Foday Sankoh Wanted To Free Sierra Leoneans From The Misery Of Politicians, A Sierra Leonean Defense Witness Says

Sierra Leone’s top rebel leader waged a war on the West African country in 1991 to free the people from the misery of the country’s politicians, a Sierra Leonean witness testifying for Charles Taylor told Special Court for Sierra Leone judges today in The Hague.

The witness, testifying in open session but with partial protective measures, told the judges that Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leader, Foday Sankoh, started agitating for multi-party democracy in Sierra Leone in the 1980s. Defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Terry Munyard, told the judges that the witness was using protective measures because he is afraid of facing reprisals in Sierra Leone after testifying for Mr. Taylor.  In his testimony today, the witness exonerated Mr. Taylor from involvement in the formation of the RUF. The RUF, he said, was not created in Liberia.

As he led the witness in direct-examination, Mr. Munyard sought to know what had motivated RUF leader Mr. Sankoh to wage a rebel war on his own country.

“What did you understand his purpose in bringing war to Sierra Leone to be?” Mr. Munyard asked the witness.

“What I understood was that he had launched the war in Kailahun and the war was coming to free the Sierra Leoneans from the misery of these politicians,” the witness responded.

The witness explained that he, together with RUF leader Mr. Sankoh, was a member of an underground group called “The Study Group,” which existed in Sierra Leone in the 1980s with an aim of advocating to change “the profoundly corrupt system which characterized governance in Sierra Leone.” When Mr. Sankoh waged war on Sierra Leone in 1991, the witness said he joined the RUF in 1992 and eventually became the rebel group’s “Civilian Coordinator.”

Today’s direct-examination of the witness was the shortest that Mr. Taylor’s trial has had since it started in January 2008. After almost three hours of direct examination, prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian started cross-examining the witness, and sought to know the birthplace of the RUF.

“Where was the RUF formed? You said it was formed when you heard Sankoh on the radio in January 1991,” Mr. Koumjian said.

“No idea,” the witness responded.

“Sir, you know it was in Liberia, don’t you?” Mr. Koumjian asked further.

Laughing, the witness insisted that “I said no idea. I’ve never been to Liberia. I only went to Liberia for the peace process, period.”

Mr. Koumjian asked the witness whether his response was because he was afraid of implicating Mr. Taylor “who created the RUF in Liberia.”

The witness insisted that he was not afraid of anything.

The witness also refuted prosecution evidence that diamonds mined by the RUF were taken to Liberia and handed over to Mr. Taylor. He made specific reference to a 21 carat diamond which prosecution evidence suggested was taken to Mr. Taylor in Liberia. According to the witness, he was present when the diamond was discovered by the RUF  and when it was handed to Mr. Sankoh. Mr. Sankoh, the witness said, received the diamond one week before his Freetown residence was attacked on May 8, 2000. The witness said that he was part of the team that escaped with Mr. Sankoh that day, but they were unable to take the diamond with them as they had to flee without any belongings.  The diamond, he said, stayed at Mr. Sankoh’s house in Freetown and was never taken out of Sierra Leone.

The cross-examination of the witness continues tomorrow.


  1. Man, Oh Man! I cannot comprehend one bit of how the Defense Team would come out with these characters that are not only colaborators, in the first place, but as dumb as could be! Are these witnesses Defense is relying upon to exhonerate taylor? It seems to me that either these characters were coerced to testify for the boss or face reprisals and evedently chose the later! How can you say I have never been to a particular place, except when on a conference tour? Is that not equivalent to having been there? Come on taylorites, you need to help me here, please clarify for these characters that could possibly be paid liars whose reward is going to be eternal damnation not only by fellow men, but The Almighty! Are these witnesses you guys think will sway the Honouble Judges Minds to let this Warlord go free? Give me a Break!

  2. I say to all memebers of true Justice on this bolk,have you guys what the 3rd defence witness have to say about the 21 carat diamond that the prosecutor said was taken to Mr. Taylor in Liberia by member of the RUF, that is, Mr. Sankor? Moreover, this is an Sierra Leonean testifying for the defence. This man, I believe is not testifying for the defence because Mr. Taylor will charge him with crimes or kill him so as to speak.

