NPFL Rebels Did Not Mistreat Civilians in Liberia, Witness Says

Reports that Liberian rebel forces loyal to Charles Taylor mistreated civilians during the country’s civil conflict are wrong, said a defense witness for the former Liberian president today at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Karnah Ebward Mineh, a former Liberian rebel commander, said his country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, released in December 2009, incorrectly attributed the highest number of crimes during Liberia’s civil conflict to Mr. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebel group.  Instead, the NPFL treated civilians well in the areas it controlled, and other fighting factions could have been responsible for atrocities attributed to the rebel group, Mr. Mineh said today. 

“Yes, we saved the civilians, we welcomed them to our controlled area,” Mr. Mineh said.

“The records of abuses by the NPFL were really very high during the period that they reigned as a revolutionary group, isn’t that so?” prosecution lawyer, Mohamed Bangura asked the witness, referencing the Liberian TRC report.

“No, it never happened,” the witness responded. “If it did happen, I cannot remember. There were several groups so I cannot give account of all of the groups.”

Prosecutors argue that Mr. Taylor condoned crimes committed by his rebel group in Liberia.  Similarly, they argue, Mr. Taylor knew and approved of atrocities committed by Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels — a group which Mr. Taylor is on trial for allegedly supporting during Sierra Leone’s 11 years civil conflict. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations.

Mr. Mineh also denied reports that Mr. Taylor executed his own NPFL commanders who opposed his reign as NPFL leader. Anthony Menkunagbe, Oliver Varney, Sam Lato and Degbeyee Debon were executed without due process, prosecutors say. Mr. Taylor has denied these claims, saying that these NPFL members conspired to commit treason, were investigated, tried and sentenced to be executed according to the code of military conduct. Today, Mr. Mineh corroborated Mr. Taylor’s account.

“They executed them. After they have investigated them and found guilty, then the tribunal chairman gave an order. He said because they plotted, because they wanted to do evil, so after they were found guilty, they executed them,” Mr. Mineh explained.

Mr. Mineh, who has been testifying in a Liberian traditional language Gio with the use of English translators, finished his testimony today. Defense lawyers indicated they were not prepared to present another witness and would need an adjournment until Thursday when the next witness would be able to testify.  The judges granted the defense request.

No proceedings will take place tomorrow and the trial of Mr. Taylor will resume Thursday.


    1. Well put, Big B! Lol @ if the evidence is invisible, Your honors, the man is innocent! Haha. TELL ‘EM Son, I’m with u!!!

  1. Is this witness serious, this guy is under oath and blalantly lying. Why would you say NPFL rebels did not mistreat the civilians. I think my uncle need to travel to the Hague to show the scars on full-arm and elbows to show how bad those thugs tied him up or should I say “Tiebay” for no reason. This was a man who never in his life work for any Liberian govenment or entities, just a normal meat man in Duala market.

    This trial makes me sick more and more when I listen to these well pay liars. Once again an Indigenous is protecting an Americo-Liberian, makes no sense. One day they hate Americo_Liberians next day they’re protecting Americo-Liberian. They’re so easily persuaded and can be bought for next to nothing.

    This is why we need to strongly educate these people so they’re not at a disadvantage. If not there will always be war in Liberia, we will be like the rest of those countries around the world that have had internal conflicts for over 30 years.

    Last I say NO TO DICTATORS IN AFRICA, NO TO DICTATORS IN AFRICA, NO TO DICTATORS IN AFRICA, becuse they always create a ripe situation for an escaleted civil war. A prime example is LIberia (SKD). Next in line is probably Zimbabwe, when Mugabe is dead or no longer in power, every single tribe will want to name the next leader. Simply because they haven’t been treated fairly.

    1. i think this witness is narrating a well rehearse story by saying that NPFL rebels did not mistreat civilian during the crisis. (ex)civilian were made to carry loads over extremely long distances in the absence of vehicle.
      on the other hand, INPFL, LPC, LNPC, ULIMOJ, ULIMOK, LDF, LURD, AFL, all maltreated civilian.
      even my veryself was made to carry bag of cassava from Rossville to tomatown in Bomi. don’t ask me who did this cause you all know who occupied that area at that time.



      1. Mike,
        Here’re the man’s words…..“No, it never happened,” the witness responded. “If it did happen, I cannot remember. There were several groups so I cannot give account of all of the groups.”

        He said NOT in his area…he didn’t say civilian were treated nice.

