ULIMO Rebels Supplied Arms and Ammunition To The RUF, Sierra Leonean Defense Witness Says

A Sierra Leonean witness, who yesterday commenced his testimony in defense of Charles Taylor, has today told the Special Court for Sierra Leone judges that Sierra Leonean rebels received supplies of arms and ammunition not from Mr. Taylor as alleged by prosecutors, but from another rebel group in Liberia.

Prosecutors have alleged that Mr. Taylor, while leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and then as president of Liberia, supplied arms and ammunition to Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone. These supplies of arms and ammunition, prosecutors allege, were used by the RUF to commit heinous crimes against the civilian population of Sierra Leone. Mr. Taylor is on trial as being responsible for the crimes committed by the RUF because according to prosecutors, he knew or had reason to know that the RUF rebels were committing crimes in Sierra Leone but that he failed to prevent the commission of those crimes or that he failed to punish those who committed such crimes. The former Liberian president has denied all the allegations against him.

At his trial in The Hague today, the Sierra Leonean witness and former arms repairer for the RUF, Charles Ngebeh, denied prosecution allegations that Mr. Taylor supplied the RUF with arms and ammunition during the West African country’s conflict. Under direct-examination today, Mr. Ngebeh told the judges that the United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO), a rival group to Mr. Taylor’s NPFL, supplied the RUF with arms and ammunition. He explained that sometime in 1996, the RUF Battle Front Commander Sam Bockarie established a relationship with ULIMO that led to the Liberian rebel group supplying arms and ammunition to the RUF.

On the types of weapons received by the RUF from ULIMO, Mr. Ngebeh mentioned “AK-67, G3, GMG and RPG.”

Asked by defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Terry Munyard, what the state or condition of the arms and ammunition received from ULIMO were, the witness explained that “all the materials that we obtained from ULIMO, I repaired them. Most of the arms were rusty, the ammunition too were rusty,they were hidden under the ground, they were hidden under the ground. I would go and clean them up, I service them before we were able to use them. They were rusty,” the witness explained.

The witness added that the RUF also bought arms and ammunition from Guinean soldiers.

The witness also affirmed today that RUF rebels forced civilians to  get involved in mining activities and that those who refused were either beaten or killed. Prosecutors have alleged that RUF rebels committed crimes of forced labor by forcing civilians to mine diamonds for them. These diamonds, prosecutors say, were transported to Mr. Taylor in Liberia in return for arms and ammunition. In his testimony today, the witness explained how the rebel forces engaged in forced labor.

“It was the soldiers who would go to look out for the civilians. The AFRC and the RUF, they would go and search for the civilians,” the witness said.

“How would they make sure that the civilians did what they wanted,” Mr. Munyard asked the witness.

“They monitored them,” he said.

Asked what would be done to the civilians if they did not do what the rebels wanted, the witness explained that “if you are unlucky, they will kill you. If you are lucky, they’ll beat you up. That’s the advice. They’ll take you by force. That was the options that they gave.”

Mr. Ngebeh’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. Big B, can you please let me know the specific post that you are referring to?

    1. Alpha,
      I asked you few days ago and you are either playing BLIND MAN or just DON’T WANT TO ASK MY QUESTION…WHY??

      Here’s it again…as Sierra Leonean, how or what is your feelings knowing the Pres. Kabbah was a PRIME CHARACTER in the theater but he’s not on trial??

      Forget about this case and just deal with that as a citizen of Sierra Leone please

      1. Noko4,
        While i acknowledge that your question is an important one, kindly note that i cannot say anything on this case otharthan in my official capacity as an independent trial monitor. My professional conduct on this case far trumps that of my being a Sierra Leone. I therefore cannot give any personal views on this case. This is in no way meant to dismiss your question or concern as not deserving a response. It sure deserves a response but unfortunately, that response cannot come from me. I hope this helps.

        1. Alpha,
          Please STOP the twist stand up…I ask you NOT about this case but your feeling about Pres. Kabbah not been put on trial…..NOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS.

