    This is what you call a witnesses, Someone who can remember and who take responsibility who was there, who understand what was going on, and not people that will come up and say John Told me and Paul told me. Now we know that the S.B.U was just a name given to boy that stay with commanders and not a structural Military unit with in the N.P.F.L .

    Look Moses Blah just went to the Hague to disgrace himself that all. The Foreign policy is exclusive the Business of the President of the Republic of Liberia and so say the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia and no one can Interfere Including the Legislator. Meaning that he appoint Ambassador and Counselor, He establish diplomatic ties and cut them anytime as he see necessary for the survival of the state. So i don’t know where he Blah was speaking from I think out of misunderstaning.



  6. LIAR LIAR pants on fire, this have never been heard of in the history of any war of soldiers finding normal, non-injure kids on the front and bringing them home. Please, a soldier is not so busy and loaded that he has to pick up extra baggage? LOL. Even most males around the world in any town or city don’t just go around town picking up homeless kids. Give me a break.

    I hope they bring one of those kids to testify on Taylor’s behalf.

    Is this the best this witness can do, I could’ve came up with a better lie than that, LOL.

    1. john thompson,
      Yes, the NPFL commanders and soldiers were not only busy destroying lives on the battle fronts like those of the rebel RUF, but were also ordered to save lives. This is why they brought to safety thousands of children, men, and women. Most of those boys and girls gained and are stay gaining education from the pockets of formers NPFL commanders like Mr. Roland Duo, who is sponsoring over 100 those kids in schools in Monrovia. It will also interest you to know that these children presently live with Mr. Dou in one of his estates in Monrovia. You are invited to visit Mr. Dou’s home to talk to any of the boys or girls. John, our war in Liberia was totally different from that of the RUF in Sierra Leone. By their actions, those guys are just common animals nothing less nothing more.


      Harris K Johnson

    2. so ashame of you to say what you have just said. Have you not seen soldiers in movies taking children caught in fighting around the world? If you have not seen, i have seen it and i saw it in Ma ma Liberia. Martina Johnson, the late Cecelia Lewis, General Amy and many others had such children that i personally know of.
      I would also want to know whether you were in Liberia when the war was being fought?
      There were many who left behind their children out of confusion and they were taken by some of the fighters who later refered to them as small soldiers but not trained as a soldier.
      Please conduct a research to ascertain this for your own satisfaction so that you will not continue to be lost as it relates to those things that happened in Liberia during the war.
      I promise to help you in that research.

    3. John,

      You say this guy is lying. i guess Blah was lying also because isn’t that what he testified too. maybe my memory fails me. Alpha can you help me on this?

    4. John Thompson,

      Just the order day, Haiti had an Earthquake that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Children are disunited from their parents as the result of the earthquake. Some are fortunate to be placed in orphanage homes. In fact, some foreign nationals are going there to help childrend that don’t have parents or know the whereabout of the parents. These foreigners are adopting some of the kids and bringing them overseas,where they live.

      John, what more about war. Where parents are killed and missing. It is highly possible that children wiil be missing, passing around, and finding every possible means to survive. So, the situation in Liberia during the war with respect to children is not strange in war. Therefore, Mr Smythe testimonies are in line with reality.

  7. John Thompson,
    were you behind the line? NPFL control area? Give us some insight of what it was like.

    Fallah Menjor, who was the ambassador of the US in Iraq after Saddam, do you know his name? If the both of you guys can help me out, that would be great.

    I will proceed with my thoughts after your responds.

  8. John. I think you were not in liberia during the time of our war beacuse if you were there, then you will know that the witness is telling the truth on the topic of the S B U, i live in liberia from 1989 to 2002 and we found children from freeport of monrovia and they were taking to new kru town, to be sepcific D tweh momerial high school were the displace people were located and the other center was S D M I school opposite duala markert in the church builder, there were lots of children who lost their parents and people found them on their way move up and down, the next place lost children were saint mary high school lots of children were in that builder too that people brough in and turn them over to who so ever in charge. I personally took care of a boy and a lady who was pegant now as i m telling you this story the child from that lady she is in london with her father and mother they are not too far from me now, the boy fianl reunilted with his family and up to now i m looking like a god to them so in short what you dont know done tell someone that he/she is lieing.

    Best regard

    1. Randy,I think that you are missing the point here: taylor was indicted for war crimes against humanity and fueling of war in Sierra Leone, resulting into rampant murders of innocent civilian populations, and not to mention rapes and stealing the diamonds of that nation. We are not interested in sainthood here, neither do I personally believe your Marco Polo story! Let you and your god decide what your reward will be in your life after here! What we are focused on at present is this lying witness with so many names that was a diplomat in taylor corrupt NPFL government! Got it?