    2. John Thompson,

      I shared in your disgust and insensitivity of these defense witnesses and their total disregard for any iota of truth. We are aware that this trial is on Sierra Leone and a specified timeframe, but for these guys to deny these very obvious facts; is very sad. These guys displayed skulls and intestines as badges of honor at their check points. I was displaced from Duport Road to Fendel for three months in 1990. All along that route via Soul clinic were decaying bodies, skulls and intestines at NPFL checkpoints and anyone dare mention any disgust of the scent were made to in most cases kiss the corpses. I personally witnessed summary executions of people without investigations. Civilians were beaten, tied (tiebay) and killed very easily. These witnesses and Taylor disgust me for their callous attitude and disrespect for human lives and the inhumane sufferings they metted out to the citizens of Sierra and Liberia. This behavoir is the reason forgiveness is going to be difficult to archieve. MISTREATING CIVILIANS WAS WHAT NPFL AND TAYLOR SPECIALIZED IN. I lost seven family members at the hands of Taylor’s NPFL and lost my father while in exile and up to today’s date, don’t even know where he is buried. So for these guys to say these lies is angering me and i believe in forgiveness but provided you admit your wrongdoings and seek forgiveness.

      1. Nossirah, I deeply share your anger, expecially when the narations,and denials of the defense witnesses of facts seems not only laughable, but heartless. This is why I believe that most likly, taylors witnesses were supporters of taylor at one point, and secondly, they may have participated fully in commiting these crimes, or never lost family members, and therefore care less for those who lost love ones since they benefited from the war. You’re right, these guys deserve no forgiveness and next time no mercy should be shown! If Liberia sets up a tribunal, there should be no mercy and examples must be set in hunting down all who participated, and have gone on boasting just to add insults to injuries of those affected deeply. I share your views and I have always expressed same, regardless of wether we unmask these criminals or not!

    3. With the beginning of Mr. Zimmy testimony, I know this trial is ready making you sick now.

    4. Jose Rodriguez,

      Please come back on this site. When the cat is away, the mice will play. John Thompson, Fallah, Noko7 turn Davenport, Morris Kannah, and the few of the anti Taylor are coming out of their shell with their usual lines. As a typical Liberian man will say, come back ooooh Jose Rodriguez. We want to hear you. We want to hear more from you. We want more of it.We miss you. What is going on Jose? I join the chorus of Grebo, V-man, Noko5, Andrew Jlay, Harris K. Johnson, and the rest of true justice seekers to read more posts from you. Please Jose!!!!!

      1. Do not forget most people here will “disappear” before the cock crows three times! Britain and Us are listening and as the result, some have decided to take cautions because they are not happy to have gotten political asylum in those nations, but to melt in the taylor support politics on top of that. they go see something kputu! Just speaking the Liberian way to send the message clear!

  2. John,
    Non of the defense’s witnesses are PAID….they came on their own FREE WILL. Unlike the prosecutors’.

    The area in which your uncle was mistreated was NEVER EVER controlled by Mr. Taylor. UNLIMO and INPFL(Prince Johnson). No, I am not saying civilians were not mistreated but your example is DEAD WRONG.

    1. There are different methods of payment. At least the the prosecution method of payment is transparent.

      1. Timothy, what are the different measure of payments? So you agree that the prosecution witnesses were paid to lie? Look, let Taylor go. We Liberians need a real leader, and Mr. Taylor is a real leader. There is no case here against this innocent man. FREE CHARLES GHANKAY TAYTLOR.

    Apparently, this witness would have us believe that the TRC report has falsely accused the NPFL of committing the most atrocities during the Liberian civil war. NPFL did not summarily execute civilians? There were no skulls and intestines displayed at checkpoints? Oh the lies of taylor and his stooges!! They never saw this day of reckoning coming when they would be made to answer for their atrocities against innocent civilians. But that time has arrived!!!
    I have seen some people shout “acquit” but i would have them heed the words of Francis Beacon: “If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.” Taylor and his NPFL marauders did not extend the hand of justice to way too many people, and what irony to see him seek to be cloaked in the embrace of justice, but justice shuns such a person…

    1. shakazulu,
      So are you saying in a nutshell that even though this trial is supposed to be about Sierra Leone in defacto we are trying Mr. Taylor for crimes in Liberia ?

