ECOMOG Peacekeepers Were Involved In Business Transactions And I Bought Diesel From Them For The RUF, Witness Says

West African peacekeepers sold diesel supplies to Sierra Leonean rebel forces as they prepared to launch an attack on their country from Liberia in the early 1990s, a defense witness for former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, told the Special Court for Sierra Leone today. 

Isatu Kallon, a Sierra Leonean woman who was based in Liberia when Revolutionary United Front (RUF) forces were preparing to invade Sierra Leone in 1991 has explained how Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeepers did business in Liberia. Mrs. Kallon said she bought a barrel of diesel on behalf RUF rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, from ECOMOG forces in exchange for palm oil. 

“The people that you did business with, who were those people?” asked Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel, Morris Anyah.

“ECOMOG,” the witness said. “There were boats there, in the river, but during the war, all those boats were under ECOMOG.”

“but when you wanted to do business with it, you’ll take a white piece of cloth and wave it, then they would know that you wanted to do business and they will come,” she explained.

“Are you telling the court that ECOMOG was engaged in business, commercial activities in Liberia?” Mr. Anyah asked again.

“yes, we were doing business with them,” the witness said.

Asked whether she had “to pay money for the diesel when you bought it,” the witness said “I did not pay money, I sent palm oil.”

When asked to tell the court what she did with the diesel:  “I gave it to Pa Foday Sankoh.”

Prosecutors have alleged that Charles Taylor was the main source of support for RUF rebels. It is alleged that Mr. Taylor provided support for the rebels while they prepared to invade Sierra Leone in 1991 and that such support continued during the West African country’s 11 year conflict. Mr. Taylor has denied these allegations and, like some of his witnesses, the former Liberian president has accused ECOMOG peacekeepers of being involved in trade of arms and other materials with rebel factions in the West African sub-region.

Today, Mrs. Kallon again spent much of her testimony outlining the support she provided to the RUF forces while they were training in Liberia.  The witness also told the court today that Mr. Sankoh had asked her to start up trade fairs in RUF-controlled territory in Sierra Leone after the group’s invasion of the country. These trade fairs were successful, she added.

Mrs. Kallon’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. At this point, the strategy Defense is attempting to portray through Isatu(witness), seems a way to include others who also traded with RUF during the systematic operation of RUF and NPFL rebels, in preparation to take over the Diamond Fields around Kono District, Sierra Leone. How will anyone believe that because ECOMOG , allegedly, provided a drum of diesel oil to Kallon Isatu, means taylor did not provide any supports to RUF? Even if it is true that some crooks within the ECOMOG forces provided such, does not exonerate taylor from never supporting RUF to fuel the Wars in Sierra Leone, and, thus the destructions of lives that followed. I am suspecious of why Defense has only paraded these semi-illitrate, and total illitrates to testify for taylor. I think it works well for them since Prosecution finds it difficult putting questions to them without first putting it in illitrate grammar, and by which time the concept is lost! How could this so called educated taylor would only feel comfortable dealing with these types of individuals? Did he lack self- confidence, or was it a low self esteem paranoid person.

    1. How??? Because the prosecutors have yet to show us ANY PROOFS…..not HEARSAYS but FACTUAL FACTS/PROOFS. Here is someone who was a player in the game and she is telling us what most know…..ECOMOG sold arms for DIAMOND and MONEY!!!

    2. Fallah,
      I think you are missing the object of this case. It really doesn’t matter who comes to the witness stand. The court only need PROOFS. Prosecution also had the opportunity to the same and they did. Take for example, a CARNIBAL like Zig zag MAZA was brought by them. Besides he being a human eating monster, he is a complete illiterate empty drum. So what the big deal….

  2. Alpha/Tracey,
    today the witness Isatu was noticed physically complaining of neck & shoulder pain during her live testimony as the court was sent into an eary recess, what was that all about and how was it concluded? or was it simply a fake to avoid questions/clarification from the judges?

    1. Hi Ziggy — I’m not sure. Hopefully Alpha will be able to help illuminate the issue for us when he posts.

  3. Apha/Tracy,
    Quote from above: “Mrs. Kallon said she bought a barrel of diesel on behalf RUF rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, from ECOMOG forces in exchange for palm oil.”

    I never heard her say she bought A barrell of diesel (and I stand corrected) it was not just one barrel except Apha has converted the quantity of drums she bought into a barrel. but she said quite clearly that she bought several drums of diesel from ECOMOG and not just one. she even gave an indication of the size of the drums to the court.

    1. Hi Sam — thanks for raising this. Once I get a hold of yesterday’s transcript, we will double check — alas it is not yet up online.

      1. Tracy,
        here is the relevent part of the transcript of 17th June, 2010 concerning the quantity of diesel obtained by the witness from ECOMOG. Starting at Page 42738 line 24:

        Q. Madam Kallon, what amount of diesel did you give to Foday Sankoh?
        A. Five drums.

        Q. Do you know how big one drum is? Can you describe a drum for us?
        A. Well, according to the drum that I know, they will put the diesel in containers. So ten of those containers are put in one drum.

