Charles Taylor Invited RUF Rebels To Visit Liberia In 1995 But Not For Military Advice, Witness Says

Charles Taylor invited Sierra Leonean rebels to visit his rebel headquarters in Liberia in 1995, but not to give them military advice, Mr. Taylor’s defense witness told Special Court for Sierra Leone judges today in The Hague.

Fayia Musa said that in 1995, Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels received an invitation from Mr. Taylor to visit his National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) headquarters at Gbarngha in Liberia. Mr. Musa, a former RUF rebel humself, said that the group’s leader Foday Sankoh initially turned down the invitation, but at the behest of several senior RUF commanders, Mr. Sankoh allowed the RUF to visit the former Liberian president. Many RUF commanders, including the witness himself, were enthusiastic about the visit, Mr. Musa said.  He said that prior to the visit, the RUF did not know why Mr. Taylor had invited the RUF delegation to Liberia. This raised a question from the Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber, Justice Julia Sebutinde, about why the rebel forces were enthusiastic about visiting Mr. Taylor.

“You didn’t even know the reason why Taylor had invited you. Why were you bending over backwards to go against the will of your leader to visit someone that hadn’t stated the purpose?” Justice Sebutinde asked the witness.

“Well, we knew that he would not invite us into security problem at all. We also knew that he was his friend,” Mr. Musa responded.

Prosecution counsel, Nicholas Koumjian, sought to know what the RUF hoped to achieve from the visit.

“What did you hope to gain out of going to Gbarngha?” Mr. Koumjian asked.

“We did not know what we were going to get. First of all, we never knew Charles Taylor before. So one of the reasons why I wanted to go there was to see him, for the first time in my life,” the witness said.

“Secondly, I wanted to see what actually he called us for, come what may,” he added.

Asked by Mr. Koumjian whether they were “hoping for military support” from Mr. Taylor, the witness said “No, we were not hoping for military support at all.”

“In fact, if I knew that it was for military support, I would not go,” Mr. Musa said.

Mr. Musa explained that when they visited Liberia, Mr. Taylor took the RUF delegation to the Ghanaian capital, Accra, for sight-seeing.

This account by Mr. Musa sits in tension with other accounts given by Mr. Taylor and defense witnesses that after the fall-out between the RUF and Mr. Taylor’s own rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) in 1992, Mr. Taylor no longer had any contacts with the RUF. It will be left with the judges to determine the weight to attach to any account given by specific witnesses.

Also in his cross-examination today, Mr. Musa told the court that reports that the RUF held civilians as hostages are false. He said that all civilians who stayed in RUF-controlled territory did so willingly because of reports that suspected rebels or RUF associates were being killed in Freetown and Guinea.

“The civilians decided to stay, they were not held hostage by the RUF. They were held hostage by the fear of being killed either in Guinea or in Freetown.” Mr. Musa said.

“I am not defending the RUF.  A lot of things went wrong but that was the reality on the ground there. They stayed there on their own,” he added.

Mr. Musa denied prosecution suggestions that the civilians were not free to leave RUF territ0ry.

Mr. Musa, a Sierra Leonean national, served as spokesperson and Agricultural Officer for the RUF during the country’s 11 years conflict. His cross-examination continues tomorrow.


  1. In 1995 the RUF was invited by the Mr. Taylor and they were subsequently taken to the capital of Ghana, Accra for a site seeing, so said Mr. Musa. This is a period when Mr. Taylor had seized contact with the RUF and when he was not even the president of Liberia neither the so call appointed mediator. What is been underscored here by Mr. Musa ? What ever the purpose of his assertions are, i believe it best play in favor of a guilty verdict for Mr. Taylor. Whether you are finding past inconsistencies to sell to the Judges, i think it does not hold water. Our power prayers that brought Mr. Taylor to Justice will continue to bug you till you unknowingly confess out the truth.
    Well, that could be just the crest of the drink because , like i told people initially on this site , in 1998 and 1999 i saw Gibril Massaquoi(former RUF Spokesman) and an entourage of RUF rebels in Congo Town, specifically in a lodge that Mr. Taylor then kept as a guest house. He probably has a lot to tell the world . We do not care how long the defense take to testify to prolong Mr. Taylor’s fate because the more they explain their case the more evidences we shall be uncovering.

