NPFL Commanders Formed Black Ghadafa To Fight Against Charles Taylor, Witness Says

Some commanders in Charles Taylor’s Liberian rebel movement formed a renegade group to undermine the revolution and overthrow Mr. Taylor, a defense witness told the Special Court for Sierra Leone today. This testimony sits in tension with prosecution allegations that the Black Ghadafa group was set up by the former Liberian president, who then sent it across the border to help out Sierra Leone’s rebel forces.

Karnah Edward Mineh, a former commander in Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group, told the court about his training at the Libyan revolutionary camp, Tajura, in the late 1980s and his subsequent deployment to fight in Liberia.

His testimony covered an issue which has been a source of much disagreement between Mr. Taylor and prosecutors — the establishment of the renegade group: Black Ghadafa.

Prosecutors have claimed that it was Mr. Taylor who created the Black Ghadafa group and that he sent them to provide support to Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels. Mr. Taylor has told the court that Black Ghadafa was established by commanders in his rebel group who were bent on overthrowing him as NPFL leader. The former president added that members of Black Ghadafa were arrested and investigated and after they confessed that they had established the group to overthrow Mr. Taylor, they were subsequently executed. These NPFL commanders included Oliver Varnie, General Dibong, Anthony Menkunagbe, Timothy Moriba and One-Man One. Prosecutors say that Mr. Taylor executed these men because he did not want to entertain any opposition to his reign as NPFL leader.

Today in court, Mr. Mineh corroborated the former Liberian president’s evidence. According to Mr. Mineh, Mr. Taylor deployed him to the Cape Mount region during the war in Liberia.  There, he said he joined Mr. Varnie, General Dibong and others to fight against United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO) rebels, who were attacking the NPFL from Sierra Leone. The witness explained that while he was the commander at Cape Mount, Mr. Varnie and others started conniving against him and supporting ULIMO rebels to fight against the NPFL.

“Oliver Varnie, Dibong and One-Man-One conspired against me,” Mr. Mineh said.

“All supplies sent to me were given to the enemy. Dibong will send all supplies to the enemy ULIMO and ULIMO began to attack us,” he added.

Asked by defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Mr. Silas Chikera, to explain why the NPFL commanders had given NPFL supplies to ULIMO, the witness explained that “they joined ULIMO and they formed a unit to fight against us.”

“They called the unit Black Ghadafa,” he said.

Explaining that Black Ghadafa and ULIMO were united, Mr. Mineh said that “these people turned against us. They conspired to fight against Mr. Taylor.”

“They were arrested. When they investigated them, they confessed” that they were planning to overthrow Mr. Taylor, according to Mr. Mineh.

Mr. Mineh also told the court that the men who formed Black Ghadafa had asked him to join them and when he refused, they threatened to kill him.

Witnesses have given different accounts about the group called the Black Ghadafa. While some have said that they saw members of the group in the RUF headquarter town of Buedu (Kailahun District, eastern Sierra Leone), other witnesses have said that the group joined the Sierra Leone army and helped fight against the RUF. During Mr. Taylor’s testimony, Mr. Taylor’s lead defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, read a portion of the statement made by former Sierra Leonean president, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, before the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Mr. Kabbah’s statement, he said that the Black Ghadafa was a group formed in Liberia which provided support to the Sierra Leonean army and that many of the group’s members found their way in the country’s security forces.

Also today, Mr. Mineh tried to dispel allegations that the NPFL did not punish its members when they committed crimes against civilians. The witness said that he had no knowledge of the NPFL providing support to the RUF in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Mineh’s testimony continues Monday as the Special Court will not sit tomorrow.


  1. Here is that I article supposedly that I made up about the dutch gentleman who’s appeal was overturn….it just so happen after I made it up BBC picked it up and printed it too.

    1. Ms. Teage,
      If I may ask, what does this overturn appeal of a Dutch man has to do with Sierra Leone, are you stay looking in other places for evidence? Too late….mam.


