Sierra Leone And Guinea Helped In The Formation of LURD, Former Fighter Says, And Liberian Woman Claims Phone Number Said To Belong To Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor’s defense lawyers presented two witnesses before Special Court for Sierra Leone judges today.  One, a former fighter in Liberia and Sierra Leone,  told the court that Sierra Leonean and Guinean authorities helped in establishing a rebel group to overthrow Mr. Taylor’s government in Liberia. The next witness, a Liberian business woman, identified a mobile phone number, which according to a 2008 testimony by a prosecution witness belonged to Mr. Taylor. According to the witness, the mobile phone number belongs to her, not Mr. Taylor.

Mr. Taylor’s 15th witness, identified by Pseudonym Number DCT-190, today focused his evidence mainly on the establishment of the rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), a rebel group that attacked Liberia with the aim of overthrowing the government of Mr. Taylor around 1999-2000. According to the witness, Sierra Leonean and Guinean authorities provided assistance through supply of manpower and military equipment for the establishment of LURD. The witness said that Liberians opposed to Mr. Taylor, such as LURD leader Sheku Konneh and his wife Isha , received enormous assistance from former Sierra Leonean Vice President Albert Joe Demby and one time Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) commander and later Chief of Defense Staff of the Sierra Leonean Army, the late Nigerian General Maxwell Kobe.

The witness said that recruited fighters for LURD comprised of disarmed fighters of Sierra Leonean factions the Civil Defense Force (CDF), Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and the West Side Boys.

Recruitment was done mainly among “former CDF combatants, former RUF, and some West Side Boys who were interested in the mission,” the witness said.

When asked by the Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber Justice Julia Sebutinde whether Sierra Leone president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was involved or had knowledge of this exercise, the witness said that “well, I’ll say this clearly, because in the first place, because of international law, no government will come and declare that this is what was happening but they were in the known. The Vice President, Albert Joe Demby, knew very well, General Kobe knew very well.”

“To my knowledge, the presidency was far above me but the Vice President was well in the known, he was involved in all that happened,” the witness added.

The witness explained that the fighters were transported to neighbouring Guinea where the government of the country provided assistance to them through training and provision of arms and ammunition.

Asked by Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths to tell the court who provided all these assistance to LURD, the witness responded that it was “the Guinean government.”

He added that the LURD fighters “were trained by the Gendarmarie.”  This was a unit of the Guinean security apparatus.

Seeking to tie LURD closer to the Guinean authorities, Mr. Griffiths asked the witness, “Could the operation have been launched without the knowledge of the Guinean government?”

“Impossible,” the witness responded.

The witness said when they attacked Liberia proper, “the Guinean Contingent that was based in Bo [Southern Sierra Leone] would transport arms and ammunition to the border and we’ll attack Liberia.” Guinean forces were based in Sierra Leone as part of the West African peacekeeping presence in the country.

Mr. Taylor has long maintained that LURD rebels had external support and their attack on his government was part of an action by foreign powers to bring his government down.

Today, the witness testifying on Mr. Taylor’s behalf told the court that former Special Court for Sierra Leone Chief Prosecutor David Crane, who announced an indictment against Mr. Taylor in 2003, had contacts with LURD rebels even before Liberia was attacked. The witness said he was part of a meeting in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone where they were informed that they should arrest Mr. Taylor and hand him over for trial.

“Mr. Taylor should be arrested, we shouldn’t kill him because they want to try him,” the witness said.

As the witness concluded his direct-examination, prosecutors asked that the cross-examination of the witness be put on hold because the summary of the witness’s testimony that was disclosed by the defense was inadequate and that the witness’s evidence was at variance with the summary disclosed. After a brief recess, the judges ruled that “the summary is not only inadequate, it is grossly inadequate.”

The judges also stated that the witness’s “evidence was at variance with his summary.”

“The  net results of these findings raises more questions than answers,” Justice Subutinde said as she read the ruling.

The judges therefore ordered the immediate disclosure of the witness’s statements and that the cross-examination of the witness be put on hold.