          1. Are we now beginning unnecessary rudeness toward our Monitors, or just plain arrogance usually associated with egocentric mentality? Why should anyone be subjected to answer to questions that he feels are not in line with his position as a monitor? Have we not gotten similar responses from Tracey in the past? Grow up gentlemen..this is a shame..we are not that ignorant for goodness sake! Knock this nonsense off..!!!

          2. Fallah,
            Please define RUDENESS in my quest to know how Alpha feels/thinks about Pres. Kabbah not been put on trial??

            The question posted to him has/had ZERO to do with monitoring in case you cannot understand. I advise that you go back and read my question.

          3. Noko4, I think I was plain and simple. This arguement you are trying to raise is simply targeting Alpha, it seems, for his not allowing the rules to bend for your purpose. The man has told you that because of his position as monitor, he could not anwer to your questions. What more do you want to hear from him that you did not hear from Griffiths or other Prosecution lawyer? Besides, your question to Alpha is simply a clever way of wanting him to voice his personal opinion in answering questions on sitting President, Kabba, that, in turn would undermine his position “to be nuetral” Am I clear?
            Now, the manner of your approach seems rude and with an attitudetoward this Man. Alpha and Tracey have time and again made it clear; rules must be followed on this site. Lots of my posting do not make it on this site because I usually forget that my personal emotions do not really matter on this blog except that which is admissible and I therefore take no offense against the monitors over such. That is how civilized men should think and act. If taylor is set free does not end the peaceful happy life Fallah lives. We are only exercising our intellectual freedom of the press here, Noko4. I hope you see it like this Buddy! Not Fallah is Sierra Leonean and noko4 is Senegalese and therefore Fallah deserves no respect, nor Tracey is American therefore should be desrespected because America and Britain set taylor up for arrest. We need objectivity here..that’s all I am saying Noko4. God Bless!

          4. Dear J Fallah Menjor — I do appreciate your understanding of Alpha’s and my roles and the rules for this site.

            Also, I do have to say – and you have reminded me, as did my colleagues who graciously took my place last week when I was out — I am increasingly impressed at the level and tone of the debate here. I want to thank everyone here for engaging, on the whole and increasingly so, respectfully and thoughtfully on the trial.


          5. Fallah,
            What will be WRONG if he comes out as a SIERRA LEONEON and say ALL SHOULD BE PUT ON TRIAL FOR THE SAKE OF JUSTICE?? Case close but him to tell me/us that because he is a monitor on this site his RIGHTS TO SPEAK outside of this trial or on matters relating to his homeland has been taken is away?? I think that alone is INJUSTICE to his fellow citizens!!!!

            Now if you and Ms. Teage find that to be “RUDENESS” then let’s pray…..OH LORD, HELP US FOR WE ARE LOST IN THE FOREST…..amen.

          6. Hi Fallah and Noko4 — the real issue is what is happening in this trial and Alpha’s efforts to faithfully and fairly report it each day. His and my own personal opinions do not and should not count in this forum as we have a different role to play. You as readers, however, should feel free and entitled to express your personal opinions on the trial as much as you wish, as long as it meets our criteria for posting.

          7. Rude indeed. I think you all need to seriously grab a strong hold of your emotion!!!! “it will be better if you said nothing at all”. Not every human being thinks as you do, or process information, some people unlike you and myself who have strong opinions that expresses our biases in this trail, actually try to be objective. If, Mr. Sesay states his opinion and you are not happy with it fine, but that is his opinion. You might as well come out NOKO4, and call Mr. Sesay a liar, and force into his brain your opinion, that “EVERYBODY” including Mr. Sesay knows that former Prez Kabbah is guilty…….
            His opinion is his opinion!! Why can’t you all learn how to respect people’s opinion!!! What is it with you all? You want people to think the way yall think see things the way you see it and give answers you want to hear, and if it’s not you all through tantrums like your a kid. GET OVER YOURSELF!
            LEARN TO RESPECT PEOPLE AND THEIR OPINIONS. YOU’RE LITERALLY claiming that Mr. Sesay is lying without never ever meeting him and having a conversation with him concerning, the issue of Mr. Kabbah’s guilt, YOU have determine that he is guilty so because YOU have, that Means Mr. Sesay has reached the same conclusion. Are you serious Noko4, you are all over this blog site and you need to calm yourself down. RESPECT others opinion, whether it’s what you want to hear it or not. Your rudeness towards Mr. Sesay is un called for, and if you had said that to another poster I would have gotten on you just the same.
            His opinion is not what you honestly want to hear but it is opinion.
            Another thing you may not KNOW this. But it is always that a monitor of a group remains OBJECTIVE as possible. Whether Mr. Sesay thinks that his former president is guilty or not has nothing to do with this trail, that is his personal opinion, and if he says that HE HAS NOT reached at a definitive opinion, and he wants to objective in his opinions and have not arrive at one then it’s exactly as he says.