    So, Fallah, John thompson, Davenportnoko7 and Morris, what is your take on this witness testimony? Do your see any true in what he’s saying by any chance?

    1. Jocone,

      What is your rationality for bunching commentators together…is this a pro-Taylor vs. anti-Taylor categorization?


      1. Jocone,

        Could we dismantle this ‘camp’ mentality and forge meaningful discussions?


        1. I was only showing how the prosecution witnesses were giving their testimoniesas as paul told peter, then peter told Isaac and Isaac told the witness. That’s what it meant!

      2. Davenport.noko7,
        I must tell you clearly that I am not a supporter of Mr. Taylor and have never been. But I do believe in true Justice not for the victims alone but as well as the accused.
        I do believe that the case against in Sierra Leone is wrong and the prosecution have not provived any proof of what Mr. Taylor was accused of in Sierra Leone.

        That has been my position and it’s still is today. Moverover, I do have Sierra Leonean connections as well as Liberian connection from the Tolbert and Parker’s In Bensonville and the Navole Familes in Sierra Leone. So, you got that? I am in the middle here so as to speak. If I was one of those who were fighting in Sierra Leone, they would have said that I was a Liberian fighting in Sierra Leone because of my Liberian accent. These are some of the proof that the prosecution have provided for their. Since some was spaeking with an Liberian accent, it means that that person is a Liberian without investigating actually, which doesn’t make sense.

        For example, there are some kpelle people in upper Lofa who speaks kpelle like Guinean but they are not Guinean. That’s the same situations along the Sierra Leonean- Liberian border. The same situation is along the Liberian border with the Ivory Coast. There are Liberians who speaks Gio like those in the Ivory Coast but they are not from the Ivory Coast!

        So, My postion is that, Mr. Taylor should face trial for what happened in Liberia, instead, of Sierra Leone. You can see in this trial, about 90% of the event or questions asked is about Liberia… why can’t Mr. Taylor face trial for what the NPFL did in Liberia? So if there is camp, I am in the camp of true Justice, not just for the victims but for accused as well but not to support false Juatice as we’re seeing in this case!

        1. Jocone,

          Well said except this: you did not answer my question.

          What is your rationality for bunching commentators together…is this a pro-Taylor vs. anti-Taylor categorization?

          Clarification and simplification: Why bunch me with Fallah, John Thompson, and Morris? What are you driving at? Are we not independent intellectual commentators and thinkers who sometimes agree and other times disagree on issues arising from the trial at The Hague? why not bunch Fallah, Jocone, Jose, and Noko5 together? You got my point? Unless there is a justification, there is not need to bunch folks together as you have done here.


        2. Noko7,


          1. Hi Jose – let’s keep ourselves focussed on the issues arising from the trial for now, yes?
            Have a great weekend,

          2. Tracey,

            I think Jose believes he arbitrarily can stifle opinions on this website and he is very wrong. He sees himself as a police monitoring this site; as the one with the authority to insult; the only one whose emotions runs high; and the one to warn others. It reminds many of the authoritative mentality and despotic behavior of leaders like CT and Doe who went to any length to silence those whose views challenge theirs. This guy must be seriously joking and is blessed to have most of his outrageous views published.

            Sorry, but I need to speak to his constant insults, warnings, and harassment of others on this site.


          3. Hi Davenport.Noko7 — thanks for bringing your thoughts to my attention here.

            I want to take the point you are making in your post and apply it generally to all readers: we are trying to create a space here for discussion and exchange of opinions about issues surrounding the trial of Charles Taylor. We are not in the business of trading insults here. I do encourage all readers who join our discussion in this forum to focus on the issues and not on other readers in our joint effort to try to create a respectful space here.


          4. Tracey,

            You have to be very careful on how you respond to people on this site. You could possibly be caught up just like the west in this mess in the context of this trial. Noko7 is invoking your name in this discussion because his side is losing the debate. Please don’t help these guys. That way, you will be able to see in plain site both ends of the argument.Tracey, as long as we obey the rules, let the debate continues and don’t come in the middle.

