RUF Leader Foday Sankoh’s Intransigence Caused A Delay In Ending The Sierra Leone Conflict, Defense Witness Says

The conflict in Sierra Leone was prolonged because of the intransigence of the country’s rebel leader who did not want a peaceful end to the conflict, a defense witness for Charles Taylor told Special Court for Sierra Leone judges today in The Hague.

Fayia Musa, a Sierra Leonean national and former spokesperson for the country’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group today testified that the conflict in Sierra Leone was prolonged because RUF leader Foday Sankoh was stubborn and he did not want peace in the West African Country. This, he said, caused West African leaders to turn their backs on him. Mr. Musa explained that after the RUF signed a peace agreement with the government of Sierra Leone in November 1996 (dubbed the Abidjan Peace Accord), members of the international community prevailed on RUF leader Mr. Sankoh to respect the terms of the peace agreement but he refused. Because of his intransigence, West African leaders — specifically in Ivory Coast and Nigeria — became frustrated with him, the witness said.

In eliciting testimony about who was responsible for the failure of the peace process after the signing of the Abidjan Peace Accord, lead defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, asked the witness about the response of West African leaders regarding Mr. Sankoh’s commitment to the peace agreement.

“What was your assessment of the feeling of the president of the Ivory Coast, and the president of Nigeria, Sani Abacha, about Sankoh’s sincerity about the peace accord?” Mr. Griffiths asked.

“In fact that is why the Ivorians decided to abandon him because they had known that, they had known very clearly that he was not prepared to respect the accord at all,” Mr. Musa responded. “As for Abacha, he knew that he [Mr. Sankoh] had embarrassed him. He saw that as an embarrassment because he gave his word to him for support, he saw it as foolishness to have encouraged him and politically dangerous also.”

Prosecutors allege that Mr. Taylor provided support to RUF rebels through the supply of arms and ammunition in return for the country’s blood diamonds. They say Mr. Taylor used his influence over the rebels to convince them not to respect the peace agreements that were signed to bring the conflict in Sierra Leone to an end. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations. Mr. Musa today supported Mr. Taylor’s assertion that this was not the case.

After the signing of the Abidjan Peace Agreement in 1996, Mr. Sankoh travelled to Nigeria where he was arrested and incarcerated. He was only released in 1999. In his absence, the leadership of the RUF was in the hands of Sam Bockarie, alias Mosquito, whom prosecutors say had close ties with Mr. Taylor. It has been suggested that it was Mr. Taylor who influenced the decision to appoint Mr. Bockarie as interim leader of the RUF. Mr. Taylor says this is false.

In his testimony today, Mr. Musa told the court that the change of leadership in the RUF was first effected by the RUF delegation to the Abidjan Peace Accord, of which he was a member, after Mr. Sankoh’s arrest in Nigeria in 1997.

“We felt that at that point that then, there and then that the peace process had collapsed, it was time for us to say goodbye to Foday Sankoh in whatever way. We met and we concluded that he should be stripped of his leadership role in the RUF and that I went to Danane and informed Palmer about it, saying since you were military personnel, we can use you to talk to Mosquito and others on the ground to have change of leadership effected,” Mr. Musa explained.

When the RUF delegation returned to RUF territory in Sierra Leone, they were all arrested on the instructions of Mr. Sankoh. The arrest was effected by Mr. Bockarie. It was alleged that the delegation had received a bribe of 100,000 United States dollars to betray Mr. Sankoh, the witness said. All these issues in the RUF, according to the witness, happened without Mr. Taylor’s involvement.

Mr. Musa’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. Wow! Judge Sbutinde…
    A very Educated and articulate african lady. She put Coumjian in his place today…She said he should respect the court and should never, I say, never interrupt the next time she is speaking..My view about this low level lawyer is that, he seemed to be disrespectful to women.. But thank God. Sebutinde is a no nonesence judge…..

    1. Yea, Noko5, that was an instruction from the highest rank of the court but does not in any way alter, obscure or misrepresent the direction of guilt awaiting your papay, Gankay.