      1. Fallah,

        All the charges that you have named against this innocent, is for what country? Apparently you forgot to tell us the country. However, the country is Sierra Leone. Is he on trial now for liberia? UNBELIEVABLE.

  9. Hi everybody! Now please tell me if this first Diplomat for Charles taylor, as witness, has any credibility in the first place! And if so, tell me if he is on perdeim also as the prosecution’s previous witnesses. My reason being that these taylorites had cried foul all along, not only as means to discredit, but to buttress their propoganda mechine of “RALLY” to the chief! I want to know if they are testifying for free at the Hague or there are$$$$ signs! Taylor, you can run, but you can’t hide..we got you cornered!

    1. Fallah,
      If the witness is not creditable, he wouldn’t have worked for the present government headed by Ellen that you support and very proud of. I know that the truth hurts, but let it be said my brother regardless how you really feel or think.


      Harris K Johnson

    2. Fallah,

      Are you telling us that the prosecution witnesses were on “perdeim”/perdiems? Could you please explain to the audience how that process works of the prosecution witnesses recieving a daily money? Who was giving/providing these perdiems to the prosecution witnesses?

  10. John Thompson,

    This shows how much you know about the war in Liberia. i guess you must have been one of those who was not even in the country or probably involved with ULIMO or the AFL during the crises. If you were really in NPFL controlled territory you would be fully aware that the soldiers did indeed have young orphans living with them as did civilians.

    As it happens, I have a nephew who lived for a period with one of the NPFL special forces for about one year before he was reunited with his mother. At the time he got seperated from the rest of the family as a result of an attack by Doe forces which forced the people to fkee. When the NPFL arrived and captured the area, the boy was brought to them and the commander took him to the rear to his wife to live until such time as he would see his family.

    So you see you are totally out of touch and are speaking from a position of ignorance about the situation. If you could only open your mind and fairly view the situation, you will be able to speak more logically and without rash conclusions.


    With regards to your earlier comment about the legality of Mr. Smythe’s status, you only need to examine what happens to residents of the US who fought in Iraq. A lot of them received citizenship upon their return. This is normal practice in most countries. First of all Mr Smythe spent almost 10 years in Liberia in many different capacities. so what was illegal about him naturalizing as a Liberian. He met all the nationality criteria. Or are you one of those who has an issuye with other Africans becoming Liberians.

    For your information Liberia was established as a land for all people of negroid descent and as a place of refuge and liberty. This was a man who was in exile from the Gambia, so it was only fitting that he be granted citizenship in a country he had spent nearly a decade in, don’t you think?

    Let’s face it he is sure a much more credible person than most of those illiterates brought in by the prosecution. Half of those brought in were either uneducated or of no significance in the hirachy whatsoever. How can a farmer or mechanic be brought as a credible witness against a president especially when he never had any contact wih such a person of high status. It would require people of comparable affiliation or status who would have encountered the accused. then and only then would some credibility be given to the process.

    1. Helen, my question was: are the defense witnesses going to get perdiem for testifying? And if so, then why don’t you Helen cry foul as you did with the prosecution witnesses! That is my question and I am less interested in your long lecture.

      1. Fallah, according to you, the prosecution witnesses got perdiems for testifying. However, you did not tell us who gave them the perdiem. Could you tell us who gave the perdiems?

  11. Charles Taylor’s own admission that he has lied and was inconsistent in his testimonies before this court, and the testimony of a Gambian who Taylor admitted he knew, and was closed to the issues Suwandi Camara in 2008, that Taylor sent two of his countrymen in persons of Lamine Campaore & Ibrahim Bah to go and fight longside the RUF after been well trained in Libya is very creditable, and Yankubah Samateh AKA Yank Smythe efforts to do darmage control prior to Taylor’s admission to lies and inconcistencies is a little too late. This man has blood on his hands and QUILTY it is.

    1. Ziggy Salis,

      Are you sure you heard the testimony properly? I think you need to reread and analyse what you read. Look at the time frames and then make your comments. You appear very mixed up, I’m afraid.