            You honestly need to calm yourself down and start respecting people, seriously. We’re all adults here this shouldn’t be that difficult.

          8. Hi Ms. Teage,

            That is quite a defense of Alpha here! I was away last week while the discussion took place but I see that there were elements that created controversy here.

            I do not know what exactly was said to Alpha, nor the context to which you are referring (I will be sure to go back and read it all though) — but I do agree that as monitors, we cannot take a position or speculate on who else should or could have been indicted by the Special Court. However, as readers, you are most welcome to speculate on all issues arising form the trial and our content on this site.


          9. Hum!!!!

            What is going on?

            Why this attempt at arm twisting?


            Welcome back sister, Tracey…and thanks brother, Alpha.


          10. Ms Teage,
            Alpha has yet to state his position except said MIND NOT MADE UP!!!!! Who is their RIGHTFUL MIND will believe such??? I understand because he is a member of the team on this site and have pledged to keep their FEELINGS under wrapped but his answer just don’t jab with reality.

            I didn’t ask whether he believe Pres. Kabbah is “GUILTY” but rather what he thinks of Pres. Kabbah not been put on trial given his deputies are locked up and they said they got instructions from Pres. Kabbah since he was the COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the SL Army. Mr Taylor is on trial not because he was in Sierra Leone but rather the prosecutors believe he gave INSTRUCTIONS/COMMANDS to RUF…..do you know see the parrell in my question???

          11. Hi Noko4 and Ms. Teage,

            Thanks for raising the issue and the clarifications, but I do think we should focus on what Alpha is reporting each day. His and my personal opinions do not count and don’t matter in this forum as we have a different role to play, with is of neutral monitor.


          12. Noko4,
            Thanks for your clarification as to the exact response that you seek to your question. However, i have not taken a position on whether former President Kabbah must have bee put to trial or not. May be in the futre when i do an academic paper on international justices issues that have obtained in post-conflit Sierra Leone, based on research and information available to me, i’ll be in a position to determine whether certain individuals including former President Kabbah must have born culpability or put on trial for the events that occured in the country. Maybe my reasarch will also include talking to readers on the site to get their insights or knowledge of the events that have obtained in the sub-region. Until then, i cannot take a position right now on whether former President Kabbah must have been put on trial for the events in Sierra Leone.

            Hope this response serves a better purpose in addressing your concern and laying the issue to rest,
            With best regards,

          13. Alpha,
            It would have been better if you had said….NOTHING. Are you telling me/us as a Sierra Leonean you have YET to decide whether Pres. Kabbah should be prosecuted?? Really?? And you want us to believe that response??

            I understand your WHY but please don’t fool us into thinking you are BLIND to his activities during the war moreso, when his deputies are locked up.

            Nice try!!!

          14. Alpha,
            What if you were asked by the judges at the end of this case to vote guilty and not guilt, which side will you stand and why? Please I’m not asking because you are from Sierra Leone, but as a career lawyer who believes in true justice for all.


            Harris K Johnson

          15. Harris K. Johnson,
            You all are being ridiculous and YOU KNOW IT. just FYI, incase you missed this post by Alpah to Noko4. You all need to calm yalls emotion down a bit. He’s a Sierra Leonean and also an “INDEPENDENT” monitor. You all are trying to stir up trouble and yall need to but a end to that; it’s childish, it’s pointless, and it takes away from the discussions. You all are all adults and can understand when someone says I’m an “INDEPENDENT MONITOR” so take it as that and LET IT BE!!!!!!!!