      1. VEM,
        It spoke VOLUME!!! I said it from the upset of this case….the white man on the bench will vote GUILTY, the white woman will vote NOT GUILTY and tie breaker will be the black judge and from all indications, she will vote NOT GUILTY. WHY??
        She had a better understanding of Africa plus the evidents just don’t add up.

    2. Hi Noko4 – I received a comment from you on April 17 at 11am which unfortunately I cannot post – the third sentence could be offensive to some readers, particularly women readers. Would you mind reformulating and I would be happy to post. Let me know if you would like me to email it to you.

  2. On the issue of intransigence! A comparative look at Taylor and his brother, Sankoh.

    I will suppose only a few self-empowerment driven individuals masquerading as revolutionaries will voluntarily choose a path other than intransigence. Stubbornness and zero tolerance to sensibleness characterized Taylor’s blood-spattered path to Monrovia…a path that regrettably extended to Sierra Leone this time with the quasi-literate Foday Sankoh taking over the role of drum major and chief crusader enthusiastically heralding the cry for more bloodbath, self-empowerment, and theft of natural resources (i.e., diamonds). They killed, maimed, mutilated, and celebrated their cruelty.

    Like Taylor, Sankoh was ambitious and power starved and like Taylor Sankoh’s personal and political temperament strongly reflected intransigence ‘of the highest order’. To be driven by political ambition and quest for personal socio-economic preeminence as were Taylor and his puppet, Sankoh, and not be intransigent borders on lunacy.

    Tracey, please post this and delete the other.

    1. Davenport,
      Unlike Sankoh Charles Taylor was elected president by over 80% of your fellow Liberians thus making all you said in your above post moot.

      1. Aki,

        A slight correction though. I think it was approximately 75.5% of the votes not over 80% as you claimed (cf Wikipedia and corroborated by other sources).

        The above election result reflects what I addressed few weeks ago :

        • the war inertia or weariness of the Liberian electorate after 6-7 years of inexorable torture and terrorism at the hands of thugs like Taylor, Boley, Jucontee, the AFL, Kromah, Johnson, among other war barons and militias.

        • It came against the backdrop of coercion and threats of war should the NPFL lose the election. I guess in the wake of the horror that seized the population, the population forcibly consoled themselves with the idea that since “Taylor spoiled it” and if we do not elect “him to fix it,” we are in for a far more serious repercussion. I think according to a recent defense witness, it is an unwelcomed decision to live with one of the many “devil[s]” in the Liberian civil war.

        • But it also reflects the psyche of the electorate. “You kill my man, you kill my pa, I’ll vote for you.” What a sad day for logic. Rationality went down the hill!

        • It reflects the high illiteracy of the electorate. Doesn’t it?


        This one, Tracey. Delete the others, please.

        1. Davenport,
          I guess the reason Obama won overwhelmingly was becasue America was tired of war and the population was illiterarte also.

    2. Davenport,
      Stop wasting our time with off the wall tales. Yes they had a goal but they didn’t see path as describe by you. Did Mr. Taylor have a DIAMOND MINE in Liberia?? NO!! In Sierra Leone?? NO!!!

      1. Noko,

        So you think!

        And how very wrong you are!

        Well, thanks for acquiescing with a portion of my claim…I did not expect you to agree with me anyway but you are demonstrating shrewdness and that’s what we need – some type of balanced thinking…agreeing to disagree.


        1. Davenport,
          I have been watching this trial long before it started and I have to hear or see anyone telling us Mr. Taylor had DIAMOND MINE in either country….have you?? If not, then I THINK SO.

      2. Noko,

        A second perspective…

        Remember, this was a rejoinder to Aki’s claim of over 80% win for Taylor. This claim needed prompt correction as well as a critical look at the context and condition that engendered said result. So waste of “your” time? Definitely yes! No doubt! Why? Because this is not the type of analysis, critical reflection, and commentary you might want to hear at this time especially given your ultra sympathetic views of Charles Taylor.


        1. Davenport,
          Charles Taylor was declared the winner when 76% of the votes had been counted in his favor. The final total was alittle over 80%.

        2. Davenport,
          One way to debunk anyone’s figure is to bring in the FACTUAL FACT. There is an Election Commission that has all the results…I say send a request. But until, we are left with his words.