        Q. Using your hands, can you give us an indication of how big a drum is in size?
        A. A drum is – I don’t have a drum close to me, so how do I do that? Those oil containers, ten of those can go into a drum.

        So its clear that it was not just a mere “barrel” of diesel that the witness bought from ECOMOG it was a substantial amount of fuel.

        1. Hi Sam — thanks so much for helping us out on this one. I’ll make sure to correct the report to accurately reflect this amount. I appreciate your effort to make sure we have things correct here.

  4. What some people dont understand is that there are only few people who are alive and willing to say the truth.
    Some of them have died, Sankoh, Bokarie…… etc.
    She is not doing it for Taylor, she is doing it for Sierra Leoneans and the west to know the truth

    1. Mohammad and Noko,

      Well, I guess the truth is the carnage and mayhem this witness and others visited on Liberia and Sierra Leone that saw many peaceful and innocent people going to their early graves.

      The truth lies in the many they maimed and victimized who live with physical, mental, and emotional scars to this day and yearn for justice.

      The truth is personfied and will speak for itself. It will speak for the dead and the living.

      The truth is justice. Justice will prevail and these tall narratives or claims from the likes of this witness will fall apart in the face of justice; these tales and claims will dissipate when truth speaks…when truth cries aloud from the belly of the earth and from the canopy of the heavens, tall tales will wither away and sleep in peace. Yes truth will speak!

      1. Davenport,
        We’re NOT in SUPPORT of the mess but in relationship with the charges . We were told X, Y and Z…here is someone who are a SENIOR PLAYER and she is telling us all what the prosecutors told us were LIES.

        Leave out the emotions and deal with charges and the mandate of this court and you’ll be fine.

      2. Noko 7, this comment of yours looks more like a poem to me it will be good if you will consider publishing it in a book, it will make interesting reading. However in terms of reality can you see that the RUF activities has noting to do with Mr Taylor? because thats what this case is about. the prosecutors are in effect accussing Mr Taylor of doing exactly what this woman is testifying to have done to assist the RUF. so man in relation to the charges in this trial, there is no chance of the prosecution getting a conviction in this case if the justice you crave is going to take place in this court. The defence has raised more than reasonable doubt in the prosecution case. even Ms Hollis will be spending sleepless night contemplating how embarrassing it will be for her sponsors when they loose this case.

  5. What in the world? This trial is still going on? How many more witnesses is he going to call, we already know the verdick, a million witness can not save your @##

    1. Atleast he put up a good fight…and if JUSTICE is what been sought, he should be relaxing in his house in Liberia.

  6. Why Alpha failed to publish this serious testimony by a defense witness? Has Alpha given up on justice and fairness?

    THE WITNESS: The Nigerian name, I don’t know how to call
    it perfectly well.
    Q. Well, just try. General – what was the first name?
    A. It was Mitikishe Maxwell Khobe, but I’m familiar with the
    Maxwell Khobe.
    Q. Now, did that general have an involvement with your group,
    the Special Forces?
    A. Of course.
    Q. What was that?
    A. Well, he came – he flew from Lungi to Base Zero on the
    helicopter, so he met us and he told us that we should wait at
    Base Zero and that we are going to receive special rifles for
    that operation, and that rifle is what we will use for the Black
    December operation.
    Q. So General Maxwell Khobe told you this, yes?
    A. Correct.
    Q. Whilst at Base Zero?
    A. That is correct.
    Q. And where were these special rifles to come from?
    A. Well, we were told it was coming from a British company
    called Sandline through the – because we receive it through
    Rutile, through South Africans, because they were guiding the
    mines. So receive it through from them.

  7. Q. You mentioned that the Liberian delegation were supposed to
    come to Freetown. Is that right?
    A. That’s correct, for the inauguration.
    Q. But their entry was refused unless Sparrow was released?
    A. That’s correct.
    Q. And Sparrow was indeed released?
    A. Yes, he came with the Liberian delegation and he was
    released to the Government of Sierra Leone.
    Q. And who insisted that Sparrow be released as a condition
    for the Liberian group to be allowed into Freetown?
    A. Because —

  8. Q. And, as far as you were aware, who was responsible for
    organising those arms to come in through Sandline?
    A. Well, we were told by the late Sam Hinga Norman that there
    was a deal directly with the British High Commissioner at that
    time, Peter Penfold. In fact, we started calling the rifle
    “Peter Penfold, the Black December rifle”, but we were told to
    stop calling that name.
    Q. And these rifles, what were they?
    A. They were black AK-47 rifles.
    Q. The colour black?
    A. Correct.
    Q. And did you receive those rifles?
    A. Yes.
    Q. Where were you when you received those rifles?
    A. At Base Zero, but the rifles were deposited at Sierra
    Rutile, the mines, so we collected the rifles from the mines to
    Base Zero where it was distributed evenly among the forces.
    Q. How many rifles are we talking about that was provided via
    Sandline organised by the British High Commissioner Peter
    A. The rifles were plenty, because the one we received our own
    unit was 240 rifles, AK-47, and then we were told 40 of those
    rifles were for onward movement because our objective now was
    Tongo. And few of the CDF that were at the location we were
    supposed to move, they didn’t have rifles, so we should
    distribute 40 of that to them so that they will give us access to
    the Tongo Fields.
    Q. Now, were you provided with ammunition for those rifles?
    A. Yes. Every rifle – there was ammunition for every rifle.