  12. If any of you guys who think S.B.U (Small Boy Unit) was just a name given by NPFL commanders to boys that stayed with them during the war, then you guys must have been living on another planet. We all know who the commander of SBU is, which is listed in the trial already or should i just call it out loud? Zobon Johnson and I know him personally cuz he lives in MN. Anyway, we all saw video tapes of the war, even PBS had showed the various wars on liberia on their station, so what in the hell will a grown ass man sit there and tell the world, that the whole SBU thing is a myth? Please, what do u expect him to say in the first place, there is a reason why he is called “The Defence Witness.” And why didn’t him get citizenship til’ when Taylor became president? I bet to reap his reward that was promise to him for his loyalty, which was ambassdor to LIbya and Tunsia right? GTFOH, if you guys believe this man in the first place. Just wait, he is going to contradict his President’s testimony soon 🙂

    1. SK,
      Boy boy, how come you were not listed as one of the prosecution witnesses? My God !!! you know alot .. one thing! Are you saying you know a little boy call Zobon Johnson? And you say this little baby was the commanding officer of the SBU? Which planet did this occured? Quiick one..were you a member of the SBU too? SK, you know you are lieing..Charles is too smart of a man to creat child soldiers. One thing I can remember Taylor did, was, he always brought toys for the children of Liberia those days and give them free during seasonal times, like christmas and also during our independence day celebrations…SK, Please stop lieing on the PAPAY….

      1. Hi Noko5 – just a quick reminder that readers here are welcome to ask other readers on the site information about themselves, but they are in no way obligated to answer with any personal information.

    2. Sk,

      Is Taylor on trial for allegedly using SBU or child soldiers in Liberia? Your fake and illiterate prosecution witnesses can not match the skillful and articulate defense witness, Mr. Yanks Smythe. However, you guys are jealous of the defense first witness. Because the prosecution displayed bunch of mentally challenged, uneducated, and false story teller witnesses who story is based on hearsay, dead people, they say, my evidence got burnt in the house, and “my brain is not a computer.”
      SK, I thought your side should have been the articulate, educated and presenting concrete evidence like documents, pictures, and etc. Look!! Mr. Smythe showed you pictures of how close he was to Taylor. He show you picture of shaking the hands of Libya Mommar Khadafi. He showed you pictures when he was sown in by the Foreign Minister Monie Captain at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when he took oath of his new job. Where did you prosecution witnesses showed pictures? Zigzag Marzar claimed he was the third man to Taylor. Where Sk? We never heard that name in the first place in Liberia. Did he show pictures or documentary evidence of his so-call closeness to President Taylor? Did Abu Keita or Vamuya Sherif showed any documents? NOOOOOOO.

      SK, now you are talking about Mr. Smythe will contradict President Taylor. Good luck with that. Do you know who is the contradiction in chief here? I will whisper slowing in your ear. IT IS THE PROSECUTION AND THEIR LYING AND CONTRADICTING WITNESSES.

  13. This whole affair is a well-ochestrated syndicate formulated by Taylor and associates whose only source of survival is the diabolic use of criminal acts against innocent souls.This guy giving this so-called witness must have been an integral part of Taylor’s crimal arena.Their plans at the moment is to conquer all legal efforts to punish them for the evil meted against civilians for well over a decade.They really think and perhaps even strongly believe that it takes smartness and intelligence to lie.

    Yanks Smythe’s presentations on behalf of his tutor,Mr Taylor,replicates mere perjury.Mr Smythe or whatever he’s called should be asking himself why Liberia is not any longer at war since Taylor was forced to quit the Liberian political sphere.Even Stan was not any longer in favour of the awful deeds of Taylor as president.

    1. Vaa Mansaray,

      So when things are in the favour of Mr Taylor then it is an orchestrated plot right? Did you not know that there were first hand witnesses who would have corroborated the testimony of Mr Taylor? Did you think those liars that were paraded in the court room would have gone unchallenged?

      If you did not calculate that there were real eye witnesses who were coming forth, then you grossly miscalculated. For every liar that came there will be a person who was present to tell the truth. We got fed up with third and forth hand evidence being brought here.

      If you can’t stomach this then too bad, because the defence has the right to refute every misinformation and disinformation against this man. i believe they have begun well. Get over it.

    2. Vaa Alie Mansaray,

      This will be real short. With respect to the issue of Taylor being forced by President Bush and his allies to leave power meaning that Liberia is war free is a lie. I told you before and I will tellyou are. There are two fundamental reasons why Liberia has not re-emerged in physical violence and war. 1: THE TROUBLE MAKERS ARE NOW IN POWER AND THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE. 2: THE PRESENCE OF THE 15,000.00 U.N. TROOPS IN LIBERIA. MAKE NO MISTAKES ABOUT THIS. VAA, TAYLOR WAS NOT AROUND WHEN ELLEN SAID HER GOVERNMENT WAS UNDER THREAT FROM GENERAL CHARLES JULU WHO SHE ACCUSED OR SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITY AND ATTEMPTS OF OVERTHROWING YOUR GOVERNMENT. WHERE WAS TAYLOR?


  14. Yank keep it on going. You are the kind of witness that people want to listen to because you are not a herasay, but an actual participant to the conflict and was very closed to the oldman.
    tell them the truth.

    Have a nice stay at the Hague and a safe return.

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