          Stop acting like the prosecutors in this case….ha ha ha

  3. Let us wait and see the end of this case, now the world is seeing what we call witness. I mean witness that will explain and the world can understand how the look like. not witness that will go to explain guesses.

  4. Alex Tweh

    you can say it any better eye witness bro. They say can get those lier anywere. truth alway over come lies.

    Prosecutor thanks for your interesting lies we did no buy it and i am sure the judges did not too



  5. Aki,

    The comparison with president Obama does not match at all. We could compare and contrast other situations but not that of Obama.


  6. Aki,
    What is the anology between Taylor’s election and Obama’s election.
    You seem to have an amazing ability at creating something out of nothing.

    1. MOrris Kanneh,
      The point I am making is simple. You have two popularly people elected as president. They were elected becasue at that time the electorate felt they were best suited for the job. In Mr. Taylor’s case the minute few who didn’t vote for him came up with excuses that Liberia was tired of war that is why the majority voted for him. So my cynical response to Davenport was” is that why the electorate voted for Barack Obama because they were tired of war ? “

  7. Tracey, I admire your patience and the fact you and Alpha have time and again demonstrated the ability of being not only Junalistic in your approach in handling grievances, whinnings, and personal attacks from some on this site, but your leadership abilities in promoting “role modelship” amongt us. Eventhough,what you see here is typical cultural thing usually found among Liberians, there are manority in Liberia that has always stood for fairplay and non-violent approach to issues of concerns. But also, there is vast number of some that possess no concept of rationality, neither do they see things away from their point of views! In fact you find similar attitudes in other cultures, but being a part of these people, I know how we undermine ‘Honesty’ and belief in any ‘moral’ principles, or whasoever! If you follow what I am saying here one would write a Great Thesis on “what Truth means” among primitive Men! Just look at the ritualistic killings, post taylor’s days in Liberia, and the lies similarly from the same peoples. We do not like truth and thus will ever be what we are. There will come another ‘taylor doe’ type that will have more followers than what you see here! This is the “mentality” of typical Liberian thinking. Will you call this being far from “primitive Man?”Not to me, and I am ashamed of this principles we have carried on from generation to generations! This is how we sold our own brothers, sisters, and uncles into slavery to the West we so much pretend to hate today! We live with no civilized principles nor respect for fellow humans! Our hatred is so deeply inbedded that we won’t hesitate to eat the remains of our enemies! LOOK AT US, SHAMELESSLY calling black, white, and blue green! Thank you for your understanding and dealing with our behaviors and threats we pose at times against your positive intentions in rendering services for our own benefit even though we detest such priviledges! This is who we are; insensitive, arrogant, hateful, and cruel individuals! The West does not need to Jail taylor; maybe the world should stand by next time so we can finish up each other! We deserve what we got from taylor and welcome next taylor jr or cronies to come back for some more! Yeah, supporters, get ready for the next war if taylor is found guilty..because it is already in the propaganda machinery!

    1. Dear J Fallah Menjor — I am sorry to hear you feel this way. I actually think that people on the site are simply very engaged, invested and passionate about this trial. It invokes very complex and powerful emotions among people precisely because it is about such big issues: it reminds people of the death of loved ones, the brutality of the war, the concepts of justice and responsibility, evokes people’s fears and hopes for the future, which at times seems uncertain. No wonder people sometimes are emotional on the site, and I can totally understand why they may at times feel frustrated with Alpha and me. We do not take it personally, but we will continue to try to enforce the rules of engagement for this site. We enjoy the multiplicity of voices and perspectives, and the variety of voices on this forum. It is what keeps things so interesting!

      1. Tracey
        Please don’t listen to Fallah. He is trying to gain favores and personal attentions. There’s is notthing he is saying in this dorcea that you don’t know about… That is the old boys school trick. Please let him know that we need to concentrate on the trial. We all know you are doing well . We don’t need his book on that matter…

      2. Tracey,
        Thanks for the very smart answere to FALLAH MENJOR….and now mr. Menjor lets not get distracted from the trial…..Tell me your like about your former president Charles Taylor..

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