Defense lawyers immediately called their 16th witness, Liberian business woman Aleatha Korto Hoff. The witness’s testimony focused on a mobile telephone number, which a protected prosecution witness in 2008 testified, was Mr. Taylor’s mobile number when he was president of Liberia. According to Mrs. Hoff, she has had this number since August 2001, having been given to her by her brother. The witness said that on a date that she could not remember, she received a call from one John Gray, who told her that her number had been called at Mr. Taylor’s trial as the former president’s number. Mr. Gray subsequently arranged for the witness to meet with Mr. Taylor’s defense lawyers.

On cross-examination, prosecution counsel Nicholas Koumjian questioned the witness about her brother Jenkins Dunbar who served as Minister in Mr. Taylor’s government, her niece Bell Dunbar who was Director of the Liberian Petroleum Refinery Cooperation, and her sister Fanny Dunbar who was Mr. Taylor’s dietician. As prosecutors attempted to present to the witness a list of persons who were alleged close associates to Mr. Taylor that contained the name of the witness’s brother(s), defense lawyers objected on the ground that the list was new evidence and its prejudicial effect outweighed its probative value. The judges reserved their judgement for tomorrow, after which prosecutors will continue the cross-examination of the witness.


  1. I think the decision of the judges to order the disclosure of DCT190’s statements is a fair decision given the scanty nature of the sumary provided by the defence to the prosecution. In the light of the very crucial nature of the evidence of this witness it will be interesting to see how the proseuction will fare during the cross examination. Am sure at this stage the defence will decide to tender the statement of the witness for admission as an exhibit in this case after the cross examination of DCT 190. I reserve my comments about the testimony of Mrs Aleatha Korto Hoff untill she concludes her testimony about the telephone number allegedly belonging to Charles Taylor which turned out to be hers instead.

    1. Sam,
      It is about time the defense be held accountable. This has been their technique all along providing these types of summaries. Discoveries is the burden of the prosecution, but if you as the defense are going to refer to an incident, i think the prosecution should have adequate summary and time to rebut it.

      Gross inadequacy according to the judge wow!!!

  2. I know for a fact that Aleatha Hoff is the owner of this telephone number that the prosecution witness lied about in 2008. I have called Aletha several times on the number.

    1. Aki,
      Telephone numbers do change hands and can be registered to different individuals at different times. By Aleatha having that number now cannot emphatically say Taylor never had it.

      If i may, can i ask what phone company issued that number? And secondly, did Taylor have a principal share in Lone star phone company or any phone company ?

      I have called people that i knew for a fact had a certain number only to find another subscriber answering to that number. If a phone service is discontinued, the number is given to a new subscriber. Given Aleatha’s connection to key officials in Taylor’s government, it cannot be far- fetch to establish how the phone might have switched from Taylor to Aleatha.

  3. Of course Mr. Crane had a link to LURD…Most of LURD senior members lived in the US….if the US wasn’t infavor of getting Mr Taylor out, would those members be allowed to move in and out of the US??

    Again, we are seeing the HANDS of death…

    1. Noko4,

      The statement of this witness delves into the blame game which I do not buy into.

      I believe LURD or whatever they called themselves were the end product of what the NPFL started in Liberia. I believe since Taylor claimed legitimacy to launched a rebellion to overthrow an unpopular government, LURD also claimed legitimacy to rid Liberian of an unpopular government…you reap what you sow.

      Here is a wider picture: Without Doe there would have been no Taylor, and no Prince Johnson, and no LPC, and no ULIMO, and no LDF, and no MODEL and no LURD, and no Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf…vicious cycle.

    2. Noko4,
      I assume that those alleged senior members of Lurd that you claimed lived in the U.S, weren’t telling the U.S immigration that we are traveling to Africa to wage war on Charles Taylor. Taylor is insignificant to the U.S government, so stop blaming them for everything.
      When the U.S wanted to intervene in the person of Pres. Bush, he told Taylor outrightly to get out or else and i forgot. What happened? The U.S got Saddam Hussein out despite the outcries and i don’t conclude that was justified or not, but what i am trying to say is that United States is not afraid of any nation or let alone Taylor to be clandestine.