  9. Why would a Sierra Leonean woman from the Northern Province of Makeni a place where Foday Sankoh is believed to have come from, come in this court to testify in favor of Charles Taylor a Liberian Leader who is believed to have supported the war that may have probably killed the witness families, friends or nationals? What does she hope to achieve?. I found this witness very courageous and honest. she probably can not accurately remember all that she experienced because of lack of records keeping. It is understood but i believe she is not making up stuff. In my opinion she is credible despite the inconsistencies.

    1. Sasco can you point to the “inconsistencies” you alluded to in your comment? just some examples will do.

      1. She was not sure for instance when the monetary value reimbursed to her whether it was 7000 Guinean france or 70,000 Guinean france after she transacted with the Guinea on behalf of the RUF. The transcript said 70. 000 and she said 7000 Guinean France which prompted the Judge to ask her whether she knows the difference between 7000 and 70, 000 Guinea france. I this she know because she is a business woman but is probably confuse. It is understood.

        1. So Sasco is that an inconsistency? she already told the cour the amount per head which is 50,000 francs now simple aritmatic dictates that 350,000 is the total amount of money she paid for the seven people. mand she informekd the court that she needed to make a profit so she said the told Sankoh that the money was 700 – that was what she said initialy- prompting Justice Lusick to ask if she meant 700,000 and she said yes. apparently the witness was confused when later asked wether it was 700 or 700 thousand and she said 700. that is not an inconsistency.

    2. Sasco,

      When God is with you, he rises stones to fight on your behalf. God is working for Mr. Taylor so please do not be suprised for this woman is not speaking on her own, but of God.


  10. I would like to agree with Noko4, Sam, Helen that there should be living proofs for all those accusing taylor falsely and here is the link for those who have solid proofs PSA:
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and
    Customs Enforcement, Human Rights Violators and War Crimes
    Center is requesting information concerning Liberians who have
    committed human rights abuses in Liberia. The Center is
    particularly interested in information concerning Liberians in
    the United States who have committed murder, torture, rape, or
    have used or recruited child soldiers. The Center is also
    soliciting information from victims or witnesses to human rights
    abuses committed in Liberia. Please contact the Human Rights
    Violators and War Crimes Center at if you have
    information you are willing to share with DHS bring forward:

    1. Menjor,
      A great chance for you and your FACTS to show up…I was not there to tell LIES. This case is about George Bolley….the US is putting him on trial for crimes done in Liberia eventhough he is NOT wanted in Liberia for anything. I found to be very strange…why hasn’t arrest Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf who was part of NPFL in the beginging??

    2. Fallah can you comment on Ms Isatu Kallon’s testimony please? I will like to hear your thoughts on her testimony because she is testifying to carrying out effectively all of what the prosecution has accused my Taylor of doing.

      1. I alredy did, Sam. I am on top of this trial! I am enjoying the facts and revelations put forward by Isatu kallon. She is a very interesting character just like the rest of them on the stand.I only feel sorry for her level of litracy and the advantage, probably, taken of her ignorance by the smart guys defending taylor!

  11. John Thompson,
    If you aready know the verdick of this trial and you don’t see the need for more witnesses to be call, it only tell the fact that this trial is not fair!

  12. Fallah, I think the period the Liberian people used to acquired Greencard or asylum is over. Everybody that wanted some form of status, used Charles Taylor and you should be proud of that. Now go to those people for your human rights reports, all the crimes that Taylor and his men commited against them should still be on file with DHS.

    1. Simeon, as for your claims about some of you who benefited on getting US Greencards because of taylor’s sending you into exile, you are absolutely right, but I was already citizen of the US before Charles taylor’s invasion of Liberia! Now please stick to the trial and the Home Land Security’s request for information on any Liberian living in the US that presumely commited rapes, murders, and recruitment of child soldiers in Liberia civil war started by taylor who stands accused of world crimes at the Hague! This will help bring proofs for this innocent man that the world has conived to judge! I want justice done to taylor just as he did others!

  13. sasco,
    You asked the question ” Why would a Sierra Leonean woman from the Northern Province of Makeni a place where Foday Sankoh is believed to have come from, come in this court to testify in favor of Charles Taylor a Liberian Leader who is believed to have supported the war that may have probably killed the witness families, friends or nationals?”
    The answer is simply for the same reason she engaged in armed trafficking and gun running for the RUF.
    DIRTY LUCRE PERIOD. From this woman testimony, you can see that she is willing to do anything for money.
    My brother, some people can do anything out of the greed for money.

    1. well then you need to provide evidence that she was compromised by her acceptance of monetary inducement from the defence. this will really help the prosecution because Ms Hollis is strugling to get anywhere with her cross examination of Ms Kallon.

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