      1. My dear brother(sis) Aki,
        I am not in any way insinuating here that this is some defacto persecution of Taylor for war crimes in Liberia under the cloak of a war crimes trial for Sierra Leone.
        The issue here is, whether or not we agree with the persecution’s line of argument, that the RUF under the directive and guidance of Taylor and his depraved NPFL underlings committed the same depraved atrocities in Sierra Leone that they had carried out in Liberia. To substantiate their argument, the prosecution has been questioning witnesses about inhumane acts that were carried out in Liberia and replicated in Sierra Leone.
        The witness may deny that such a connection or “guiding” from the NPFL to the RUF existed, but to attempt to do so by denying that these acts/crimes were committed by the NPFL in Liberia is so repugnant, and as far as I’m concerned, desecrating to all those innocent victims that suffered at the hands of the NPFL, that I refuse to sit by and let such a denial stand without responding.
        The NPFL rebels used to say: “a dead person has no voice.” But they were so wrong! There are many of us, who survived the NPFL’s senseless destruction of lives only by the grace of God, who will be the voices of the dead!!!

        1. SHAKAZULU, Charles Taylor was NEVER in the Command and Control Structure of the RUF. However, crimes committed by the RUF was NEVER under the directive and guidance of the RUF. So the prosecutors line of questioning is based on false premise with malicious intent to create a fake scenarion with the true intent to deceive. However, What happen in Sierra Leone like the amputation of limbs and arms were never the trademark of the NPFL in Liberia and it did not happen in Liberia. So how can you say what you are saying? Apart from that, Charles Taylor was overwhelmingly voted for by the Liberian people. In contrast, Foday Sankor was rejected by the electorates of S.L. While at the same time his followers were engagaed in the cutting off of their own people arms and legs. You see, this trial has helped to exposed the biased approach of the international community. IT ALSO EXPOSES THE MORAL DEFENSES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND AT THE SAME TIME WORKING ON THEIR CONSCIENCE. THERE IS NO CASE AGAINST THIS INNOCENT MAN. Before I close this post, I remember one of the posters on this site, I think it was King Gray (stand corrected) said the international community has two options here. 1: FREE CHARLES TAYLOR BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF EVIDENCE. 2: CREATE A WAR CRIMES COURT IN LIBERIA IF THEY REALLY WANT TO GET TAYLOR AT ALL COSTS AND GRAB ELLEN THEIR HAND PICK, AND ALL THE RESTS.

  4. Noko4

    From reading your response to my posting you must not comprehend, I never once mention were my uncle was mistreated you assumed he was mistreated in Duala because I said he was a meat man in Duala market (Control by ULIMO in 1990). If you would like to know where he was mistreated, the incident took place in LOFA coounty, when my family left Monrovia after Doe was executed due to the escaleted bombings and shelling of the Duala and Caldwell juntion area(Prince Johnson base).

    So please do me and everyone a favor who lost love ones and where mistreated by Taylor’s NPFL during the war, do not assume things, ask questions before you speak/write and next time please try to comprehend what the next person is saying before you start saying someone is DEAD WRONG. Turn out YOU are WRONG, but no DEAD WRONG just ARROANCE WRONG.

  5. I’m so disgusted,
    I’m not sure who this witnesses or any Taylorist is trying to fool or lie to but this witness defintely lied under oath.
    I saw NPFL murder a family because they were Krahn at the duport Rd fountain, I saw NPFL rebels kick a woman in the head to death because she was Krahn, I’ve seen NPFL beat my two older brothers, I’ve seen NPFL carrying a decapitated man in brown pants on cuttington campus, as a matter of fact Charles Ghankay Taylor use to drive a black box mercedes truck with a human skull on the front, that is how we use to identify his truck when we we were younger.

    These lying witnesses need to stick to Sierra Leone, because when start making such bold and FALSE statements, its like a slap in the face to all Liberians who went through hell and all of us who have lost family at the hands of the very murderous and derranged NPFL…….

    And I could care less if any Taylorist believe me or not I know what I saw and what I personally experience…..
    This post got me so angry…..
    These men will say whatever to get this criminal Taylor out of jail, including lying under oath.
    NPFL killed, tortured and raped thousands of Liberians and so did ULIMO J, LPC, and all the other idiots…..
    The crazy thing is there is video evidence and documentations of these acts by many journalist and human rights group. And NPFL fighters were stupid enough to let cameras and journalist follow them. Check out Chris Hondros’s photos and youtube’s “journeymans pictures’ page to see a few of what NPFL did in Liberia.

    Lies Lies all Lies!!!

    1. Dear Amax2020 — good to hear from you. I received a comment on May 6 at 5:19pm from you but alas I cannot post it as it directs comments at another reader. If you can reforumlate or remove the comments which focus on another issue, and just keep them to the issues at hand and your perception/experience of them rather than making assertions about the veracity of another readers’ statements, I would be happy to post. You can read our policy for comments here:

      Let me know if you need me to email your comment to you — happy to do so. Once you resubmit in accordance with our policy, I can publish it asap.