      1. Nosirrah,

        It appears you are seriously confused here. Sure the US may not be afraid of anyone and may perceive themselves to be the gods of this world but they always try to portray themselves as just and fair and morally good. They therefore tend to resort to surreptitious and covert means to do evil. They do not want the world to see them as the bully so always use other means to do what they want to do and can even use institutions to legitimize some of their actions.
        Liberia may be insignificant but believe it or not the resources of Liberia are not. No one should be fooled into thinking that there is not another reason why George Bush got on the air to demand that Mr Taylor step down. They had tried so many other ways of removing him because he had refused to allow them to take the offshore oil for peanuts. That is the root cause of it all.

        For you to be fooled to believe that everything is always done above board is niave. Why do you think the CIA was set up? If it was just OK for the US to bully every country they would not have had the need to use the CIA in the 60s, 70s and 80s to destabilize countries in South America, Africa and the Middle East.

        As to whether their methods are always legitimate, we know they are not and neither are they fair or just. So do not question the varacity of this witness unless you know otherwise. He seems very credible to me and has no reason to make up stories for Mr Taylor. He was a part of a force that fought him so why do you think he would want to lie for him?

        You all just cannnot accept that the case against this man was a fabrication. It just never happened.

  4. I’m really impressed with the excellent work of the team. Keep it up guys, kill them before they grow. They have told million lies without a single trace. Yes, I agree with the witness that David was one of the rebel commanders against Mr. Taylor. We all heard him on the BBC in 2003 saying that he will use LUDR rebels to arrest Mr. Taylor if he does not step down from power and turn himself in to the court.

    Harris K Johnson

  5. All those lies the Prosecution told us is clearly back-firing in a pathetic way. Oh well, the chicken is coming home to roost Haha … I m loving it big-time.

  6. President Taylor haters are very amazing, they be cracking me up all the times. Whenever, the prosecution has a half decent day in court, they intensively bombard the site with their comments. Then, they go back in hidings waiting for another good day.

    Unlike President Taylor’s supporters we are fighting back all the times. Good days or an unusual bad day, it doesn’t matter; we are die hard Taylor supporters. It’s much easier to support a just cause then an unjust cause.

    1. Or perhaps, Big B, taylor haters may not just write like you to keep the noise on even if there is nothing that you are saying makes sense. I write only when I see the need to make an objective point, and not because i feel the urge to respond to Big Y or Z. Besides, we are not haters, rather, lovers of the victims and Liberia. There is nothing interesting from this so called Business Woman. She already has smoking doubts about her reasons for having this particular phone number and not remembering when she replaced it after being stolen by rouges, nor her reasons for hanging to it even though people have, she alledged, called for taylor, the world criminal, so many times. who does she thinks she is talking to? NPFL or ATU?

      1. fallah,

        If you do an empirical study to find out between Taylor’s supporters vs. Taylor’s haters, whose comments make sense; with out a doubt Taylor’s supporters comments make better sense. It’s based on the rule of law. Whereas, Taylor’s haters comments are hearsay, they say, he/she say… Haters’ comments are based on circumstantial evidences just like the prosecution case.

  7. Charles Taylor Haters,
    LOL U wrote that comment like u were so sure of what u were saying…..
    First of all if I do not support or like Taylor because the hoodlums he led killed members of my family and perpetrated atrocities against me personally….i have every right to not like the man.

    You all act as if we unjustly have choosen to not like Taylor…he killed many Liberians so the ‘Taylor hater’ comment was childish arrogant and not surprising nevertheless.

    I’m speaking for myself…The only people I hate is the devil and his host of demons…I don’t have to ‘like a murderer’ so get it right. Many of u already admitted to being with the idiot so I don’t blame u all for being blinded from the sickening truth of this man.

    Any way just got of work but this non Taylorist will give her opinion on the day summary adter she reads.
    What else is very funny is the fact that u dare call somebody out on what u all do too..LOL…several time too.

    One Ms. Teage coming up soon aight buddy…

    1. Ms Teage,

      I will certainly need clarification on this one.