          5. Hi Jose — I agree it is not my job to take sides in this debate — but it is actually my job to be involved in this debate, and my job as moderator to ensure that everyone is playing by the rules here, and ensuring that we are creating an environment where everybody feels free and welcome to comment without fear.

            I will make my position very clear: if any reader is consistently threatening others, or using threatening phrases, or attacking other readers, I will consider banning them (in terms of no longer allowing posts on this site), and I will block comments that do not meet the policy, no matter what screen name is used by readers or what side of the debate they are on. I dearly hope it never comes to banning anybody, as I do not at all want that — but I also do not want this debate to degenerate into a space where people don’t feel free to share their opinions without attack or retribution.

            I encourage everyone here to remember our policy: let’s focus on the trial and not other readers.


          6. Tracey Gurd,

            Well said. If you can recall, people on the opposite end of the aisle called and continue to call us all kinds of despicable names. For me, I did not complain, I will not complain, and I will not complain. The reason is very simple. I am used to it. However, they and their international partners called Taylor all kinds of names during the 1997 election and we the Liberia people got so tired of their names calling as the result, we got on the streets of Liberia, singing and chanting, ” you killed my mom, you killed my pap, I will vote for you.” This was a protest call against the international community and opposition political parties, who had nothing to say or offer, but to tell us, Taylor was a rebel and nothing else to say of the other participants.

            Tracey, I must admit. I have a superior tone. I also have a voice of authority: I am sorry that you have not heard me speaking to you personally in person, or even being in a gathering for me to speak, you will probably say that I speak with authority, and I have a superior tone, and I don’t curse. Nontheless, people on the opposite side of me, can say the same thing that I may say, but the tone of my voice is so powerful and dominant, that I will take charge and being seen as the leader. I don’t insult Tracey. Noko7 is lying: that’s why I challenged him to show the curse word used. However, take a break and just look at some of the posts you have disqualified from me. There is no curse word. Look at some of Fallah and other posts that you have allowed, and don’t think I don’t have proof ma’am: I do. And if you ask me, I will post it. And I hope you don’t say, it is not in accordance with the rules, therefore, you can’t post it. On the other hand, you might say yes, you didn’t curse, but you focused on others. However Tracey, I have my own Library here. I have profile on all of the posters here, since I started. However, there is a difference between Jose and the opposite of him. Please ma’am, don’t fall for these guys tricks. These guys are looking for shelter. They are looking for refuge. They are certainly looking for safe haven. And don’t provide it for them, especially when they claimed to be more educated, intellectually sound, good people, and above all, calling people names without proof.

          7. Hi Jose — thanks for your note. And I promise I will not take sides and I do appreciate that you never curse in your comments.

            My main concern is truly that we maximize the use of our space here by focussing on the issues arising from the trial, and sharing our opinions and thoughts respectfully. I do think that by and large we are acheiving that kind of space here, and I encourage all of us to take responsibility for our own posts to keep creating this kind of creative, open and intelligent forum operating at its highest potential.


          8. Bro . Jose,
            Please hold your peace. NOKOS are here backing you wholely and solely. We got your back. Noko7 is on AWOL, and thinks he got muscles to measure with the graet “GENERAL FIX IT”. I Enjoy all your professional scales applied in this matter. We wil advocate in the intrest of justice for mr. Taylor . Don’t care how Ms. Teage , Fallah, and even noko7 feels about it . Mr. Taylor did not ask Foday Sankor to cut off his peoples hands if he did. He did not call Tejan Kaba and tell him to kill his people. So I don’t know where all the huffing and puffing around here is about.

          9. Noko7,

            First of all, your tiedye picture of maliciously accusing me of insulting others are not true. Show me one instance where I insulted you or orders. In the piece that you wrote, you did not provide one example. If you did, point it out. I will say, this is a lie and outlie by you.

            Secondly, I don’t see myself as a police man on this site. However, I am just sick and tired with all these lies about Taylor. And I think this is one of the best opportunities that we as a people have to debunk those lies. I may not have the opportunity anymore with in my life time to express and debunk all those many lies. However though, I don’t expect the New York Times, Chichago Tribune, and ect to say anything favorable to President Taylor. So I will take advantage of this global outreach site.