            While i acknowledge that your question is an important one, kindly note that i cannot say anything on this case otharthan in my official capacity as an independent trial monitor. My professional conduct on this case far trumps that of my being a Sierra Leone. I therefore cannot give any personal views on this case. This is in no way meant to dismiss your question or concern as not deserving a response. It sure deserves a response but unfortunately, that response cannot come from me. I hope this helps.

          16. Hi Ms. Teage — thanks for your note. I do appreciate the sentiment you are expressing here, but just a gentle reminder that we need to focus on the issues and not other readers.

          17. Ms Teage,
            I would have resonded to your post reference to my question to Alpha, but have this as a day off. Next time yah!!

            Harris K Johnson

          18. Tracey,
            Please ask Alpha why did he escape my question post to him on March 26, 2010 at 7:22? Maybe you could also help on this question.

            Harris K Johnson

          19. Yes, Tracey, you are indeed the way marker and the solution every inquiry on this site. I’m really impressed with Alpha’s choice of words in addressing my question. The brother sounded very professional this time. I’m sure we all clearly see the direction in which this entire thing is heading to. Thanks very much for knocking at Alpha’s door.


            Harris K Johnson

          20. Hi Harris – thanks for your kind words, but I can take no credit. Alpha answered independently.

          21. Harris,
            Good question. The good thing is that i’ll be asked by the judges at the end of the case after all sides would have presented their cases before the court. After hearing from both prosecution and defense, i should be in a proper position to say whether the prosecution proved their case or the defense rebutted prosecution evidence. As it stands now, being a professional lawyer, i cannot say what my answer to that question will be considering that we are talking about unknown events which may come before the court at a future date. In all fairness to both sides, i can only be in a position to give a view on that question when we get to the end of this case. I also cannot give an answer to the question now because it is fair that we hear Mr. Taylor’s complete defense with the presentation of his entire evidence.
            I hope this helps.

          22. Alpha,
            Thanks for this excellent answer. I reasonable agree with you. Have a blessed day brother.

            Harris K Johnson

  2. Big B,
    Your posting addressed to Morris has indeed not been approved. This is because there is a problem with the language or allegations put as facts. Can you please rephrase the first three items listed at the end of your posting? We just want to be sure that we are not stating issues as though they are facts when they are mere allegations or reports. Kindly rephrase those points and the post will be approved immediately.

  3. Alpha,

    Those are not allegations for your information. Those are facts, hard facts. You may not be aware of the circumstances surrounding my statements because you are not a Liberian. It is pathetic for you to rule that my statement is not factual.

    I withdraw the statement.

  4. I am so amazed to hear from Mr, Ngebeh that Sam Bockarie was a scape goat serving two warring factions fighting each other in Liberia. I stand to doubt his words of defense on behalf of CT. Charles Taylor who was an antagonistic on ULIMO and he was power thirst, he would not have compromised with Sam Bokarie, knowing well that the former was doing business with his enemy. No way would have CT given a safe heaven to Bockarie on to the extend of integrating him in his security personnels.
    The defense really don’t know what to do to free Charles Taylor. Therefore different people give different contradicting statement on the issue of arm supply to RUF, the most inhuman and brutal rebel force the world has ever produce. The defense continue to point their fingers at ECOMOG, ULIMO and Guinean Soldiers as suppliers of arms to RUF, this all geared to buff the prosecution against their god father. My question is, Who is really saying the truth in the court, CT or his defense witnesses.
    My fellow brothers on this site, let us be aware of what we say. The whole issue of this court is in the hands of the Judges.May God give them the wisdom and Knowledge so that they take the accurate decision on this matter.
    God Bless us all.

    1. Well if we should go back and hear from General Vamuyan Sheriff, he was a general for ULIMO but later served as member of the SSS during Taylor presidency. Mr. Taylor did allowed some of his socalled enemies to served in his government

    2. Faud,
      If you can please tell us when ULIMO captured all of western Liberia and how long did she controlled those areas? If you can answer that, you will know why people are saying ULIMO was arming the RUF for years.