      “Charles Taylor Haters,
      LOL U wrote that comment like u were so sure of what u were saying…..
      First of all if I do not support or like Taylor because the hoodlums he led killed members of my family and perpetrated atrocities against me personally….i have every right to not like the man”.

      The reason for me asking for clarification is this. You are coinciding with us President Taylor Supporters without being aware. Consequently, why should President Taylor be trial for crime committed in Sierra Leone, when he (Taylor) and the rest of the crew including your godmother ellen, should be charge for crime committed in Liberia? After all, I believe your family was killed in Liberia not in Sierra Leone. Yes?

      It may be a fact that members of your family were killed and atrocities against you personally, but you were not the only person these ugly things happened to. I personally lost my mother and two siblings during the war. Nobody wants justice more then me, but I want the right kind of justice. Not twisted or bend justice.

      The right thing to do is for us Liberians to put pressure on the international community to establish a war crime court in Liberia, to bring to book those who were responsible for the wonton atrocities against our people. Unfortunately, this will never happen. They wanted Taylor and they got Taylor, to h… with the rest.

  8. While I think that the international community should put a halt to his fanfare in the Hague and safe the money for places that need it most to survive like Haiti, Congo, etc those “Taylor supporters” should be careful how they rejoice. The international community has a huge stick in a Taylor conviction and would do any and everything to ensure that happen.

    While many will see the the disappointing presentation of a persecution case and the almost competent presentation of the Defense as a sign for jubilation yet, “it is not over until the fat lady sinks”, as Americans would be quick to put it.

  9. Big B,
    What you Taylor supporters are displaying is fanaticism. You guys have deviated from any sense of reality and that is why you cannot recognize even an off day. You guys are so enamored with Taylor that he has done no wrong in your eyes and that negates any discussion on this site. You (Taylor supporters) are so entrenched in your position that inspite of all the carnage and destruction this man brought to the west African subregion, you guys still see him as an angel.

    Another reason some of Taylor supporters are die-hard on this site is their affiliation either as relatives and orchestrators of the rebellion according to their own admission (Harris K Johnson and Noko4/5). I stand corrected.

    1. Nosirrah,

      I don’t like to respond to speculations and hypothetical but you are an interesting guy, therefore, I’ll said one thing, and rest.

      Let us not take our eyes off the ball, President Taylor is charged with crimes committed in Sierra Leone alright. Your Taylor haters and the prosecution are making a 360 degree turn as if this trial is about Liberia. President Taylor supporters have “again and again” made their positions very clear. If President Taylor was charged for crimes committed in Liberia most of us perhaps would have been shouting crucify him, he’s the king of the NPLF, including ellen et al.

      1. Big B,
        I keep telling you guys that Liberia and Sierra Leone are joined at the hip in this trial for Taylor.
        Don’t you think if Liberia is insignificant as you Taylor Supporters wants her to be, the judges would’ve sanctioned any reference of Liberia? The defense as well as the prosecution are spending significant time on Liberia and these are legal minds.

        I don’t see what you referred to as being speculative and hypothetical about my post.

  10. Big B,
    You are fighting back all the times because you are desperate. You are trying to make yourself believe that Taylor will be set free when it is become clearer by the day that Taylor will never again become a free man.
    We are too use to defend witnesses lying and making nonsensical statements that it’s a waste of time responding to them. Big B, we haters of mass murderers, rapists and looters are well relax knowing that justice will soon be served.
    Look at a woman weeping because the next day is her late brother’s birthday but has no remorse of conscience defending a man who presided over the cold bloody murder of over 250,000 of our compatriots and hundreds of thousand of Sierra Leaoneans. How more hypocritical can someone be?

    1. Morris,

      The phase “Justice is blind” it doesn’t mean that one should be blind to Justice. President Taylor haters and the prosecution will have to prove their case. Period!

  11. Big B,

    You would not have said it better. Let me assure you my dear brother, we the Taylor supporters will remain on this forum to the dead end. We remain here to point holes in the million white lies against this kind man. Because it is better for hundred criminals to walk free than one innocent man be put into prison.