            More impotantly, I Jose Rodriguez have a superior tone. I have a voice of authority. And I am very thrilled and privileged to be gifted with those blessings. I don’t insult. I don’t stifle. I don’t harrass . What I do, I inform. What I do, I rip the veil of false immaculations . What I do, I expose the lies and tricks. However, I think it is important that I do these good things for which I was born to do. I thing if I don’t do it, I will run the greatest risks of offending my conscience and what I was born to do. However, let me say this before I go to the next paragraph. There is a Two Star General that is expected to visit us on our base. We were informed and told that we are allowed to ask this General questions. However, if anyone has a question, they should raise their hand and tell the troops what question are you going to ask. There was no one to raise their hand except Jose Rodriguez. Everybody turned around in their seat and looked at me when I raised my hand. And our commander said, Rodriguez, what are/is your question? I said, I will say Sir, I respectfully request permission to ask a question. And if my request is granted, this is my question. Sir, the Obama Administration has talked about the repudiation of the “DON’T ASK DON’T TELL POLICY” (Gays openly serving in the U.S Military). Moreso, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, Admiral Mike Mullen, has also endorsed this idea. My question is, what impact will it have on Today’s Military? Anyways, we were dismissed. But after that, I had friends, acquaintance, and even my roommate asking me. Are you gay? Some even making fun of me, Jose, come out of the closet. Why will you seriously ask that question, if you are not gay? Anyways, back to the trial. This is me. I speak with authority. I have a superior tone.

            Lastly Noko7, That’s one of the reasons why this site was created for; to get the views of what people think about the Charles Taylor Trial. Therefore, my view is a requirement of this site. In a sense, I am blessed. This site is a level equalled playing field. The West will not help you this time. It is between both of us. Show me what you have and I will do the same. Tracey can not ban me. This is what she wants. And even if she doesn’t, I will change my name and/or buy a new laptop computer, or use friends computer. By the way Noko7, my choice of word and my rhetoric is such that, it is difficult to actually assign insults, stifle, and harrassment on. I methodically choose my words. The difference between people on your side and Jose, is such that, I will not do, or say, what they usually do, by calling people uneducated, killers, rebels, beneficiary of loot, Taylor supporter and above all, Jose Rodriguez Taylor, or Jose Taylor. However, I take it at a higher tolerance level. That way, it is difficult for them to specifically catch you. If they will catch you, they will have to do a research and probably interpret your statement in a way to fashion their desire. And if they do interpret your statement, You can have a smooth sailing to tell them , you are the maker and finisher of your own statement and it is not what you meant. Therefore, their interpretation is wrrrooonnngggg.

          10. Hi Jose — just for the record, I do not want to ban you. What I do want is to create an environment here where we focus on the issues raised by the Taylor trial and not on each other. As long as people here are playing by our rules for the site, they are welcome to post here. I also encourage all readers to take responsibility for creating an environment which is respectful of others and their opinions, and where people do not feel threatened or intimidated in any way.

  3. These are what we call eye witnesses accounts. I’m very impressed with how this witness addressed the much talked about 21 carat diamond story that prosecution has alleged that was given to Mr. Taylor. He did not say they say, but said I was present and remained with Mr. Sankor and was part of the team that escaped with him. I think those forces that attacked Mr.Sankor’s residence must be made to account for said diamond. They are all looters and criminals in uniforms. Go on brother tell them that Mr. Taylor is not responsible for Sierra war, but the people on Sierra Leone. Fallah and the many anti tayloy here, what do have to say after listing to one of your own brothers from Sierra Leone? Humm, watch out for our next witness who is an American. I promise that we are coming in full no jock about this. We will do what we have to do, when we have to do it.

    Harris K Johnson

    1. Harris K. Johnson,

      President Taylor is destroying and humiliating the prosecution from all aspects and dimensions. No doubts about it. And there is no other way to put it.

  4. Folks,

    Can someone help me, please? This “Sierra Leone witness”, is he one of those who benefited from CJT’s grant of Liberian citizenship? What about DCT-125, was Liberian citizenship bestowed on him? It seems an interesting pattern is emerging.