  5. That was ANOTHER simple and common LOGIC these prosecutors failed to piece together. How was Mr. Sherriff so welcomed by RUF?? ULIMO K controlled that area.

    Another nail in the coffy….how much time did the prosecutors spend preparing for this case is the reason why we see such witnesses on the defense side.

  6. Like Fuad earlier stated, Knowing CT as he was and still is, how are we to possibly believe that he (CT) will let Sam Bockarie do business with ULIMO who were his most dreaded enemies? Is this a jok?I say better luck next time Mr Ngebeh. THE JUDGES KNOWS BEST.

    1. Do you know all that happened in you own home? There’s no way you can know that happened around you!

    2. Kugbay & Faud,

      If I were Charles Taylor why would I care if the RUF was getting arms from ULIMO. Infact I might even welcome it. For every arm that was sold by ULIMO was one less arm that could do damage to Liberia. Kugbay and Faud it is becoming clearer every day that Sierra Leonean were responsible for their own carnage. Why do you all want to blame the president of the sister republic of Liberia. The only intelligence Sierra Leone had to blame Charles Taylor was the one given by the United States and Great Britain and we know how faulty that can be.

  7. Alpha Sesay,
    Keep up the good work. I understand you are wearing two hats this week ie: monitoring the trial and keeping this blog active.

  8. Alpha,

    Unlike Tracey, apparently you can’t withstand positive criticism. You have deliberately failed to post my comment to you earlier today. Please don’t take it personal, let’s move on.

    1. Big B,
      I do not know which specific comment that criticizes me positively that has not been approved. If you have observed, i have only been responding to comments addressed to Tracey and to which she cannot respond because she is away this week. My response has been limited to telling readers that Tracey is away and that she will respond to the comments when she returns. If a particular comment has not been posted, it just means that the comment has either not been moderated at the time of your query or that it has violated the site’s policy. Trust that if your comment is read and it meets the site’s guidelines, it’ll be approved immediately. I have stated repeatedly on this forum that positive criticisms do not negetively affect me and the work that i do. They just make me a better person and help me improve the work that i do.

  9. Alpha please correct me if I’m wrong, maybe I’m not reading the information correctly.
    Did this witness testify that NPFL/Taylor did help RUF (only in 1991), and than the next day that Taylor did not help RUF, and ULIMO did I’m a bit confuse.

    I thought the witness said Taylor assisted RUF, but only in 1991. Come on

    Taylor stated in a cross examination back in October, that he did not order Bockarie to be killed, and that he was said when he found out that Bockarie was dead that he was said because Bockarie was like a son to him. Taylor WILL NOT have said that about someone who was allies with one of his arch-enemy. I don’t care what picture you all paint of Taylor, if Bockarie had done that, Taylor would not have considered Bockarie a “son”….that’s just absurd.

    Taylor/NPFL spent their days on the battle front killing ULIMO rebels; this witness wants us to believe that Bockarie recieved assistance from ULIMO and than Taylor continued to have a close relationship with Bockarie….I really think that these witnesses think that the everybody else is ignorant or something…

    Any way as I said, Griffith, keep the witnesses coming!!!!! Keep them coming!!!!!

    1. Ms Teage,
      If you got any FACTUAL EVIDENCE to present, call the prosecutor office and give it/them to them.

      The man in the fields said 1991….Mr. Taylor said around that time,…other witnesses confirmed around that time frame but you on the other end says NO?? WHY??

      And STOP confusing yourself….when did Mr. Taylor meet Mr. Bockarie?? Sept of ’98 I believe. NPFL/RUF were not partner in ’98 in case you don’t remember the time lines in this case.

    2. Ms Teage,
      Mr. Taylor is not a heartless person. He is quick to forgive this enemy for the sake of peace. That is why he appointed one of your brothers, former ULIMO general Sheriff as one of his body guards. What more can we tell you in order for you to believe that Mr. Taylor is not responsible for the conflict in Sierra Leone? Stay tuned you will surely know sometime as this case moves on.