      1. Tracey,
        I do not feel the need to reformulate my comments. You allow comments that stir toward hate of others, which has nothing to do with this trial. When some of the posters ignorant ranting is confront then your so-called policies are broken. If you do not want to post my comment then that is your right I have no problem with it.

        John Thompson comment, “This trial makes me sick more and more when I listen to these well pay liars. Once again an Indigenous is protecting an Americo-Liberian, makes no sense. One day they hate Americo_Liberians next day they are protecting Americo-Liberian. They’re so easily persuaded and can be bought for next to nothing.”

        1. Hi Ken — I do understand your frustration. The policy is a difficult one but we have to draw the line somewhere — we have drawn the line at directing comments towards other readers specifically and individually by singling them out by name. My main point is: let’s focus on the trial and not each other. It is really the only way that I see that we can continue to have a substantive exchange and not get too diverted from the issues we are all here to discuss.

          Please know I remain happy to post any comment of yours or other readers as long as it complies with our comments policy — we’ve been transparent about what our parameters are, and I very much value readers’ efforts to help us enforce it. I also value your efforts to point out times when you think I have it wrong — it certainly makes me reflect on what I am doing, even if I don’t always change my decisions.

          Thanks again Ken — and please do consider reposting!

        2. Ken,
          I think the policy is for people perceive as Mr. Taylor supporters. I have realized that the playing field is not level here, and I’m contemplating on backing off from commenting on this site. You already see the gap between my posts now a day. I’m going away slowly, but sure.


          Harris K Johnson

          1. Dear Harris,

            I’m very sorry to hear that is how you perceive this site. You have been with us for so long and have been one of the mainstays in our conversation here. In terms of our policy on the site, I can assure you that I make no distinction between supporters and non-supporters. The issue is whether comments fit our policy. Both Alpha and I know that our role here has to be fair and balanced or else we lose our credibility as impartial and independent monitors — for that reason alone (though there are many others, including in relation to free speech, which we want to promote within our bounds here) we know it would be crazy of us to begin to take sides among the discussion here. We simply want to keep the discussion within the limitations on free speech that are legally placed on us (and which we set out in our policy) and to keep this site as one where people are not personally attacked, but know they can come here to speak their minds. If you ask other readers, who may be perceived as not being Taylor supporters whether they also have had to reforumate their comments and reports, I think you will find that the answer is yes.

            The long and the short of it is this: we very much enjoy you being part of the conversation. For me personally, I have expereinced you as being kind and understanding whenever there have been challenges with posts or other issues that have come up about the operation of this site. For both your contribution to the debate and because we see you as a regular and important part of the community that has developed here, we would hate to lose you from this site. Your view is as important as anyone elses and we want to help you reflect it here.

            I hope you will consider staying with us.


          2. Tracey and Fallah,

            Thanks for your comments. Let’s see how things will be from now on, I might reconsider my decision to stay. I must admit that Tracey has addressed my concern adequately.


            Harris K Johnson

          3. Wish you the best Harry K. Johnson, but we cannot change the rules here. you are not the only person whose posting did not meet requirements on this blog. It seems you are loosing the fight here. As for me, I am here to stay..sunshine or not! Taylor is the focus here, my Brother Johnson!

        3. Ken,

          This woman is biased. This day is my very first time commenting on this site. Tracey is very biased and prejudicial against Mr. Taylor and countered views of the prosecution.

          You guys are wasting your time in reminding Tracey of the obviouse. Tracey will not change. Tracey is working for her pay check. Let me say this. The reason why you guys could not possibly determined her biases at the beginning of the trial when you guys started writing, is because she thought the prosecution had a water and air tight case. As the result, she could not expose herself. Now the case is at the end and she has realized that there is no more evidence the prosecutors have to convince the world about this innocent man guilt and they are thereby losing the case. Therefore, she has returned to her roots of silencing you guys and promoting the prosecution and its supporters side. Do you remember the Mia Farrow and Naomi Campbell “Blood Diamond” Story? do you see how she promoted the story by providing more websites? I remember Jose Rodriguez tried to corner her on the issue of Blood Diamond by demanding her to post the real website of those countries, foreign diamond companies, mercenaries, and the white people that took the Sierra Leoneans diamonds. She said she didn’t know what he was talking about. Fortunately, He posted it for us and Tracey. Tracey will not change, that is the bottomline.