    1. for your info DCT-125 never said he was granted Liberian citizenship he only said he was part of the Gambian group that went to Liberia to provide security for Mr Taylor although he was the leader of the group. The Sierra Leonean witness too never said he was granted Liberian citizenship.

    1. Grebo,

      Sierra Leonean testifying against Sierra Leone case. I agree. John’s palm oil waste on John rice. My whole Liberian brother, the oil is for John. The rice is for John. So when the oil waste on John’s rice, is there a problem especially by John himself wasting the oil on his own rice?

      1. Jose,
        You’re meaningless threats are ridiculous and childish, come one, “I will show you who born dog”, what exactly does that mean, grow up!!! You guys keep telling us to focus on the issue, you’re breathing fire and brimestone because someone hypothetically asked why you weren’t group with another reader. GROW UP DUDE!! SERIOUSLY, this is not intellectual conversation, or a good ole, debate it’s just getting weirder and just down right childish!!!!!
        As i stated before you guys need to learn how to participate in an intellectual conversation without letting your emotion take control. Threatening another blogger is not “sticking to the issues”, as you all like to say to others so i say to you Rodriguez, STICK TO THE ISSUE and STOP throwing meaningless threats around.

        1. Dear all — in the past few days, one reader’s comment in particular has raised a lot of ire among other readers on the site.

          I take the concerns on board, and I have two things to say:
          1. This is not the forum for threats, or violent suggestions. We are here for an exchange of opinions about a trial and that’s where we should focus.
          2. Please, let’s return to focussing on the issues raised by the trial and not on each other. I have heard all the arguments and counter arguments and I will not hesitate to warn readers and potentially ban them from this forum (meaning, I will no longer let their comments through) if they are consistently threatening or attacking of others.


        2. Teage,

          Sometimes, some things just don’t require any explanation. And probably, this is one.

          Anyways, I am still not satisfied. I will like to discuss this intellectual and childish issue that you raised. You know what, I will let it go this time Teage.

        3. Ms. Teage,
          I am quite suprise, but at most amaized, that you would suggest emotional uncontrol attitude of others when you ‘ve indirectly or directly insulted me several times in your treads to me. But sister, some of us are different. I never take them seriously. Just take them like what I take from my some of biological sisters . I am saying this to say in short, please go slow with jose. I believe these guys were joking the liberian way..peace. Sometimes we liberian men joke like that..

          1. Hi folks — let’s return to the trial if we can folks. I wonder, in fact, if we could discuss further the ideas that were raised in the outreach discussion, which we can find here:

            Also, later this week, we should be able to post the interview with Mr. Griffiths, which will give us ample food for debate here, I am sure of it.


  5. Mr. koumjian,

    What is in this thing you just don’t understand? “NO IDEA.” NO IDEA MEANS NO IDEA. Do you think the more you yell and ask the same question, the likelihood exists that you will have a different answer? It is not happening boss. This witness however, is not reporting from they say or hearsay. He was present. Why Mr. Koumjian, you could not have brought in those RUF rebel leaders directly to testify on your behalf? Some of those guys are still alive. But you wilfully chose to bring second, third, fourth, and fifth party testimony. Who do you think the judges will believe sir? The man who was actually there, or the man who was not there?


    1. I tell you bro. you could see how mad he was yelling and couldn’t keep up with his own rules as he had told the witness. He did it to the point that he didn’t care about the protection of the witness witness. They got a long way to go and a lot of madness to go through. He was very unprofessional while carrying on his cross examination that even caused the witness to laugh, I mean that was very funny!

  6. Hey Guys

    The prosecutor could not call these guys up cuz what they want these guys could not provide it. They wanted lies so the were in search of lier. Those anti Taylor will really be discourage because more and more good witnesses will come up.

    Mr.Koumjian no inconstancy this guy pass with excellent mark. I think your trouble just started. Gaykabo citizenship is in materia at this point sorry.