      Harris K Johnson

      1. Harris K. Johnson,
        Yeah and the earth is not round, and I’m not black and Taylor is not on trail, and Idi Amin is not a heartless person, and Joseph Kony is not using child soldiers……..yeah ok. TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION…..NOTHING you or anyone else says execpt God will EVER EVER change my mind about Taylor’s guilt. He helped RUF; his greed and thirst for money to support his nasty little war habits drove him to Sierra Leone and he wrecked the lives of millions he’s evil, sadistic, manipulative and he was finally caught, it’s not a witch hunt. THIS IS MY OPINION, and you or no one else, will never EVER change my mind about. Everyday as the defense testimony goes on I’m more convince of it.

        Hope that answered your question.

        1. Ms Teage
          I really don’t care if you are blue or white. What I do know is that everyone is equal in the face of God. Beside, I’m very proud as a black man. You can hold your opinion about Mr.Taylor for life. This is not new to us because it is the same opinion of some of you white people that brought Mr. Taylor to this court. But will God above Mr. Taylor will walk free and some of you will have heart attack. Read my words Ms.

          Harris K Johnson

    3. The witness said as Mr. Taylor himself did while testifying that, Mr. Taylor supported the RUF in 1991 but later stopped the support due to the fact that, there were infighting between the NPFL and RUF.
      I said this back in July that the NPFL soldiers were fighting in Sierra Leone. And that they were place where the Liberain Land in Sierra stop at. I
      also said that, there were a cornerstone at that location that have Liberia written on it and that is where Mr. Taylor told his fighters to protect.

      So due to that infighting, Mr. Taylor order all NPFL soldiers to leave Sierra Leone. Infact one John Sharp from Careysburg who was part of the 1985 fail coup was fighting in Sierra Leone got killed by RUF because he didn’t leave when Mr. Taylor order them to leave Sierra Leone. He didn’t leave Sierra Leone because he killed some people in Liberia while fighting for the NPFL and ran away from Liberia into Sierra Leone while they were looking for him in Liberia to be arrested.

      Even a young uncle of my was forcesively recruiter into the RUF by Oliver Varney in Grand Cape Mount County in June of 1991. His mother was able to travel to Bong County and told my Grandfather about how uncle Moses was taken away by Oliver Varney to fight in Sierra Leone! You might not want to believed what this witness have said but you have to think about the time ULIMO controlled western Liberia up to the Guinean border and how long did they controlled those areas.

      So my question to you is that, how was RUF getting arms to continue fighting in Sierra Leone when ULIMO captured all borders entry of Sierra Leone with Liberia? How many years were ULIMO controlled of those borders entries?

    4. MSteage,
      Even in Sam Bockarie’s Salute Report to Foday Sankoh he mentioned that he was buying arms from ULIMO.

  10. Noko4,

    Please let us keep our eye on the trial. Alpha who is the moderator of this site opinion on Tejan Kabbah is not important. What is important is that all people see that Charles Taylor has been wrongly charged and there can be no other verdict besides Not Guilty.

  11. Wow, Noko4,
    You guys never seem to amaze me with my logic. Call the prosecution and give them evidence? I’m not sure if you’re trying to be sarcastic or, condesending or what, but yalls response keep getting stranger, and weirder; one person requested me to “prevail” upon Ellen and the other to “produce” evidence to prove my opinion. As soon as you all start “producing” evidence to prove that Taylor is innocent, let me know and share it with the defense and maybe then I can start “producing” evidence to support the prosecutors…..until then STICK TO THE TRAIL….The only thing that is being discussed and or shared here are or opinions…………not evidence, or our personal lives; Let’s leavethe evidence presentation to the prosecutors and defense team…….how does that sound?

    1. Ms Teage,
      You are claiming the defense witnesses are LIEING…so again, if you got FACTUAL FACTS, submit them is all I am saying.

  12. Tracey,
    I was just really frustrated, because I’ve always expressed my desire for us to focus on the trail, and i thought Noko4 totally crossed the line and was very disrespectful and inappropriate; I’m done with my responses to other reader. I try to ignore it but sometimes it gets too much but I would not want to be the one being a distraction during this trial so I’ll refrain from commenting to other readers and focus on the issue.

Comments are closed.