  2. Keep talking,fayia musa, for the truth is not far from coming out of both corners of your twisted mouth! Now you were guest of honor, visiting taylor’s head quarters in Gbarnga, Liberia, in 1995 when, in fact you and your conscience had previously said; there were no contacts by RUF with Taylorafter 1992! What a recyled lies you craftly rehersed before coming on stage, but now getting hounted by all the ghosts of crying infants, women wailing from tortures and gangrapes of little girls and boys by you and your NPFL colaborators! You will suffer mentally for all you have told the world, knowing fully well that this is efforts to save the MONSTER! You are all guilty and Sierra Leoneans should consider putting you on trial some day!

    1. J. Fallah Menjor,

      Mr. Musa a Sierra Leonean runs an NGO in Liberia to help the poor. My question is what have you done to help the poor of Liberia and Sierra Leone ?

      1. Aki, I think my help to the Liberian and Sierra leone people is the fact that I stand here to advocate for all victims of the senseless criminal enterprises taylor entered into with RUF and seeking justice for them is more than one like you who seems to be only interested in what profitable enterprise to enter into in Liberia wth pretense of carrying development . What a shame for you to question anyone of what they have done for Liberia or Sierra Leone on this site. Your records on this site and jfallahmenjor’s can attest to the facts! Good try, AKI.

  3. This is interesting.

    The witness said: “In fact, if I knew that it was for military support, I would not go [to meet with Charles Taylor in Liberia].” This was in response to a cross on the motive for their trip to Charles Taylor’s Liberia. Was the RUF manufacturing weapon to decline offer of weapon supply from external sources like CT? Is it normal in a military situation (especially a civil war) for rebels not to want generous supply of weapons and ammos from a comrade in arms? This is another unbelievable blunder!

    These guys are throwing words all over the place…they are raising more questions and putting many holes in their testimonies.


    1. Davenport,
      Please remember that in 1995 Musa Fayia was one of a few leaders of the RUF that wanted peace. He has stated in court that he was disgruntled with Foday Sankoh for stalling the peace process.

      1. Aki,


        From whose lips this revelation of disgruntlement came – Musa’s or another person? Musa’s right? Has another defense witness corroborated his claim? Was it documented in 1995 that Musa was favorably disposed to peace while his leader, Sankoh, made that peace elusive? Just because he said it does that make it convincing? Does that make it a valid claim? For me the current issue at stake is believability.

        I believe is not uncommon for the defense to select and coach somebody to testify in a way that it ‘sounds too good to be true.’


        1. Davenport,
          Fayia Musa and a few other RUF members removed Foday Sankoh as leader of the RUF because he was stalling the peace process. For this he was almost killed. I think the judges will believe what he has to say.

  4. Fayia Musa’s relationship with Musa Cisse is not a new/fresh testimony from this witness. remember that the letter admitted into evidence, written by Fayia Musa to Charles Taylor Thanking him for his various interaction with the RUF in connection with the peace process in SL was a defense exhibit produced during the testimony of Mr Taylor. so its not new that Mr Taylor was interacting with the RUF during this time. the issue is whether his interaction with them was in furtherance of the war effort or it was in a bid to secure peace.