    1. Zobon,
      I do agree with you. Even the prosecution were having it tough during the cross examination of the 3rd defence witness, I mean the Sierra Leonean guy who told the court that a diamon that was about 21 carat or more that the prosecution said was taken to Mr. Taylor in Liberia was infact a big lie!
      He also told the court that the diamond in question was infact with Foday Sankor when his ( Foday Sankor ) house were attacked by members of president Kabbah forces and that he the witness was the one who help Sankor escaped from the house. Ant that the diamon did not leave the house Mr. Sankor was living in in Freetown because they didn’t have the time to take anything from the house. So tell me what is going on here?
      He also said that Sankor did call Kabbah to tell him about the situations instead of Mr. Taylor. But the prosecution said in their case that Sankor did call Mr. Taylor when his home got attacked in freedom. we will see a greater fight in the cross examination of the first witness on next week Tuesday.

      1. I am sorry, I meant the 2nd defence witness will be going through cross examination on next week week Tuesday

  7. Jose Rodriguez ,

    You must be joking, don’t you?


    what is coming over you? Are you running out of options?

    I do not take warnings from the likes of you okay.

    I am ready for you to show me.


    1. Jose Charles Taylor Rodriguez,

      I am above your ploy and will not fall to your whims and caprices to become your supporter or insult or threaten you. Nope! Not now and never will. I am an independent thinker…a thinker empowered by the site to have a meaningful and intellectual dialogue on issues arising from the trial. Thank God those who monitor this site namely Tracey and Alpha and team are not Liberians and do not live in Liberia, as you would have done everything possible to end their operation to reach out to the world with daily summaries and vide streams on the trial. Try to distract me all you can even with your insults and insolence and YOU, Jose Charles Taylor Rodriguez, WILL NOT SUCEED because I am above your ploy.

      In the meantime, I am waiting for you to “show me who born dog” as you threatened.

      Sorry, folks I have to veer momentarily to address the constant threats and harassments from Jose Taylor.


      1. Davenport.Noko7 — I encourage all of us here to focus on the issues arising from the trial and not other readers. Meanwhile, your post reminds me that I perhaps should impose a stricter moderating policy if there are threats, warning or insults regularly being included in comments in this forum.

        1. Tracey,


          As I have always done, so should I continue to focus on the trial…and I think a stricter moderating is welcomed as Jose’ comments “AND I HOPE YOU TAKE THIS WARNING VERY SERIOUSLY. BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T, I WILL SHOW YOU WHO BORN DOG” (cf March 13, 2010 at 12:48 am) is indeed unwelcomed. “I will show you who born dog” is a serious threat as far as culture of violence and killings emanating from the war in Liberia is concern. I know as a non-Liberian you do not understand this comments but it is a threat and insolence and we, Liberians, know that. I take serious exception to Jose’s threats and insolence towards others who challenge his views. His strategy of wanting to silence independent voices or scare off commentators is contemptible. This is unacceptable as I do not think the purpose of this forum is to allow others to hide behind violent and war associated jargons to threaten and insult others.

          Peace, Tracey, peace. I am done and will move on.

          1. Hi Davenport.Noko7 – thanks. I agree this is not the appropriate forum to use any violent or war-related jargon. I will try to monitor closely for this.

      2. Jose and Noko7,
        You guys craked me with too much laughter today. Both of you are crazy and very very funny…! fun never dies.. are you all serious. Lets get Fallahs’ take on this…

      3. Jose — you submitted a post on March 14 at 1:40pm which unfortunately I cannot publish because it does not meet our policy. If you can reformulate and resubmit a comment which focusses on the issues raised by the trial and not on another reader, I will be able to publish it.

  8. Jacone, concerning Mr. Taylor facing trial for Liberia. I agree with you and this is why the international community needs to support the Liberian TRC Report and help to establish a WAR CRMIES COURT in Liberia. Taylor should be taken to Liberia for trial, period! We Liberians need some RESPECT too!

    1. Via- Gbana,
      The international community cannot support the Liberian TRC report for the simple fact that, the international is protecting some of those who committed crimes against the Liberian people. There are people who committed worse crimes against the Liberian just like Mr. Taylor did.

      like what we are seeing here now. Mr. Taylor is facing trail for what happened in Sierra Leone but there are people who provided funds to carry on the war that killed thousands of people but they are not facing trial today infact, they were not even mention in the TRC report…… Why? So the best thing the international community could have done is to falsely charged Mr. Taylor for crimes committed in Sierra Leone!

Comments are closed.