    Harris K Johnson

  12. @ Big B
    Your comments about ‘Taylor Haters’ and Taylor supporters…etc misses the point, obfuscates the real issues and reveals the central flaws and fault lines in this discourse.
    At issue here is not a question of haters or supporters of Taylor , but, the pursuit of ‘Justice’ and as such ‘been objective’ is a prerequisite. At the forefront of our minds when considering and reflecting on this momentous case must be, does the evidence provide answers to the following :-

    1)Were crimes against Humanity committed?

    2)Were war crimes committed?

    3)Were child soldieres recruited and deployed?

    4)Did Taylor have Command Responsibility?

    I think that we are all agreed that on the first three questions the indubitable response is in the affirmative ,crimes against Humanity, War crimes were committed and child soldiers were deployed. At issue therefore, is whether at the relevant times, Taylor had ‘Command Responsibility’, and in this context the mind set of a Taylor ‘Hater or Supporter’ is, to say, the least, unhelpful, such a mindset distorts perspective and prevents a rational evaluation of the evidence.
    Our focus must be on the evidence and where the evidence leads us, then and only then can we be sure that ‘Justice will be served and be seen to be served’
    As Always Wadi’The Zima’

  13. First of all….thhe fact the prosecution picked a functioning number and not a random number says something to me. This phone could have belong to Taylor and he asked her to use it because he did not want a number that could be traced back to him…and the fact that the witness remembers this number all these years….doesnt sound to me like just a random made up story…If they had tried the number and it was a non exsistant number then I would have agreed that the prosecution witness lied but because this lady said she did noy loose her phone or she did not lend it to Taylor for some time does not say she’s telling the truth. The sister was Taylor dietician this gets funnier by the second. Why is the defense objecting, after all this is a random business woman who ended up in a twist of lies made up by the prosexution why the objection to proving the relationship.this is clearly not a random business woman..clearly
    There was a witness who said Taylor did not use children soldier and Taylor SSS soldiers had weapons when Taylor said they did not…so lies are not new for the defense witness….secondly at Taylor and many other testimony RUF had access to Taylors Liberia, many of RUF hoodlums fleeding S.L were granted immunity and free citizenship into Liberia by Taylor, it was testified by a defense witness that RUF trained in a NPFL camp it was also testified that NPFL left and went to fight with RUF one even claiming to have come back after fighting, I say with Taylor’s RUF enemy?…so it’s been established that Taylor had a close relationship with RUF members…if they or some RUF members double crossed Taylor/NPFL and assisted Taylors enemies is nothing new or does not disprove what has already been explicitly proven, that Taylor controlled and was in close relationship with RUF members. Wasn’t it Taylor who claim to have come to liberate Liberians and ended committing acts of genocide against some civilians his own Liberians?…all the war lords are fake double crossing idiots nothing new……

  14. It is very important for the United Nation of which we are all part of that this trial of President Taylor of Liberia be done without cheating at any level. This will show that the United Nation can be trusted. So far the United Nation Court is doing a good job in handling the trial.

  15. Big B,
    How does criticism of the Liberian TRC reports and your continuous claim that Taylor was either not aware of war crimes in Liberia or those crimes were never carried out by the NPFL and ATU dovetail with your statement ” If President Taylor was charged for crimes committed in Liberia most of us perhaps would have been shouting crucify him, he’s the king of the NPLF, including ellen et al”?
    The uncomfortable truth is that you are a die hard supporter of Taylor and will always worship him. The call for a war crime court for Liberia is either a diversionary tactic to win Taylor borrow time, an appeal to emotion or the mistaken notion that Liberians are too cowardice to try Taylor.
    Big B, there are many ways to kill a cat.

    1. Morris,

      There you go again, are you sure you haven’t been reading someone else’s posting and mistakenly taking it to be my? I have NEVER, I repeat NEVER posted on this site that “Taylor was either not aware of war crimes in Liberia or those crimes were never carried out by the NPFL and ATU.

      Morris, it is alright to write from your opinion, but it becomes detrimental for you to deviate from your opinion and write about what another person’s thinks.