          1. HI Randy — sorry to hear that is what you think, but I am glad you raised your thoughts here. I’m happy to discuss any issues where you think there is bias by myself or by Alpha on this site.

    2. I am deeply sorry for you pain and loss. The testimony is insulting to anyone with an iota of common sense.

    3. Ms Teage,
      can you tell us when during the war you have discribed charles taylor driving a “Truck”? here is your quote from above “as a matter of fact Charles Ghankay Taylor use to drive a black box mercedes truck with a human skull on the front, that is how we use to identify his truck when we we were younger. ”

      Please point us to anytime during the war they Charles Taylor “drove a TRUCK”. Please remember that you were not the only one that was in Liberia or even in NPFL held territory during the war.

  6. This is how Charles Taylor, and his defense has operated since the first day of this trial, Lies,denial & contradictions has continue to be the order of the day most of which has been exposed by this prosecusion team, what Taylor and his team are failing to relised is these judges are not that stupid, and behaviors such as these never clears any defendent in trial such as these. remember this is not a double jeopardy trial, even the prosecusion has a right to an appeal, and if CT”S supported think that this is going their way,than let them asked Mr. Griffith ( CT lead defence Czar) who admitted on this site that he was afraid and did not trust the appeal chamber in this trial, simply because of their records with the RUF case. so its too early to smile, this ma CT has lied, contradict, and mislead justice and he will pay.QUILTY it is….

  7. “Yes, we save civilians,” says this witness.

    Who were the over 350 thousands Liberians that were killed?

    Some of these guys need to be indicted for war crimes…and just not CT alone.


  8. What a shame on this witness. Everybody this time around knows that this witness is lying. Even Taylor did admit in his testimonies about NPFL rebels mistreating civilians. All the NOKO 4s and etc. knows that this witness is not telling the truth.

    There are thousands of scars around Liberia to prove this fact. Every family member in Liberia that was behind NPFL lines were affected by mistreatment by these rebels. Do you remember the songs from the rebels:


    Brother stop lying in GIO or probably shut up. Look what Taylor did to the people of Nimba. Kill all of your brains, Jackson Doe, Sam Dokie and etc.

  9. This witness, I think enjoyed Charles Taylor’s murder campaign so much that he did not think that his fellow men (civilians) were brutally malhandled in their hands. I wonder any of his family members did not experience the bitter pills of Charles Taylor’s war!

    However, the time will tell. We are knowing them by their fruits.

    1. Jikagoe,
      Sound as this witness family members did experience the bitter pills of Doe’s war.

  10. Friends,

    This kind of “Taylor was an angel,” the NPFL was our savior,” the NPFL did not kill a single Liberian” and “I did not see a single skull at NPFL gates” testimonies are becoming upsetting and contemptible to many including those individuals victimized by Taylor’s war for self-empowerment. If Taylor and his NPFL were angelic, clean, nice, flag weaving rebels as depicted, how come over 350 thousands died? How did the country get to where it was in 2003?

    These troubling claims will ultimately hurt the credibility of these witnesses and could potentially set Taylor on the irreparable, irreversible path to a culpability judgment.


  11. I really do not see how John Thompson’s comments on Indigenous Liberians vs Americo Liberians relations where one day it appears cuzy and next moment muddy, is offensive. Apparently, the taylor Liberation slogan, initially was really meant differently to typical indigenous Liberians who were not as ignorant as Mineh appears. Mineh seems to be a “yes Sir” type under the type of taylor kinds. He is typical illitrate man who cannot speak nor write English Language, much more to know the History of the relationship between the two sets of people of Liberia. This is why I personally admonished some of you at the beginning that all our conversations here should be very cautious and mindful of igniting fresh fight! A Hint To A Wise Is Sufficient!

  12. Friends and seekers of justice for our love ones,
    Why are you shock at these known murders now masquerading as defend witnesses lying under oath? A man who murdered so many innocent persons including babies in the wombs of their mothers and yet has no remorse of conscience is a despicable being. Lying under oath to free his master criminal is his nature and should comes as no surprise.
    To a murderer lying is a child’s play.

  13. I must admit first, I might not be acute in my judgment about the Liberian civil that lasted for 14-year. But one thing I am certainly sure of is, “war doesn’t have a border” meaning once a group of citizens have chosen anarchy; they have selectively planned to put everyone in a pot for blending. Every citizen enjoys the amenity of an established government, so when it reaches bitterness, everyone must have a share. So, if a war reaches its peak, civilians will be directly incorporated to help better up the country once again.

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