    1. Sam,
      This is the point that needs to be underscored to Fallah and Davenport. They keep grabbing for straws.

  5. What is the score today?
    It is high time Taylor’s supporters stop misleading themselves and face the hard fact that their Papay’s doom is sealed.
    Even in mirror, one can only see what he want to see and people are more likely to believe what they wish to be true . So we are not surprise for dire-hard supporters of this henious murderer to believe that their man is winning this case but it is becoming clearer by the day that Taylor is fighting a losing battle.
    When people are cornered by the truth from which there is no escape there is on limit to the absurdity that people can come up with. If not, why will anyone in his sound mind compare Taylor with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or even attempt to draw an analogy between the election of Obama with those of this common criminal.
    No matter the brilliancy of Taylor’s lawyers and all Taylor attempts at destroying key evidence, there is just no way Taylor can go free. It is just completely against common sense and the laws of nature to be responsible for so much murder, rape, looting and suffering and yet go free. That just can not happen.

  6. Folks,

    This guy is cracking under cross from the persecution and even a cave man can see this. If Taylor’s freedom depends on this particular witness, than Taylor is doomed.


  7. Tracey and Alpha,

    A legal and hypothetical question: If Taylor is found guilty by this court on all or some counts, what prison term is the persecution seeking?

    Another legal and hypothetical question: If a guilty verdict is announced in this case, which court can the defense appeal to – the same court under the same panel of judges?


    1. Hi Davenport — I don’t think the prosecution has made a recommendation for a prison term yet – I think that would happen in the sentencing hearing should the case get that far. Such a hearing happens after the trial chamber hands down a decision of a guilty verdict (and of course, we dohn’t know yet what they will decide). But you can see the procedure at Rule 100 here:

      If there is a guilty verdict by these trial judges — or a verdict of not-guilty — either side can appeal to the Appeals Chamber of the same court. They will then hear the appeal and make the final decision.

      Hope that helps!

  8. With all due sympathy for the people of Sierra Leone, I will like to state here that in my opinion Charles Taylor and a host of other Liberians should be tried for crimes committed in Liberia and not Sierra Leone. I am sure that Mr. Taylor may have played a part at one point or another in Sierra Leone but not to bear the greatest responsibility for what happened in Sierra Leone, I will say that is not right. I believe Foday Sankor and his men should bear full responsibility for what happened in their Country and Charles Taylor and his fighters bear the responsibilities for what happened in Liberia. Even the marks of the war in Sierra Leone which was marred with mass amputations were not practiced in Liberia. That alone is evidence that whomever directed the warfare in Sierra Leone was different from the rebel command structure in Liberia.

    1. You can’t say it any better than that brother. This is the position of many of us making comments here but we are called rebels and supporters of Mr. Taylor. Today where are the Memebers of the STF who help the RUF to distroyed Sierra Leone? This group were Liberians Soldiers ( AFL) hired by the government of Sierra Leone and was controlled by Kabbah as well!

      But it has so happened that all Liberians national fighting in Sierra Leone were sent by Mr. Taylor which we all know is not true. There Sierra Leoneans with Liberian parents who were fighting in Sierra Leone but they were consider Liberian they could speak like Liberian

  9. VEM,
    You can’t pick and choose which of the testimony is true and which ones are false by Musa Fayia. Frankly I think Mr. Taylor meant that he had no more military contact with the RUF after 1992. I also believe Mr. Fayia is telling the truth that he met with Mr. Taylor in Gbarnga in 1995. However the crux of the testimony was that after 1992 there was no military assistance from Mr. Taylor which corroborates other defense witness testimony. This evidence devastates the prosecutions case becasue the indictment is about trading weapons for diamonds and master control of the RUF.

  10. J. fallah menjor,
    Correct me if I am wrong but is not the issue here is the connect and contact of Foday Sankoh to Mr. Taylor after 1992?