      Harris K Johnson

      1. Harris,
        I posted this article because as the “blood diamond” theme is something that is central in this case, here comes something about “blood timber”…and the connection is Taylor…i saw it relevant and so I posted it. But if you don’t find it relevant do me a huge favor Sir and simply skip over it and keep the discussion going…..Those who see it relevant or find it to relate to this trail will read it those like who don’t find it relevant should simply keep on keeping on very simple you see……

  2. Karneh Edward Mineh, another insider is here and just incase you are wondering, this man’s brief account on him being persued by members of Black Ghadafa to join them, and when he refused, his life was threatened by them subsequently! Thus, he may have, of course, betrayed them to taylor who did not hesitate to execute them after summarily investigation! You see the connection of each of these witnesses to the defendant, don’t you? What would you expect to come from this guy anyway? I just wish the people of Sierra Leone learn from this trial how twisted the human mind is and for them to beware in future. These are all coached witnesses to say the least! I will reserve further comments until Mineh taylor the 10th completes his tales.

    1. jfallahmenjor,
      Who is lying about the Black Ghadafa group, is it Mr. Kabbah or Perry Mohamed Kamara.

    2. I could have done the same too and could have done same thing as well Fallah! If you do think tat a man should be prosecuted without due process then I don’t know what you would have done to a man who planed to take your life!

  3. davenport,
    Can you please rephrase the tail end of your post of 2010/04/30 at 5:35pm? Once you do, the comment will be posted immediately.

      1. Hi Davenport — your reposted version should be up and published now. Thanks so much!

        1. Many thanks, Tracey.
          My brother, Alpha, had me on hold for a while but I can understand it was the weekend.
          Peace to you and Alpha.

  4. Folks,

    Excerpts from today’s analysis:

    “Also today, Mr. Mineh tried to dispel allegations that the NPFL did not punish its members when they committed crimes against civilians. The witness said that he had no knowledge of the NPFL providing support to the RUF in Sierra Leone.”

    I seriously question this alleged disciplinary stance of the NPLF.
    Is this true? Did the NPFL really discipline its ragtag militias for crimes against civilians? If this is true, then I will argue from statistical reports that had there not been such internal discipline by the NPLF the populations of Liberia and Sierra Leone would have stood on the brink of decimation by 1992. Here is why:The war killed a quarter million people in Liberia and thousands more in Sierra Leone many of which were civilians. Assuming the population of Liberia in the early 1990’s was 3 million, that would mean the NPFL war directly led to the killings of over 10% of the population.

    Should we give the NPFL credit for doing a great job at protecting lives…NO! If this was true, how can we explain the deaths of over a quarter million Liberians and thousands of Sierra Leoneans many of which were civilians? If this was true, how did these folks die? If punishment was used as a deterrent, then given the numbers of those killed we can arrive at one logical conclusion: the NPFL was a vicious war machine. If disciplining NPLF fighters reduced the numbers of civilians killed to over a quarter million, then we were really at the mercy of the NPFL.


    Let’s try this Tracey.

  5. Ms Teage,
    Since you’ve been on this site, you’ve never posted articles that criticize the prosecution. In my opinion you are being bias and are one of those who want to see this man go behind bars. The conspiracy against Mr. Taylor is “Blood Diamond”. It is not working. They are bringing up another by calling it “Blood Timber”. What makes you think that this is relevant for this case? There are a lot of articles out there which exposes the real players of the whole “Blood Diamond”. So I’ll advise that you do more research and play a neutral role.


    1. Marcel Johnson,
      Ill suggest that you respect my opinions……
      The “blood timber” notion was reported by BBC not the prosecutors.
      I am absolutley bias towards the prosecution, I respect the job that they’ve taken on I comment them I appplaud them….
      You’ve done your “research” and you belive Taylor is innocent, I’ve never heard any Taylor supporter speak against the defense team, so I’m not getting you clearly. I have my biases which I came to the blogg with and you and other Taylor supporters certainly do. I’ve come to understand that many people don’t share the same opinion as me and I’ve execpted that…maybe its time you do the same, as much as I “redearch” I will still come to the same conclusion…and that is “I believe Taylor is 100 percent guilty of war crimes all 11 counts in Sierra Leone. But at the end of the day that is my personal opinion and it is just OK for me to share it.

  6. Alpha Sesay please update me on the trial schedule and time looks like am lost on that so missing most of the trial times I have been away


    1. Hi Nii Darku — we haven’t heard from you for a while — welcome back.

      We’ll try to get a hold of the schedule — I know ALpha mentioned to me last week that the schedule seemed to be changing quite often lately. We’ll try to get our hands on the latest one and share it with you when we can.


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