      Morris, if you are against a war crime court in Liberia, that tells me a lot about you. “If someone tells you who they are, believe it”.

  16. Haha. What most Liberians don’t realize is that because of the nation’s dire financial situation, inadequate logistics, and the very nature of the corrupt status quo environment, any attempt to proceed with or organize a real and legitimate Liberian trial for Taylor is nothing short of pure fantasy. Moreover, its remains difficult to anticipate such a democratic structure at least for the near future. The question then becomes the dichotomy of whether we can as a people, with a fair conscience, let a man of Taylor’s reputation roam free, OR let the international community with proper logistics do it for us albeit under a shammy pretense. It isn’t such a difficult question from a neutral perspective and the answer is quite obvious. But whenever Liberians who were affected by the war (some for the better and others for the worse) gather to opine, this question is hidden behind layers and layers of other petty grievances due to inherent bias. What a shame.

    1. Hi Gabriel — I read your post with great interest — it sounds like you have fairly bleak hopes for Liberian justice any time soon. Does that mean you think the proposal of a hybrid war crimes court proposed by the TRC would not deliver fair justice no matter what form it would take? Interested in hearing more of your views on this.


    2. Gabriel,

      Forget about Taylor being trial in Liberia war crime court. Taylor is already on trial. We are talking about a war crime court not to judge Taylor, rather, to judge those who are masquerading around Monrovia that were equally responsible for crimes against our people.

      If Sierra Leone, can established a war crime court immediately after 11 years of civil conflicts, with 100% backing from the US and GB, the same can happen in Liberia. Right now, Liberia is in a better position financially, logistically then Sierra Leone prior the opening of the SCSL.

      The right question then becomes, are we as a people will allowed people like Kroma, Jallah, Johnson, Ellen, LURD, MODEL, ULIMO-J, ULIMO-K, NPLF et al… masquerade the streets of Monrovia free with out punitive?

      There are not too many realist Liberians who will call an Ace of spades an Ace of spades. We have the tendency to mask the truth as long as our relatives or friend are in the loop.

  17. Big B,
    With all due respect to the memory of your late mother and two siblings lost due to barbarity of murderers, rapists and looters but losing one’s love ones doesn’t necessarily translates to the desire for justice.
    It depends on who killed one’s love ones in order for that person to wants justice. Those whom Taylor gave the means and free license to slaughter others in retaliation for the death of their love ones will remain ever grateful to Taylor, see him as a savior and will never support any process that would lead to Taylor spending the rest of his life in jail
    Also, a man who murdered his own family, relation or friends will never be among the person seeking justice for the lost of his family, relation or friends. Does the name Saiwon Brown ring a bell?
    The issue of Saiwon Brown, a member of the ATU, slaughtering his mother in cold blood and urinating on her dying body simply because she asked him to leave the ATU and go back to school epitomizes Taylor’s master plan for Liberian youth. Up to today, I can still hear the weeping voice of Saiwon Brown’s father narrating this horrendous event on Radio VERITAS. The most chilling part is that upon reporting Saiwon Brown to the ATU command, his father was told that the mother got what she rightly deserves. “ what in the hell did she dare tell Saiwon to leave the ATU”asked the ATU commander according to Saiwon’s father.
    How would my childhood buddy from Far East, Gbarnga, a nice, quiet and highly intelligent guy before the civil war transform into a demon? How many underage boys and girls were drugged, armed and transformed into demons? Is that the meaning of patriotism and Liberation?
    Up to listening to Saiwon’s father I have never taken special interest in Liberian politics. This single event motivated me to oppose murderers, looters and rapists at all cost.

    1. Morris,You brought tears to my memory, especially when you mentioned “far East”, Gbarnga city! I am very familiar with that section of town. I live and worked in Gbarnga early 80s right after Levi Tolbert’ brutal murder of his wife at their Covinient store in December of 1979. And the story you just narrated was told to me by one of my sons that later came to join me from a refugee camp he later fled to save his life from getting recruited by taylor notorious rebels! Now I know my son told me the truth! May the soul of Saiwon’s Mom come to haunt these doers!

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