  11. Gentlemen, let’s face reality, Taylor today is sitting in the Hauge only because he didn’t do
    what the American government that took him out of jail in the U.S wanted him to do. But let
    no one make any misstake in thinking that the Liberian people are fools. We are not fools. And those
    guys setting in the U.S should know this today. This Taylor case will give birth to a bigger case
    that will take the U.S government to cuort in their own back yard. This is no joke I know the U.S
    government can never win such case even in their own courts. take my words for it. All we are saying here today about Taylor’s involvement in Sierra Loene would not have happed if he wasn’t free from
    jail and sent to Liberia to start a war, can’t you guys get it? This is simple. Now make no misstake to
    think i am Taylor’s suporter since I flee Liberia to Ivory Coast from Harper, Maryland County, I have
    been against the war and against Taylor and all those who helped him kill our people. Asked people
    from the south east of Liberia who flee to Tabou in Ivory Coast about the name Saygbechee they know that I have been in opposition since the start of the Untied State led Taylor criminal activities in my Country.

  12. Aki/Ken/Saybechee Norway Weah/& Jocone,
    Stop palying monday morning Quarter backing, which usually comes after the big games on Sundays,Fayia Musa brought this on himself, he testified just last week in his own words and under oath that ” the RUF had no contact with Charles Taylor and his NPFL after 1992.” which CT also testified to, and to hear him say today that he and his RUF were “Very enthusiatic” about their visit to Charles Taylor in his NPFL control area of Gbarngba in 1995, to meet with CT who give them a site seeing tour to Accra.Lies are very hard to cover, and liers are usually Quilty, and CT has chosen to go that rout & GUILTY! it is….

    1. Ziggy Salis,
      Are you positive that Mr. Musa “testified just last week in his own words and under oath that the RUF had no contact with Charles Taylor and his NPFL after 1992?”

    2. Ziggy Salis,
      The same is to you, for the simple fact that, whatever the defense witnesses have said in Mr. Taylor defense have been terms by you guyd as lies! Why is it now that the witness is telling the true? The fact is that all the witnesses are independence therefore, they are testifying base on what they know.
      People being enthusiatic of seeing Mr. Taylor is nothing strange guys. Were you in Liberia when Mr. Taylor was coming to Monrovia for the first time to serve on the council of State? Did you see how enthusiatic Liberians and other national were to see Mr. Taylor comes to Monrovia?
      just to correct or remind you that the charges against Mr. Taylor is dated from 1996 to 2003.. but I will say from August 1997 to 2003 because in 1996, Mr. Taylor wasn’t President of Liberia yet; therefore, he didn’t have control of the Liberian- Sierra Leonean border instead ULIMO did! So charging him from 1996 to 2003 doesn’t make any sense what so ever! So think about it… I know you will just go with wind since you’re not able to go against it!
      My question to you is, why didn’t they charge Mr. Taylor for what happened in Sierra Leone from March of 1991 to 2003? I will appreciate your honest answer because this is a simple question that is difficult for you guys to answer.

      The witness have said that they were invited to Gbarngba in 1995 and they were taken to the Ghanaian Capital of Accra for sight-seeing! Now by this time Mr. Taylor were base in Monrovia ( I stand corrected); did the prosecution ask the witness what this sight- seeing visit were purposely about? I don’t think so! Was the sight seeing visit for peaceful means?
      None of you care to know; therefore, you just prove my point that you guys don’t believe in true Justice…. plane and simple. Oh by the way, Ghana wasn’t under NPFL control for them to just go there without a reason!
      Now, the same witness your say is lying, is the same witness you say is telling the truth….. So where do your stand? Your seems to be all over the place!

      1. I tend to side with the prosecution, but I also echo your question regarding the purpose of the sight-seeing trip in Ghana. To me, it sounds like a setup for a bribe and I don’t understand why the RUF simply went along with it without further exploring Mr. Taylor’s intentions.

    1. Hi Ziggy — actually just a problem with the date sign — it should be fixed now. THanks for noticing!

  13. Ok true or not, this sight seeing trip is just hilarious to me…I can just imagine the pappay and the RUF snapping photos of Osu, Labadi beach, etc. hahahaha i’m laughing so hard here. I mean it could be true, but the whole idea of it is just hilarious.

Comments are closed.